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Thread: Santoku as primary knife?

  1. #11
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    Zwiefel's Avatar
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    I think I'd rather use a petty as my all purpose blade than a santoku....They never feel right to me.
    Remember: You're a unique individual...just like everybody else.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Deckhand's Avatar
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    Buy a 240mm gyuto. Then, figure out what you want for a next knife.

  3. #13
    Senior Member TamanegiKin's Avatar
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    Imo there isn't a single thing a santoku does better than a 240 gyuto with a good profile.
    The santoku tip isn't as effective as a gyuto and because of the shorter overall length it'll struggle with larger stuff.
    A longer knife is needed as an all arounder, much easier to slice a protein cleanly with a longer blade.
    If I were to have one knife it would be a gyuto anywhere from 240 to 270. After that I'd add a 180 petty.
    Just my two cents.

  4. #14
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    I'll take no for a thousand Alex.
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  5. #15
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    Its easy to go round and round, trying to chose the right knife, what type, what size, etc.... The kinds of food a person likes to cook, the amount, and the type of kitchen are the biggest factors in deciding what knife to purchase.

    Restaurant cooks, prepare a variety of foods, in large amounts, as quickly as possible. A Santoku to a pro cook, is almost unthinkable. It's too short to do large amounts of prep. Plus it doesn't excel, at any particular cut, so it doesn't give pro cooks a reason to put them in their bags.

    Home Cooks are free to chose, whatever knife they want. My first Japanese knife, was a Santoku. It was light, agile, and very sharp. The wide blade, made it easy to scoop off the board and into a bowl. The first few family parties, quickly showed that it was not a good knife, even when prepping food for as few as ten people. Throw teenagers or young adults into that mix, and the number quickly goes down.

    Unless a home kitchen is designed by a cook, they tend to be small and not very well organized. I found it uncomfortable to use a gyuto in these kitchens, especially when cooking for a family gathering or party, with adults and kids running in and out of the kitchen.

    I needed a small knife, that could prep large amounts of food, and if I got bumped, wouldn't send Grandma to the emergency room. This need, led me to the knife forums, where I read about full size cleavers. They quickly became my main knife. An unexpected benefit to learning how to use full size cleavers, is that they make other types of knives feel small, and more controllable.

    Does the food, you like to cook, need a lot of chopping? A gyuto, cleaver or nakiri, might be a good choice. Are you a vegetarian? Then a nakiri would be at the top of the list. Eat fish on a regular basis? Then you will want to look at a slicer. How many people do you cook for? If its only a few, then any knife from a petty to a gyuto will work. Do you like to cook for groups? Its easier to prep large amounts of food, with a bigger knife. How much room do you have in the kitchen?

    The more questions you can answer about your needs, the easier it will be to choose the right knife.

    Jay

  6. #16
    Senior Member eaglerock's Avatar
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    I have a DP santoku that i use sometimes at home. as other said, it is ok for vegetables. but it will never beat a gyuto or a nikiri.

  7. #17
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    Its really a personal preference. People who tend to chop more than use the belly of the knife as leverage, tend to like santokus more. They only come in smaller sizes (7" or 8"), so its really nice for small kitchen spaces.

    Honestly though, its better to get used to larger knives if you have the space for it. It become much handier in the end. Personally, I like chef knives better.

  8. #18

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    I like using santoku from time to time, but I'm really not sure that I'd want to use it as my only or primary knife. However, that's because I know I have other options available.

    During those times when I have no other choice - like when I'm visiting family/friends abroad and only have a santoku or something like it with me - then I actually don't mind. Sure, there are dishes I might want to make where I wish I had more length, but at least I have a knife to use that has a good edge, feels good, and does a better job than practically anything I might borrow from the others' kitchens.

    For a week or two at a time, I don't mind using a santoku as a primary/only. My fiancee still uses her santoku as her only knife for prep. I think if your circumstances or preferences lead you to a santoku in a home kitchen environment there's nothing wrong with it. It's just that for most of us we have other options and very often we'll choose those other options... but not everyone has the space, inclination or comfort to use a 240 or 270 gyuto or cleaver or whatever.
    Len

  9. #19
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    I like these threads,pro & con on Santoku

    I would not call the Santoku a poor design,they have become one of the most popular types of blade for good reason.They work well in tight spaces,a fact of life for most people around the world living in cities.Even the Germans & French are making them now.They have good knuckle clearence & as mentioned work well for forward chop cuts.

    I would be first to admit that I never used a Santoku in a production Kitchen.I have used my Takagi Honyaki 240 drop nose Gyuto alot,because of it's excellent edge holding.I like the flatter edge profile on the drop nose.I also like cleavers.Most of my cutting is forward push & chop cuts.Rock cuts like splitting Lobster,can be done easy wt. the tip of a drop nose or cleaver.How do you think the Chinese cut up everything going in the wok,using just cleavers?

    The Santoku is like a shorter drop nose gyuto,they range fr. total crap stainless to high quality culinary steel.

  10. #20
    Senior Member VoodooMajik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlassEye View Post
    A longer gyuto paired with a nakiri could outperform the santoku in every way, in my opinion. If space is that much an issue, get shorter gyuto. If it is the longer size your are worried about, a well designed knife has always felt, to me, more nimble and easier to use than a shorter poorly designed knife.
    +1, There isn't much I can't tackle with a Nakiri/270 combo. I find myself moving to a more minimalist mind set these days, having figured this out.
    It's not the Answer it's the Experience

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