use of a Santoku

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by vk2109, Aug 17, 2019.

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  1. Aug 17, 2019 #1

    vk2109

    vk2109

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    Hi i wanted to ask if a santoku adds any value when you do all your kitchen with a gyuto and also an usuba for julienne /thin cutting/ vegetable cutting etc... ?

    thanks

    Vadim
     
  2. Aug 17, 2019 #2
    I've got a couple knives sitting around but no santoku. IMO it would only have value if you had someone else in the kitchen with you occasionally and she preferred the shorter knife.
     
  3. Aug 17, 2019 #3

    Elliot

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    The Santoku is a fine blade style as far as my personal opinion. Does it add additional value as compared to gyuto? I argue yes, but only under specific conditions.

    Often times, people like a short knife (180mm for example). Many gyuto don’t come with heel height that makes it extremely comfortable to use, including hand size and some other factors.

    The Santoku (though I would personally go Nakiri in this construct) allows for a shorter blade (165-180) with sufficient heel height to work comfortably.

    Most people in the community seem to dislike the profile, and that’s fair, there’s nothing I am aware of that it can do “better” than gyuto. But, as I tried to explain above, I think there is a fair use case.
     
  4. Aug 17, 2019 #4

    kayman67

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    <...>

    Santoku is a nice knife that can do a lot of work, but I don't consider adding value with one as in making things better/easier next to a gyuto.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
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  5. Aug 17, 2019 #5

    vk2109

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    Thank you but just to be precise, i am asking the question given you already own a gyuto and usuba (so don't need a nakiri)....so just wondering if useful to have a santoku as someone wants to get me one as gift so that's why i am asking...
     
  6. Aug 17, 2019 #6

    CiderBear

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    Trust me, you don't need a nakiri, but you want one
     
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  7. Aug 17, 2019 #7

    Benuser

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    Better have a short gyuto, 180mm, if it isn't too narrow. A santoku tip gets easily damaged, it hinders 'guillotine & glide'.
     
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  8. Aug 17, 2019 #8

    kayman67

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    I believe Tanaka has some nice short gyutos for reference.

    But as I can understand now, he has a gyuto and usuba already and someone wants to buy him a gift, a santoku. I think that it might be the last knife he needs.
     
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  9. Aug 17, 2019 #9

    Elliot

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    From a purely utilitarian standpoint, nah, probably not gonna add much. But most of use have left pure reason and utility in the dust a long time ago. :)
     
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  10. Aug 17, 2019 #10

    parbaked

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    The santoku works great in a modern Japanese home, where it is intended.

    1. Japanese don't really "guillotine and glide", which is more of a western technique, so the flatter profile works better.
    2. Kitchens, storage and cutting boards are generally small and space is at a premium, so a reasonably sized, one knife solution is appreciated. Japan is not a bigger is better culture.
    3. Food prep is primarily cutting whole vegetables into the appropriate size. These include large cabbage, carrots and squash, so a good veg knife is a priority.
    4. Proteins are usually bought pre portioned and often pre sliced for a particular preparation such as shabu shabu. No need for a long slicing knife.
    My wife's family are from Kanagawa. My mother in-law cooks every meal, every day with a 150mm santoku and a short bread knife. She uses a santoku for everything from prepping veggies to slicing sashimi.

    I cook a lot when I am there and even a 210 gyuto would be overkill.
    This is a 180mm TF gyuto I picked up at his shop last year to use at their house. It's too big for her board.
    Family thought the knife was huge....
    TF Yokosuka.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  11. Aug 18, 2019 #11

    vk2109

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    I also live in NY so space is limited (but can squeeze my knife in this tiny knife blocks (see below) and 2 in my drawer..Well maybe in those situations if starting from beginning i would have considered a santoku but after reading this thread and others ...i don't think i will make much use a santoku. My usuba is my go to for vegetable and do have a gyuto and also a german wusthof chef for rocking or for cutting thru harder stuff so i don't this santoku will benefit me much !

    Thanks a lot everyone for your contribution.


    This is my arsenal for home cooking.
    -Masamoto tsukiji petty 120mm
    -Mas0meto tsukiji gyuto 210mm
    - wusthof classic demi 200mm chef
    - zwilling prep serated
    - wusthof paring 3.5in

    - Masamoto Tsukiji Deba
    - Masamato Usuba
     

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  12. Aug 18, 2019 #12

    kayman67

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    Like I was saying in my first post (edited out now since I was under the impression that you need to chose between having a santoku and maybe a usuba), that usuba is one nice knife for vegetables. And I wouldn't have imagined it before I got one.
    Nice set!
     
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  13. Aug 18, 2019 #13

    Customfan

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    Ahhh the recurring santoku thread! ;-)

    All joking aside, I think there is a place for them, the best argument/place is in small spaces....

    I do use them in sushi prep for Mukimono type cooking

    The profiles in usuba and santoku are different, not to mention Usuba is a traditional single beveled blade.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  14. Aug 20, 2019 #14

    Scribbled

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    They are very popular in China (they outsell gyutos by about 100-1) for, I’d guess similar reasons. The average kitchen in Shanghai is under 3 meters square so people are lucky to have half a sqr meter for their entire food preparation area. Never seen one used professionally though.
     
