What Is a Santoku?

Posted by Amanda Delatorre on

You may have heard the term santoku before, but what is it really?  Santoku literally means three virtues in Japanese.  The three virtues being the knife’s ability to handle fish, meat and vegetables equally well, making it a great all-purpose knife for beginners and experienced cooks alike.

Size + Shape

Santokus usually have a blade length around 7”, which is about the same size as the smallest options available for gyutou chef's knives.  The main difference between a santoku and a gyutou is that a santoku has a more height which keeps your knuckles off the cutting board and comes to a less dramatic point at the tip.  The blade of a santoku is quite flat where it meets the cutting board, which is well suited to straight up and down chopping instead of the rocking motion that is common with the curvature you would find on the blade of French or German chefs knives. 


Santokus are popular with home cooks in Japan, and around the world, in part because they are easy to use and also can be used for a wide variety of tasks.  Santokus can handle precise vegetable cuts like dicing and julienne cuts as well as fine mincing for garlic and herbs.  With Japan’s diet heavy in fish, santoku are a natural fit for fileting and light butchery.  Lastly, santoku can make easy cuts of both raw and cooked meats.  They are convenient for cutting chicken into cubes before adding to a stew or cutting a cooked steak into bite sized pieces that are easy to eat with chopsticks.

Although the design of a santoku originated to handle the tasks of everyday Japanese cooking, you can understand why they are popular with cooks around the world.  You can shop Chubo’s entire collection of santoku chef knives here.

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