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Santoku very much

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Do you use a santoku?

Do you use it as your primary chef knife? Or as a specialty knife?

What do you like about it?

Why do you like it more than your chef's knife? Or, why do you think your chef's knife is better?

Don't be shy about free-associating. I'm more interested in how you feel than in a strong argument one way or the other. Your reply will help me a great deal.

Thanks in advance,
BDL
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post #2 of 17
I have a Wusthof santoku and 8" chef's knife and oddly enough I find that the santoku is sharper (which I can't really imagine since I use and sharpen both of them with equal care). As a result I've starting using my santoku for a lot of vegetable prep... although I occasionally like to use my chef's knife for its ability to "rock" better than a santoku and I don't use it for meat. What I would like to try out is a flat edged vegetable chopper, either a Japanese model or a Chinese thin cleaver.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #3 of 17
I have one. I don't consider it that special, nor even that specialty. I use 8 and 10 inch chef's knives more.

Upon consideration, I like it for cutting cheese as the wide chord helps me keep the slice more even with less work than a chef's or utility knife does.

It's good with vegetable dicing, but no more so than a standard chef's knife.The wide chord might help some people here too, but I've not noticed it.

Like Blueicus, I think I'd like it better if it had less curve to the edge, and I'd really like to try one that was perfectly straight like in a true sheepsfoot blade which the santoku is close to.

I've seen some Asian vegie cleavers at one of the asian grocers in my area that aren't so tall as a standard Asian cleaver. These appeal to me a lot. Very inexpensive and of unknown quality, but I like the design.

The classic Euro-chef's knife style has a curve that works better for me and I find the blade itself more versatile.

Phil
post #4 of 17
I've got two Santuko, several chef's knives, and even a Sabatier vegetable cleaver.

I went through a period where I used the Santuko and Chef's knives about equally, with the nod going to the Chef's knives. But I got over that, and now use the Chef's about 85% of the time. Nothing I've ever used compares to my no-name, carbon-steel chef's knife with the 10 inch (well, 9 1/2, actually) blade.

The vegetable cleaver gets no use at all. I thought I would really like it, as it has no rocker---staight as the sheepsfoot Phil refers to, but the front is cut straight, rathern then curved . But there isn't enough heft to use it like a cleaver, and, without the rocker, chopping and mincing is actually more difficult. Maybe a pair of them, used in the Japanese style, would work? But, like so many modern Sabatier, it doesn't want to hold an edge. So two of them would just be four times the work.

But if anyone likes that design......
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 17
I have the same setup, i think my santoku is sharper, i believe its alittle thinner.

As for the original question i only use for veg prep mainly. With me its one of those things, some days i just like useing my santoku some days i would rather use a chef knife. just depends.
post #6 of 17
I have a Shun and a Mac. I have to admit I use them more than my 10" because I do much more cooking in small kitchens now (read small cutting boards). I recommend them when I teach ConEd for that reason. I don't like that I'm losing the habit of my chef knife however. It seems sharper, sturdier, more versatile than my santoku, but my small hand is more comfortable with the latter.

My MAC has a thinner blade, granton edge. Great for finer detailed work. My Shun is a workhorse and quite heavier. It's cut through bone with no problem, and the only thing I probably haven't used it for is slicing bread. I've had it for 2 years and only had to sharpen it once. Mind you I did procrastinate about it for 6 months. I have other knives you know.....
post #7 of 17
I figured out another reason my santoku has lost favor. It's too short. Most Santoku are 6 or 7 inches long (blade). It's not really long enough to get a pjroper chopping motion on a big clump of carrots, or a large potato, parsnip and so on.

Big fruit are right out though an 8" Chefsknife can often struggle through them.

Phil
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
These are all great responses, I hope to get more. Especially from people who really like their santokus. I understand that they're putting a dent in 8" chef knives sales, especially among women. I have my theories, but would rather hear than speculate.

Ladies?

