The Santoku is an all purpose Japanese kitchen knife ideal for kitchen tasks including precision mincing, dicing, slicing, and more. Santoku means “three uses”. This describes what the knife is popularly used with – meat, vegetables, or fish. The Kengata Santoku is also commonly known as a Bunka or Bunka Bōchō.
If you are looking for a multi-purpose addition to your knife collection, Santoku knives are your best bet. With little maintenance, this knife can last a lifetime in your kitchen.
What are Santoku Knives Used For?
These knives are flatter than the typical Japanese kitchen knives and have a small upward curve near the tip, which makes slicing smoother. As Japanese knives tend to be more slender than German knives, they make slicing through items extremely easy. When using the Santoku knife effectively for slicing, you use a pulling or pushing motion which should be more backward or forward motion, more than downward. This uses the design of the blade to do the hard work. This technique allows you to create thin, crisp slices.
The Santoku kitchen knife excels at precision cuts like dicing, thanks to their small, easily controllable blade size. The blade length is typically between 160mm to 180mm (or 6-7”) with an edge angle of 20-30 degrees which gives them the ability to dice more precisely than other knives.
When looking for the right dicing and mincing tool, you can never go wrong with a Japanese Santoku knife.
The sharpness of the Santoku blade enables them to cut through foods quickly while their flatness allows for uniform dice.
When you’re chopping with this Japanese knife, cut through ingredients with quick, intentional pushes rather than a back-and-forth roll. Since you don’t need to focus too much on precision and uniformity when chopping with Santoku, you can work faster.
Features of Santoku Knives
Santoku knives are made of stainless steel or high carbon steel, making for a sharper, stronger, and durable blade. They’re also sleek enough to complement the rest of your utensils in your kitchen.
Taller and Thinner Blade
The length and thinness of the Santoku knives give more clearance for the knuckles of your hand to cut directly above the cutting board. It also provides a good surface for the knuckles of your free hand to guide the blade during cutting and chopping.
Dimples on Blade
Many times, a Santoku knife has a row of shallow dimples on the side of the blade. Also known as Kullenschliff or a Granton edge, these depressions reduce friction and prevent food from sticking to the blade.
As with many Japanese knives, with the Santoku knife there is the option of a western style handle with a full tang as well as a more traditional Japanese handle with a partial tang. The western style handles are more ergonomic and the tang going the full length while the Japanese style handle is either oval or octagonal with a tang that goes about 2/3rd of the length of the handle. Either option make for comfortable use for various hand sizes and cutting styles.
Upgrade Your Knife Collection with Japanese Santoku Knives
Looking for a sharp, strong, and functional knife to add to your knife collection?
Look no further than Santoku knives. They have a fine cutting form, making repetitive chopping, dicing, and slicing easier and less tiring.
Buy Santoku Knife online with Hasu-Seizo
At Hasu-Seizo, we stock an extensive range of Santoku Knives and other Japanese blades, including Gyuto Knives, Shobu, Takohiki, Yanagiba, Sujihiki and more. If you’re looking for a Japanese Santoku Knife, Hasu-Seizo offers quality and craftsmanship at a reasonable price.
A Santoku Knife is an all-purpose kitchen knife, ideal for chopping, dicing, mincing and slicing whatever is placed in front of it. Additionally, due to the relatively thin blade shape, a Santoku Knife can also be used for precision cutting. Finer slicing can be achieved through its use, without the concerns about inadvertent crushing or damage to the vegetables or meat that can occur with thicker blades.
Bunka Bōchō is typically synonymous with Santoku in Japan which can be confusing as some knife manufactures in recent decades have produced "Bunka" knives and "Santoku" knives though historically there hasn't been a distinction.
In the U.S., Bunka often refers to a Kengata Santoku, which is the angular, triangle tip rather than the standard hoof tip of most Santoku's.
At surface level, the difference between a Chef’s Knife and a Santoku Knife would appear to be quite superficial — after all, both are all-purpose knives for use in a professional setting. However, a closer inspection reveals there are a number of important distinctions; a Santoku Knife is typically shorter and lighter, while also curving downwards at the tip making for a slightly straighter edge profile. This enables the Japanese Santoku Knife to have a faster cutting technique, while still having the same durability as a Chef’s Knife.
While both offer their own positive qualities and represent excellent choices, if you buy a Santoku Knife, practice and developing your skill will enable you to bring a greater finesse and speed to your cutting.
While the Santoku Knife is a multipurpose kitchen knife, useful for meat and vegetables, the Nakiri Knife is specifically a vegetable knife. A Santoku can be used to slice chicken, pork, beef as easily as a cabbage due to the depth of the blade but also the slight curvature of the edge to allow for push and pull slicing.
The Nakiri vegetable knife has a blunt tip and is often mistaken for a cleaver. This vegetable knife is specifically designed with a greater depth of blade and handle with additional clearance so slicing and chopping things such as cabbage or carrots are performed with equal ease.
Santoku knives are a more recent addition to Japanese kitchen knives, originating in Japan during the mid-20th century, just after World War II. It blends Japanese and Western design, since at the time of its creation the Japanese had discovered the new western-style cooking, and needed the right knife to use. These Santoku knives are typically double bevel knives, in the traditional western style.
In Japan, Santoku means “three uses”. This describes what the knife is popularly used with – meat, vegetables, or fish.
Caring for a Santoku Knife properly is crucial to guarantee its performance for many years. We recommend that you hand wash your blade with warm water and then dry with a soft tea towel. It should never be placed in a dishwasher, and it should be stored in a dry environment, away from moisture. Periodic applications of Tsubaki Camellia Oil will also help prevent rust and corrosion.
If the knife you are purchasing is high carbon steel, then we recommend wiping off excess moisture immediately after use as they are more prone to corrosion. High carbon knives will have the tendency to form a patina, this is not bad and actually can help protect the blade from rust.
Your blade should also be periodically sharpened with a whetstone; this will provide better quality edge and last longer than an electric sharpener or honing rod.
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