Santoku knives are the Japanese version of a chef’s knife. They are used much like a Western chef’s knife, mainly for chopping, dicing, mincing and an assortment of other cutting tasks. They are the all-purpose Japanese kitchen knife – they can be used to cut just about anything, as long as it is not used on bone, which can chip the knife’s edge. They are medium in length, and almost always have a seven inch blade.
When choosing your Santoku knife, first consider the steel shaping method. If you are looking for the highest quality of knife available, go with a forged model. On the other hand, if you only plan on using your knife occasionally or are looking for an economical option, a stamped Santoku “bocho” (Japanese for knife) will do just fine. Go with carbon steel for durability, or high carbon stainless steel for a knife that is strong but also highly unlikely to ever rust.
Once you’ve determined the quality of knife you want, decide on your edge type. A straight edge is the classic option for most Santoku and chef’s knives. However, a duo edge is the best choice if you will be using your knife for a lot of juicy cutting tasks, like those involving raw meat or juicy or soft fruits or vegetables like peaches and tomatoes. A professional knife with a duo edge will allow you to slice items like cucumbers with ease because the vegetable will fall away from the knife instead of sticking, this is especially important for Japanese cuisine, because it involves precision cutting.