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What Is a Santoku Knife?

Learn about Santoku knives in this Howcast video with expert Dan Delavan.


Hi, my name's Dan Delavan. I'm the owner operator of Plaza Cutlery in Costa Mesa, California. We have a great selection. We also have a website, And today we're going to be talking about knives.

The Santoku knife is an old Asian knife, primarily Japanese. It was made famous by Rachael Ray on her TV show. She used the Wusthof Grand Prix knife for years before moving on. The Santoku is like a chef's knife, a wider blade, but instead of rocking it's more of a chopper. So it has a very slight curve, and the tip curves down to it. That way when you use it you just use it in more of an up and down motion or in a cutting forward motion. It's high carbon steel, so it does have to be kept dry and clean because it will rust.

We also have here, again from Japan, this is a modern Miyabi. It's distributed by and known by Henckels. This has their traditional chisel grind where it's ground on one side, then there's a large kind of hollow on the back side where it curves in. A lot of the Japanese chefs prefer this way so when they look down the blade they know exactly where the cutting edge is. Whereas in a lot of western knives the blade will be more centered, so they'll be off a few degrees. Shows how precise the Japanese like to be. This particular one has also got a steel bolster and is modernized with a Micarta handle, so it's heavy. But again, you still have the curve down wide blade for chopping.

This is the Wusthof Grand Prix. This was the original Rachael Ray knife. The Granton edge keeps things from sticking to it. You have the curved down wide blade. This one, with the Grand Prix, you have the rounded handle, and it has a little hump back in there so when you grip it it sits in your palm real nice.

Another Santoku we have here is the Kyocera. This one's quite a bit different. This is a ceramic blade. Kyocera is out of Japan. The advantage to the ceramic is it's very hard. When you cut lettuce, avocados, again avoiding the seeds because you will damage the blade, there's no iron. So being non-ferrous it's not going to change the color and make the lettuce brown or the avocado's not going to darken as fast. So again, you have the wide blade, it curves down. It has an ergonomic handle to grip. But it's extremely light. It's really like you're not holding anything.

The other advantage to the ceramic is it'll stay sharp for a very long time because it is a hard material. But, you have to be careful with it, if you do drop it or you pry with it you will either nick or damage the edge or you will break it. And of course, Kyocera doesn't guarantee them for misuse. It's not a throwing knife, so you can't drop it.

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