BDL
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http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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post #9 of 17
quote=boar_d_laze;220758]These are all great responses, I hope to get more. Especially from people who really like their santokus. I understand that they're putting a dent in 8" chef knives sales, especially among women. I have my theories, but would rather hear than speculate.
Ladies?
BDL[/quote]

No lady here, but I'm full of opinions. The Santoku has been around for awhile in Japan but is relatively new to the rest of the world. Personally, I think they're nothing more than a nuevo Western world fad, like the grantons that so many of them sport. First of all, they're short. If you want short get a 155 to 185mm Nakiri and slice away. For big jobs, get a 240 to 300mm Gyuto and make short work of your prep jobs. The "big belly scoops a lot" argument goes limp when compared to a 220mm X 110mm Chukabocho. Santoku is Japanese for "three virtues" meaning works well for veggies, meats, and fish. It's kind of like a Volkswagen bus, does several jobs but none very well. Personally, I'll have a Porsche, Ferrari, and BMW in my kitchen. I want cooking to be fun. Combine great knives with All-Clad SS pots & pans and an induction cooktop and you'll have one of those "to die for" kitchens, bar none.

Edit:

I guess I went overboard when I wrote this last night because I'm definitely speaking from personal preference. I have gotten so used to using large chef's knives that the smaller ones don't feel right anymore. The only exceptions are my Nakiris and a Usuba. My 8-9" chef's are in storage except for one, below. The smallest chef's I now use are 240mm (9.4") Japanese Gyutos and the largest is a very old 12" Thiers-Issard Sabatier. Oddly enough, one of my very favorite knives "looks" like a Santoku but it is actually a 240mm Takeda Gyuto, wickedly thin with a Hitachi Blue Super steel edge. It slices better than any knife I own. So I guess I can admit, based on its shape, that I like one Santoku, sort of.

[

The Takeda compared to a 9" T-I Sabatier. I keep the Sab sharpened at 10 degrees per side and only use it for cubing conch for chowder. It's a super blade for that particular purpose.

End edit

Buzz
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was not full of crap....
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Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
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post #10 of 17
It can be done. Check out this Curtis Chung video. Notice that the Mizuno has some belly but the Moritaka is dead flat, yet Curtis rocks it in one sequence. The belief that a big belly (rounded) edge is required for rocking is a myth.

Buzz
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
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post #11 of 17
Oh crap. Double post. Sorry.
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Nobody likes being told what to do.
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post #12 of 17
I admit I'm a bit confused with the comparison between Japanese santoku knives and other 'Santoku style' knives. From what I've experienced they are similar but definitely not the same and I find that it's the latter are those that are popular.

I use a Japanese santoku knife when preparing food for Asian cuisine. (It's made by Suisin and it's called the Momiji Funayuki). I find it does specific things quite well, particularly the fine geometrical work but a santoku knife is not something I would consider using for general work.
Nobody likes being told what to do.
Until they get lost.
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Nobody likes being told what to do.
Until they get lost.
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post #13 of 17
My girlfriend, while not a "gotta have a cool chefs knife and cut stuff perfect" person like me....uses her 5-6 inch cheapo santoku for **** near everything and you couldn't tell the difference much between our cuts. she feels much more comfortable with a smaller knife...

...now either my knife skills are seriously lacking or hers are great with her knife in her comfort zone.

Of course she goes through them pretty quick as they are cheapo, but I'm thinking about getting her a wustoff
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response. The fact that it's positive is really along the lines of what I'm looking for. Hey, I know what I don't like about them -- that's why I want to know what other people do like. Especially women as they seem to be the primary market. No chance you could get her to contribute to the thread, or maybe even PM or email me, is there? It would be a favor that would help the book along. I've been working on the knife section forfrackingever and am ready to wrap it up pretty soon.

As to buying a good Santoku -- not a Wusthof. There are much better at the price. No disrespect to Wusthof or "superiority" of Japanese cutlery. It's about retaining the weight and geometry she likes and combining it with "last a lifetime" steel. Just remind me how you sharpen.

BDL
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http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
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post #15 of 17
I'll send her the link and get her to chime in.

I said wusthoff only because those are what all my other knives are (for the time being, although I'm eyeing a bigger chefs knife than my 8"!)

My opinion, I like to "rock and roll" with my chefs knife and the santoku feels too square especially for bigger things. (anythiing above a carrot!)
post #16 of 17
I have several, including a few I purchased on my last trip to Japan. While I like the Santoku style, it is not my first choice for general use. I still reach for a French style chef knife, most often a Sabatier Carbon Steel one.
post #17 of 17
Funny, same situation with me. My wife uses the santoku for about everything, and rarely uses the chef's knife. I'm the opposite. Without the heft and the curved blade I just don't see what it does for me, save perhaps for slicing (cheese, salami, something like that).
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