Everything You Need to Know About the Santoku Knife

Shogun Series 7 Santoku Knife

The santoku knife is loved around the world as the ‘three virtues’ knife.

Some say the three virtues refer to its ability to cut through meat, fish, and vegetables.

Others believe the phrase refers to its ability to chop, slice, and dice.

But, every chef or culinary expert loves it for its functionality and ease of use.

As a multi-purpose knife, you will fall in love with its:

  • Seamless design
  • Ability to cut through most foods
  • Characteristic thin blade made for precision

An Introduction to the Santoku Knife

The ‘santoku bōchō’ in Japanese means ‘three uses’ or ‘three virtues’.

These knives were first seen in the mid-20th century, after World War II. They started as an improvement on ‘nakiri’ knives, the traditional vegetable cleaver.

Santoku retained nakiri’s straight cutting edge and height. But, it also added a user-friendly ‘sheep’s foot’ tip. This tip creates a gentle point by curving towards the end.

The design process focused on creating smaller knives, suitable for small hands. This also led to the creation of seamless knives with a better grip. They are also lighter and easier to control.

Since they were also looking for precision, Japanese santoku knives feature a thinner cutting blade. This gives you better precision when cutting. You can use it to cut smaller pieces, which add to the aesthetic of a dish.

What Is a Santoku Knife Made of?

Most santoku knives come in stainless steel, ceramic, or high-carbon steel.

Traditionally, the Japanese knives used the same steel used as samurai swords. This gives the blade its strength, resistance, and durability.

The Blade

Today, the best knives feature high-carbon steel. This steel is stronger, more durable, and stays sharp longer.

One of the most advanced santoku knives in the market is from Dalstrong. Each blade comes with a super-steel core made with 66 layers of carbon. This gives the Dalstrong knives scalpel-like sharpness and long-lasting edge retention.

The extra-precise hand making process ensures you get a beautiful cutting edge of 8-12 degrees. This edge makes it easier for you to create paper-thin slices in a single cutting motion.

The Handle

The Dalstrong santoku also features an ergonomic handle. This gives you superior control over your knife.

The G-10 Garolite handle resists cold, heat, and moisture to serve you for a lifetime. Dalstrong uses military-grade materials to ensure durability.

Each handle also comes with a copper mosaic pin, making the knives distinctive. The triple riveting makes this tool even more robust.

Where Do You Use a Santoku Knife?

The meaning of ‘santoku’ explains the use of these knives best. Most people believe you should use them for chopping, slicing, and dicing.

As a multi-purpose knife, you can use it to prep different types of food with ease. You can use it for:

  • Cutting and mincing meat - It will give you fine pieces and thin slices at all times. But, never use it to cut large bones or frozen meats.
  • Dicing and slicing vegetables - You can use it on any fruit, vegetable, or nut.
  • Cutting and slicing fish - This is the best knife for paper-thin slices of delicate fish meat. Japanese chefs love using it when preparing sushi cuts.

What Is the Difference Between a Santoku Knife and a Chef’s Knife?

Most people compare the santoku knife to the western chef’s knife. In fact, there are people who believe you can use the two interchangeably.

The two knives serve as general-purpose knives in any kitchen. You can use both for a variety of tasks such as chopping dicing, mincing, and slicing.

The biggest differences are their origin, size, tip, and blade shape.

The chef’s knife blade and upward curve at the end force chefs to ‘rock’ the blade forward to complete a cut. This explains why most people who use the chef’s knife employ a rocking motion.

Since the santoku knife has no tip, you can achieve the same cut with a single knife movement.

Another big distinction is the single bevel on the santoku versus the double bevel on the chef’s knife.

NB: Bevel refers to the angle at the bottom of the knife that creates the cutting edge.

The single edge makes it easier to sharpen a santoku and create a smaller angle, which gives you a sharper blade.

Other common differences between the santoku knife and the chef’s knife include:

Santoku Knife
Chef’s Knife
Comes from Japan Comes from France and Germany
Features a wide ‘sheep’s foot’ blade with no tip Feature a broad blade with an upward curve that forms a tip
Comes with a thinner blade for fine cutting Comes in several serrated varieties
Can have single or double bevel Comes as a double-sided bevel
Has no bolster (the space between the blade and handle) Features a bolster
More balanced in weight
Lighter to hold and easier to control Heavier to handle and control, especially for small hands
Comes with a Granton edge (pivots or scallops) to prevent food from sticking Sometimes features a Granton edge
Come is smaller sizes of 5” to 7.9” Varies in size and can be as small as 6” or as big as 12”. (Most common size is 8”)

How Do You Choose a Quality Santoku Knife

Santoku Knife
Shogun Series 7 inches Santoku Knife

A good santoku knife will make your work in the kitchen easier.

Since this is a tool you will need for everyday kitchen tasks, you need one that will last you a lifetime.

Some of the qualities you need to look for in santoku knives include:

Length

The perfect length for a santoku knife is 7”, the average size of an adult hand.

This makes it lighter than a chef’s knife. It is also easier to handle for most people, especially those with smaller hands.

Shape and Weight

Santoku knives feature a boxier-body. This is because they started out from the chunky vegetable cleaver.

The boxier-body adds the extra weight needed on the shorter knife for balance. Carbon-steel is also heavier than normal steel, giving it some additional weight.

A straight edge and less pronounced tip will also give you a cleaner cut. You get a swift cut, making it perfect for the fluid, rocking motion needed for slicing.

Single Bevel

The santoku features a single bevel with an acute angle of 8-12 degrees, giving you a sharper cutting edge.

This makes it more efficient. You can use it repeatedly for precise cuts.

Invest in the Best Santoku Knife

As you can see, a santoku knife is one of the best investments you’ll make for your kitchen.

You will use it well in your domestic kitchen or in a professional setting.

One of the best options available in the market is the Dalstrong Shogun 7” Santoku Knife. With this knife, you get:

  • Strength and durability from 66-layers of high-carbon stainless steel. This also reduces the need for you to sharpen the knife every other time.
  • Egornormic hand-polished, smooth handle for better grip.
  • A tapered blade to minimize resistance and give you a perfect cut at all times, especially with vegetables.

Get yourself the best santoku knife today from Dalstrong.

You can also check in with our Expert Knife Finder Quiz and get specific recommendations based on your needs. 

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