How to choose and use a Santoku?

In this article I will advise you for the choosing your Santoku knife. Then we will see the different uses of this very versatile Japanese knife.First of all, the Santoku takes its name from its abilities. It means something like “3 virtues” or “3 good things”. This name comes from its ability to slice, chop or mince food. The name Santoku in Japanese also refers to the 3 primary virtues of Buddhism: wisdom, renunciation and judgment.

Which Santoku to choose ?

Santoku japanese knife

The 3 best selling Santoku knives :

Kai Shun Couteau Santoku Classic DM 0727 - Couteau japonais ultra tranchant avec lame de 14 cm + planche à découper en chêne fait main 30 x 22 cm
  • Kai Shun Classic, petit couteau Damas Santoku...
  • Grande planche de cuisine en chêne massif fait à...
  • La couche intérieure est en acier VG Max,...
  • Lame professionnelle en acier damassé à la main...
  • Livré dans un emballage cadeau de qualité...
Kai DM-0702 Couteau Santoku 18 cm
  • Dimensions: 16,5 cm
  • La Serie Shun Damas remporte un large succes...
  • Lame 16,5 cm
Couteau Santoku KAI Shun Premier Tim Mälzer 18 cm TDM-1702, couteau japonais + planche à découper en bois faite main 30x18 cm (chêne)
  • Longueur de lame du couteau Santoku Kai Shun...
  • + une planche à découper en bois de qualité...
  • Couteau de cuisine KAI fait de 32 couches d'acier...
  • Surface martelée à la main pour une esthétique...
  • La planche à découper Palatina a été...

Choosing a knife based on price

The price is one of the first criteria of choice. Depending on the budget allocated for your knife, you will not choose the same ranges. There are Japanese knives from 30€. At that price you will have to choose from the first price range. Your knife will therefore be low-end. This does not necessarily mean that it will be bad, far from it. However, it will not be as good as those in the higher ranges and will certainly not last as long.

Quel budget pour mon Santoku

Between 50€ and 100€, you start to be able to choose knives with good cutting performance and a better longevity. These Santoku knives will be perfect for amateurs.

Between 100€ and 300€ the knives will be of very good quality and can be kept for many years (if they are well maintained). It is important to know that the higher the quality of a Japanese knife, the harder and sharper its blade will be. On the other hand, maintenance will be more difficult because the sharpening of this type of blade is more complex.

Above 300€ you will be in the professional range with high level knives. Extremely sharp knives with excellent quality steel. These Santoku knives are able to accompany you for several generations. Even though in the ancient Japanese tradition, knives were buried with their masters or broken when they died.

Choosing a Santoku according to its level of use

the different types of Santoku

The level of skill in cooking or the frequency of use of the Santoku can tell you which range to choose. If you are a beginner, choose an entry-level or mid-range knife. This way you can test the Santoku and its use before opting for a more advanced model.

If this is not your first Japanese knife. And you already appreciate the cutting comfort of Japanese blades, increase your budget to have a nice knife.

For experienced users, enthusiasts and professionals, choose a high quality knife. Do not hesitate to test the handle and the ergonomics of the knife before buying it. Some Japanese knives have handles with a direction (right or left-handed). Be careful. Find out about the origin of the knife and the production method. The materials used in the making of your Santoku will also be very important.

Choosing a real Japanese knife

Real” Japanese knives are those forged in Japan using traditional methods and quality materials. If the knife is not made in Japan, make sure you know how it is made. For more details I invite you to read my article: how to choose a good Japanese knife?

Other criteria for choosing a good Japanese knife

Other criteria are also important! The type of dish you wish to prepare with your knife. The quality of the steel and its carbon percentage. With this article from Agrussell you will understand what Rockwell degrees mean.

How do I use my Santoku?

Slicing vegetables with my Santoku

cutting vegetables with a Santoku

The shape of the blade of this knife makes it easy to cut vegetables. Whether they are large or small. The Santoku can have a blade of between 10 and 20 centimetres, depending on the model. Some models are equipped with cavities to prevent the food from sticking when cutting.

The Santoku is very popular for vegetables because it allows them to be cut very quickly, Japanese style. Instead of swinging the knife back and forth to slice the vegetable.

Its excellent sharpness will allow you to cut any vegetable, even the hardest ones like pastas and other squashes.

Cutting meat with my Santoku

slices of meat

There are more specific knives for cutting meat. However, the Santoku is very versatile and will allow you to easily slice pieces of meat. Whether it is for filleting or slicing, it will be more than sufficient.

Slicing fish with my Santoku

pieces of fish

Cutting fish is easy with your Santoku. Its excellent cutting edge will make slicing easier, although Japanese knives with bevelled blades are even more precise for perfect slices of fish. It will be an ally of choice for lifting fillets or making cubes in a piece of fish.

Here is a selection of 3 Santoku knives:

– an entry-level knife =>

Chroma Haiku Home Santoku HH01 Couteau 17,5 cm
  • Couteau aux trois vertus : légumes, poissons et viandes
  • Une bonne entrée de gamme en japonais
  • Manches bruts interchangeables
  • Forme idéale pour légumes en brunoise ou julienne
  • Longeur de lame : 17,5 cm

– a mid-range knife =>

Kai DM-0702 Couteau Santoku 18 cm
  • Dimensions: 16,5 cm
  • La Serie Shun Damas remporte un large succes aupres des Cuisiniers les plus exigeants les couteaux professionnels shun sont fabriques en Acier Damas Inox compose de 32 couches et d' un Noyau Central en Acier Vg -10, cet Acier est tres dur resistant a la corrosion. Le tranchant convexe de la lame ainsi que l' affutage manuel de chaque couteau Shun garantissent une coupe remarquable la beaute du manche, en lamelles de Pacca compresse est rehausse par une mitre en bout
  • Lame 16,5 cm

– a high-end Santoku =>

Haiku Kurouchi - couteau japonais artisanal brut de forge - Couteau Ko-Yanagi, 13,5 cm
  • Haiku crouch
  • Forged noir
  • Est-ce que blue steel
  • D'origine que lorsque le faucon est présent
  • Couteaux de chef

If you want to discover the many other types of Japanese knives, follow the link. See you soon for more explanations on the world of Japanese knives!

Other articles to help you choose :

a Usuba knife
a Nakiri
a sushi knife
a Gyuto
a bread knife
damascus steel knife
a Deba knife
a set of Japanese knives