  15. Aug 20, 2019 #15

    HRC_64

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    In a japanese kitchen, a petty is too narrow/skinny to cut straight down through hard vegetables all-day-long without drifting/steering.Both the nakiri and the santoku solve the "petty problem" by adding heel height...which allows them to track better in dense, tall vegetables.

    They also avoid the issues that single bevel knives have with steering, by switching to a ryo/two sided grind. A USUBA doesn't solve this problem since its single bevel. Whereas The Nakiri needs to be used in conjunction with a petty since it has no tip...The santoku is designed with a tip, to minimize the need for other knives.

    IMHO a similar but better profile to 'Santoku' is 'Funayuki'. A funayki looks like a small Deba/variation, but without the battle ax grind. Nice small footprint (180mm), tall (50+mm), 2-3mm spine, nice profile curve. Funayuki is the knive I would recommend for a small-apartment dweller.

    -- Heel height to track thru veg like santoku/nakiri
    -- More nimble, better tip than santoku.
    -- Not fragile or one dimensional like petty
    -- Edge curve means good slicing and general protein competence
     
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  16. Aug 20, 2019 #16

    MarkC

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    Or two perhaps? How are you liking them and do you prefer one over the other? I have been wanting one for a while but not crazy about the plastic on the hilt.
     
  17. Aug 20, 2019 #17

    Xenif

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    Some people (like myself) just really enjoy the Nakiri, if people can own 20x 240 gyutos then I can justify 7 nakiris
     
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  18. Aug 20, 2019 #18

    Elliot

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    Well said!! Considering my second right now :D
     
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  19. Aug 20, 2019 #19

    CoteRotie

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    I like and use my Nakiri fairly often, my Gyutos constantly and my Santoku almost never. I have space in my kitchen, but even if I didn't I don't think my answer would be any different, though I might use a shorter Gyuto. I might use my Santoku for cutting citrus because it's one of the few stainless knives I own, but other than that it doesn't see much use. Of course it's all down to what you like, so if you like Santokus go for it!
     
  20. Aug 20, 2019 #20

    KO88

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    I've used to use only 180 santoku knife for some time and was really happy with it but something happened I bought chuka bocho and since I do not have space issues I do also buy 270 Gyuto as main knife. I must say it is the best - everthing is much smoother faster with it also can be used as sujihiki for protein...
    If you have gyuto(/nakiri/petty) combo I don't see any reason of owening santoku knife in sence of added value.
    For me now the Santoku knife is great travelling knife - size/versatility or maybe wife's knife (no offence :) )
     
  21. Aug 21, 2019 #21

    Keith Sinclair

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    Look at a santoku as a small package that works well as a cutter. Due to it's flat edge profile and height. My man ego does not suffer defending santoku's. They are hugely popular for a reason, they work.

    This forum profiles some of the best gyutos out there. There are many more crappy chef knives with terrible geometry and grinds. My Kochi K tip 180mm is sold under Santoku at JKI. I prepare whole meals with that blade no problem. It is 56mm at the heel.

    I guess I will have to see if can find a cheap skirt at Ross's. Than again am Scottish decent not afraid of a kilt or what's under it.:rolleyes: Now putting on makeup that might be a too much.
     
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  22. Aug 21, 2019 #22

    Elliot

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    I have been waiting for this exact knife to come back in stock.
     
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  23. Aug 22, 2019 #23

    Tanalasta

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    It's like a taller petty. That's what I use mine for. The santoku I have is the Shun. It doesn't excel in any area. But it adequately does small jobs, from slicing a lemon in half ; quartering tomato and just light prep easier than a smaller 120mm petty and easier to wave around than a 240mm gyuto. It has a straighter rather than a curved profile and there are some things, like long pull slices and rock chopping it doesn't do so well.

    Guess that's why we all have more than one knife right?
     
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  24. Aug 22, 2019 #24

    vk2109

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    Cool ! do you use a 165mm or 180mm santoku ?
     
  25. Aug 22, 2019 #25

    CiderBear

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    I had the last one in my cart for a couple days. I keep kicking myself that I missed out on it even now :( I know the exact day that knife sold lol
     
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  26. Aug 22, 2019 #26

    Qapla'

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    I thought wearing Scottish garb means that you're legally permitted to carry a sgian-dhubh? Not sure if a santoku would be also permitted.

     
  27. Aug 22, 2019 #27

    Tanalasta

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    The Shun classic is 180mm

    I find after being used to larger, anything feels a bit short. Especially if you want to do single pull slicing
     
  28. Aug 22, 2019 #28

    Keith Sinclair

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    Was not thinking of that type of offensive weapon.
     
  29. Aug 22, 2019 #29

    DisconnectedAG

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    I find that I use my santoku mostly like a slightly oversized petty. The 165mm length is slightly longer than the 130mm petty I have, but it's nimble and short for when I mince garlic and do odd jobs after the main prep.
     
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  30. Aug 30, 2019 #30

    Stnakamu

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    I swear I use my santoku only after my two gyutos get dull
     

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