Looking for a Santoku recommendation
I'm looking to get my hands on a decent santoku for around $100-$150 shipped to South Africa. I seem to have decided to buy one just a little too late as the Hiromoto AS 160mm santoku was pretty much my ideal piece but it looks like there aren't any available anywhere. I'm now considering a Tojiro DP as it seems to fit the bill, but I am open to alternatives.
I'm looking for something with a western handle that's around 160-170mm. I'd like something clad and relatively low maintenance, to be used in a home kitchen on a bamboo endgrain cutting board. I use a pinch grip and will be alternating this with a chefs knife (which will be used for rougher work) for general use. Although santokus are generally light, I'd prefer one on the hefy side of light but it's not a priority for me.
I do sharpen my own knives (although I'm admittedly not great at it) and I do own a pair of Wustof ceramic stones (it's South Africa and we sometimes have to take what we get) and a decent steel.
Looking forward to hear some informed opinions, they'll be deeply appreciated!
Hiromoto seems to be the way to go for the budget and specs you want, some places have the 190 Santoku at $115.
My Hiro santoku (190) is pretty darn thin. I know some are thicker, but not sure if that is the best choice for a knife that isn't too thin. Though you could still consider it if you want something thinner to complement the chef's knife you'll use for thicker stuff.
I'm not sure what "bamboo endgrain cutting board" means. Most bamboo boards contain a fair amount of hard glue, which is tough on edges.
At some point, someone is probably going to suggest considering a short gyuto rather than a santoku. What is it about the santoku that's calling to you?
@Todd I'd like the santoku to contrast my chef's knife. The gyuto I see as a middle ground between the two. I'm not too concerned about thickness or weight as being used to an 8" chefs knife, any santoku is going to feel super light and skinny but that is what I am looking for. Bamboo engrain just refers to the orientation of the fibers. Thanks for the input!
I just bought a Tojiro DP gyuto and am quite pleased with it. Very plain, but quite sharp and so far cuts much better than my old motley collection of knives. Should hold an edge well in home use. The plain clad one (not damascus) is usually very reasonable and the VG-10 steel is good enough to make a reliable sharp knife. You will be pleased with the santoku version, I think.
Sharpening may be a problem for you though, as it will be for any hard steel. I don't know if the stones you have are up to the task. Look around and see if you can get a King combination stone 1000/6000, these are very common and quite reasonable. They are fairly soft, but you can flatten them on cement blocks or flat sidewalks. Ceramic stones will take a LONG time to sharpen VG-10, I think. It can be done, but it won't be quick or easy.
I do have a santoku (a real junk one I'm grinding down to see if I like the style) and they do have uses where a gyuto/chef's knife would be awkward. Hard to say from the one I have if I will stay with the style, and mine has a pronounced belly, too unlike most of them.
Consider a Tadafusa Blue #2 or SLD as well.
I think that pic might be the first end grain bamboo board I have seen. Seems like it would take a crazy amount of glue, which is not good. Most bamboo cutting boards I have seen are edge grain.
Sorry, no comment on the knife purchase, just a random observation.
Hahah seems there's another thing I have to add to my to-buy-list. Shipping costs will be a killer though.
So currently my options (cost incl shipping and taxes) are (Any input on these will be appreciated)
Tojiro DP for $92
Hiramoto AS 190mm for $147
Hiramoto damascus 180mm for $226 (Overbudget but I'm considering it)
If there are any other similar san mai santokus around 160-170mm that I should consider, please let me know
one of the site vendors based in Australia has VERY good prices on the Muratas with western handles (I think around 150 AUD?). The handle is well finished, the blade made of #1 blue steel so not quite what you want but I can vouch for the sheer quality of these. A class knife but it needs looking after. I would rank it above your current choices but it is a hand forged blade.