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Vegetable Knife vs Chef Knife vs Santoku

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I'm confused as to what the difference is between these three knives.  I know the vegetable knife in general is bigger than the other two. I know the santoku can cut 3 different ways. But is there a benefit to using one over the others in certain situations.


I'm simply asking, How could a veggie knife be better than a chef knife? How could it be better than a santoku? 


And I'm not a chef, just a regular home cook just looking to improve my knife skill knowledge. Thanks. 

post #2 of 3

Well I guess you need some basic background about traditional japanese knives.  Traditional knives, the single bevel kinds, and all have very specific tasks.  Usuba for veg (different techniques than you though), deba for breaking down fish, yanagiba for slicing fish. 


Santoku was introduced as a multipurpose double bevel knife for all the tasks a home cook might find.  Unless you're a weirdo like me, the average home cook doesn't want to have 2 dozen different knives for different purposes and most of them want no part of serious butchering or fish breakdown.  Mostly santokus are too short for me.  Try working with a cabbage or a melon or slicing a big roast and tell me if it's long enough.


Chefs knife is the western version of all purpose knife.  It's okay at everything, but there are always specific knives that can be better.  Still, I use it for 90% of kitchen tasks.


If vegetable knife means nakiri, that's a double beveled usuba.  It's meant for normal cutting of vegetables and can't do the fancy paper thin garnishes you can do with usuba.  I would say it helps because it has no tip.  If you run low on board space, you'll understand.

post #3 of 3
In addition only: you may have a combination of knives that allows you to perform all tasks. So, if you don't want to do everything with a 240mm chef's knife, you might consider a 190mm santoku for the vaste majority of tasks and add a basic 270mm slicer for roasts, raw meat and cabbage.
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