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Thread: The Santoku phenomenon

  1. #21

    Zwiefel's Avatar
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    I was thinking about this recently....and wondering if it was a double-bevel version of the kamagata usuba.
    Remember: You're a unique individual...just like everybody else.

  2. #22
    bunka bocho ("culture knife") is another name for a santoku. It's the name my wife was familiar with. Whatever you call it, it's a common, popular knife here in Japan. Take a look at the domestic sites for makers like Sakai Yusuke, for instance. Their top seller is a 180mm santoku:
    http://www.sakai-ya.com/gin3/g3-3toku180.htm

    And I picked up a Zakuri tosagata bocho recently, basically a thin santoku. I like it a lot, especially vegetables or when I feel like I don't have the space for my 240mm gyuto.

  3. #23

    ecchef's Avatar
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    I own a santoku that came as part of an entry level Watanabe set. I've thinned the crap out of it over the years and it is my go to at home because it never gets put away. I appreciate its height and ability to work in confined spaces.
    Though I could not caution all I still might warn a few; Don't raise your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools. - Robert Hunter

  4. #24
    I like using santoku. Of course, I also absolutely love to use nakiri but I am adamant about using them only on vegetables.

    As someone else mentioned previously, I like the fact that santoku have pretty high profile heights for their length. In many cases, the same 50mm or so as a 240mm gyuto. Profile height is a key factor for me when it comes to comfort with a knife. A 165mm or 180mm santoku has far greater profile height than a short gyuto, but gives me almost the same degree of usefulness *when preparing a small meal*.

    I like variety. That's the other thing. Sure, I could use a chinese cleaver or a 240 gyuto for almost everything, but where's the fun in that?

    If I'm going to use a nakiri for veggies, deba for fileting fish, yanagiba for slicing fish, then why not use a santoku for small meals?
    Len

  5. #25
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    A while go I bought a Henkel's Twin Cermax made of M66 (ZDP-189) steel. I bought it for the steel, never owned a ZDP-189 knife and I was curious. It also was on sale for a ridiculously low price of around $70.

    The steel is very hard to deburr. I viewed Jon Broida's video on one-sided microbevels. It was a revelation. It's supposed to strengthen the edge and quickly deburr. Given the hardness of the steel (RC 66) I wasn't really worried about the strength of edge but I was finally able to remove the burr, and quickly. The knife will take a very fine edge and will keep it for a long time now that deburring is easy.

    I like the flat edge profile for push cutting veggies, herbs, etc. I've had a Wusthof Santoku with the kullens for several years but I rarely use it. I thinned the edge and within a half hour of use the edge will roll over because of the soft steel. If you don't mind steeling every ten minutes and and going to the stones often then I guess it would be usable but, for me, that's not what I want. I want to be able to touch up with a CrO2 loaded strop occasionally and go to the stones rarely, perfect for the hard steel.

    Of course it's useful only for medium to small jobs.
    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  6. #26
    daveb's Avatar
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    Ladies like the Santoku. That's reason enough to have one.

    I've been told Rachael Ray used a Wusthof Santoku early on the Food Network. (Awkward, dull and fat, the knife is not much to look at either...) Inexplicably, American housewives wanted to be "groovy" and it became a popular style here. I've used the Wustie and Shun versions and they're among the few knives that I dislike.

    There are better examples of course and I've seen a couple pictured here lately that would be welcome at my house.

    Regards,

    Dave
    Dave
    Older and wider.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Brad Gibson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveb View Post
    Ladies like the Santoku. That's reason enough to have one.
    Haha! Oui, Chef!
    "A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe." -Thomas Keller

  8. #28
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    I have a Yamawaku one which has a distal taper and takes a great edge and was inexpensive.To my mind it is great for home when i am only cooking for a few people where i just dont need the size of a 240 gyuto.At work it was really only used during service and particularly if i was on larder.I think for the home cook it is a very versatile knife hence why they sell so well.I also have a Zanetsu ZDP189 which i bought to try the steel but I find it a bit too small.

  9. #29
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    I also still use the Watanabe santoku from the set he sold. Clearly, if you need to cut large amounts of stuff, a larger knife is better, but for a person like me who often cooks just for myself, that is a very practical knife. It also is easier for those of us with limited skills: because it is higher, I find it easier to guide it along my knuckles than a narrower gyuto. Maybe that's part of the success. In any case, as. Hobby cook, I use it much more than my 270 Watanabe gyuto - and I understand that the large knife could do everything the santoku does. That said, I had a few other santokus along the way, and the Watanabe is the only one I kept. He is still one of my favorite makers, even if he seems to fall out of favor a bit as other brands pop up.

    Stefan

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkdc View Post
    If you have space, it will never beat a gyuto.
    Statements like this are often made. Or something similar such as: A gyuto will do everything a santoku can do and more.

    Okay so how does a gyuto beat a santoku? What can a gyuto do, that is not possible for a santoku?

    Usually the response is the gyuto is more versatile because it has a tip. A cleaver and nakiri have a tip, it's just not pointy. The santoku has a tip, but apparently its too stubby. A sujihiki has a pointy tip, but it doesn't have enough height at the heel, to give knuckle clearance. A santoku has plenty of height at the heel, but that darn tip is too stubby. A lot of the arguments for a gyuto have a heads I win, tails you lose, aspect.

    If the gyuto can physically do tasks that a santoku is unable, to perform, I would like to know. While tip work might be part of the answer, that sounds more like personal preference.

    Jay

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