Japanese Santoku Knife: What Makes It Different From a Common Chef’s Knife?

The island country of Japan is located in East Asia, bordered by the Sea of Japan, East China Sea, Taiwan, and the Sea of Okhotsk. The archipelago sits right in the Ring of Fire, covering a total land area of 377,975 square kilometres. 

Japan is also a technologically advanced country, creating innovations that have become influential to the west. Aside from sushi, sashimi, tempura and various other Japanese delicacies, the country has contributed the Japanese santoku knife to the culinary world. 

The Santoku knife is a “go-to” knife for most professionals because of its versatility to perform a wide range of cutting tasks. Technically, the Santoku knife has a different shape and style, but it is considered a chef’s knife.

The Features of a Santoku Knife

Santoku blade is a general-purpose knife used for cutting, slicing, mincing, and dicing food ingredients. What makes a Santoku knife different from a common chef’s knife is the wide sheep’s foot blade which curves down and meets the front blades. 

The knife is usually thinner than a Chef’s Knife and is the perfect tool for fine slices. The Santoku kitchen knife is lighter than a conventional Chef’s knife, and it is available in varying sizes – from 5” to 7.9”.

Santoku knives are either one-sided blades or have a double bevel. These knives evolved from the vegetable cleaver used by the Japanese people post World War II. The early Santoku knives had rectangular blades and curved downward to form a gentle edge. 

Santoku in Japanese means “three qualities,” referring to its ability to chop, slice, and dice or process fish, meat, and vegetables. Regardless of the interpretation or trio you deem appropriate. The Santoku knife became a popular cutting tool for professional chefs and homeowners worldwide. 

What Should You Opt for a Santoku Knife for Your Kitchen?

There are several things to consider when buying a Japanese santoku knife because they appear in various lengths and material. The one important thing you need to consider is its ability to make chopping easy. The right knife would provide you with a flawless cutting process while making sure that your cooking ingredients are nicely cut, diced, or sliced. 

Santoku knives are available in either high-carbon steel or ceramic. Ceramic tools are made from zirconium dioxide and are more brittle than high-carbon steel Santoku knives. If you are looking for a longer-lasting and sharper kitchen blade, a high-carbon steel knife provides all the benefits you need. 

Although choosing the right type of kitchen blade is a personal choice, you would eventually need to sharpen the blades with constant use. Santoku knives, though, are more durable, and they stay sharper for longer periods.

Essential Tips When Buying a Santoku Knife

There are several things to consider when you are buying a santoku knife. One of the essential things you need to make sure of is the blades. The blades of a Santoku knife must have an acute angle to make sure it can pierce through a fruit or vegetable skin. A thin blade is critical in achieving fine slices, and never buy a blade with an angle that is over 20 degrees. 

Also, remember that not all kitchen blades are created equal. When buying a Santoku knife, it is also critical to look into its strength, structure, and material.