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What is a Santoku Knife?

A Santoku knife is a knife made in the style of the Japanese knife of the same name that means ‘three virtues’ – in this case cutting, dicing and mincing.  Due to its many uses, the Santoku knife has become an increasingly popular knife in every kitchen.


Most Santoku knives are between 5 inches and 7 inches in length and are shaped like a narrow bladed cleaver.  It has a well-balanced grip that allows the full use of the blade.  There are two main types of blades; bevelled or hollow, both designed to give an extra cutting performance.  Another feature of the knife is the Granton edge pattern – dimples on the blade that add to the stylish look of the knife but are totally practical.  They work to release thin slices and sticky food from the blade after it has sliced through it, making the knives ideal for a whole range of cutting jobs.

There are ranges of different types of knives with variations in the quality of the steel and handle, if it has a full or partial tang and how the knife is put together.  There are also high-end ceramic versions of the Santoku that is made in a different manner to steel ones.

How to Use

A Santoku knife is used more for chopping than for rocking because the blade has a very slight curve and the tip curves down to it.  This results in using it in an up and down motion rather than rolling backwards and forwards.

Usually, these knives keep their sharpness well but if the blade does require a sharpening, using a proper sharpening steel will do the job.  An electric knife sharpener should only be used if it is designed to be used with Asian knives such as the Santoku.

J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL Fine Edge Pro 2-pc Asian Knife Set

This is a two-piece set and an example of a reliable, highly rated Santoku knife that retails at a price that is affordable for most people.  The blades are made from high quality German stainless steel and are made from a single piece of steel for durability.  The handles are contoured black poly that band to the full tang using three aluminium rivets to add to the strength of the knives.  The set features one 5-inch hollow edge knife and a 7-inch hollow edge, both of which can be cleaned in the dishwasher, though are better washed by hand.  The manufacturer also guarantees the knives are hygienic and break proof for peace of mind.


Santoku knives have become known for their strength of blade, sharpness and reliability for a wide range of jobs around the kitchen.  Their lightness also means that they can be handle by almost anyone, whereas some of the larger, heavier knives cause problems for people with small hands or joint problems.  While the chopping motion as opposed to rocking may take some adjusting for some, the general view is that it is worth the effort to make the transition.

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