I'm a total newbie, based in UK... I've been reading these forums for days and there's so much amazing information on here! Problem is that I've now got totally stuck trying to make a decision, so hoping you can help me...
I want to buy my OH his first Japanese knife for his birthday (which is actually today :\ I've been indecisive for so long I've kind of messed up, but I see him this weekend so might be able to turn it around!)
He's a good home cook, always reading, watching, and learning, and cooks often. He makes lots of soups (chopping roots, cabbage, herbs, etc), maybe not so much fine slicing of things, i.e. more 'home cooked' than 'fine dining' in style. He tends to buy meat from his local butcher de-boned and prepped etc. (though he has mentioned he's interested in learning more about meat prep).
I was thinking a Santoku (but maybe Gyuto?). And something about 8" as any longer might be a bit unwieldy for a non-pro home cook.
He currently has a standard set of 3 Sabatier pro knives (i.e. western) which he's pretty fond of, which makes me nervous about buying him something more traditionally Japanese. But then I also want this to be something a bit special and different - maybe ignite more of an interest in Japanese knives, and better kitchen knives in general.
So... I'd been looking at this https://cuttingedgeknives.co.uk/brands/masakage/yuki/santoku
They're UK based, so no risk of import duty, and they have a money back guarantee in case - when he holds it - he really doesn't like it (another worry about buying something like this blind).
It's a bit above budget (budget is £100) but he won't know.
I also found this UK site http://www.knivesforchefs.co.uk/santoku---all-purpose-108-c.asp but very quickly felt bewildered by choice of products and checking out reviews. I usually end up on US forums for advice and reviews (seems you have better knife forums than UK), but then the info isn't as relevant for buying in the UK (within budget).
Based on reading these forums, and maybe because of decision paralysis, I then started to think that maybe a better gift would be a sharpening system. He has none - not even a honing rod. And maybe a wooden magnetic knife holder too.
And there again, a whole world of information and possibilities - eek!
So I'm reaching out in the hope that you might be able to help get me out of this indecisive mess I'm got myself into - really appreciate any UK relevant advice you might have (even if it's a 'that Santoku looks ok as a start - just go with it')