Every cook needs a versatile knife that they can rely on to be the backbone of their kitchen tool collection. Starting out, you may not know what type of knife will best fit your needs. Knives are made all over the world and there are variations in size, shape and thickness between French, German and Japanese multipurpose knives. Japanese santoku chef knives have been gaining in popularity over their European-styles, so we’ll focus on understanding the advantages of a santoku knife
Japanese made santoku knives are generally made with Japanese steel varieties. Japanese steel tends to be harder and can hold an edge much longer than steels used by knife makers in other countries. Japanese knives also tend to be sharpened at steeper angles, creating a razor sharp cutting surface which will slice through foods with great ease and precision. When you are making repeated cuts this feature is helpful.
Size and Weight
Santoku knives are usually around 7” in length, which is shorter than the typical Western style chef's knife. The blade height is also greater which will keep your knuckles from making contact with a cutting board. Like many Japanese knives, santokus tend to be more lightweight. All of these features result in a knife that is comfortable to hold. Loved by home cooks and chefs alike, the compact shape, lightweight and great balance make santokus a popular choice.
When trying to understand santoku knives’ advantages, you should keep in mind a unique technique specific to santokus. The edge of the knife is lacking the pronounced curve of Western knives, which means that you can’t rock them back and forth while chopping. Instead, your cutting motions should use a straight up and down chopping motion. At first, this way of cutting can take some getting used to, but with time and practice, the santoku knife cutting technique can allow you to cut with greater speed and efficiency.