Santoku knives : what's your opinion on them?

My take is that I can adapt to the knife and it doesn’t have to be a glove fit. I have knives that felt awkward at first then become favorites


Hi Gourmanda,

Did you try Shun Kaji? It’s only available at W-S. It’s very different from the Shun classic. My Kaji Santoku even feels a bit heftier to me than my Wushoff–that’s why I mentioned it to you.


Hi Ray,

Well if it’s only sold at WS then no, I didn’t try that one so indeed it might feel hefty enough. That said I’ve found a German replacement that I liked a lot at a considerably lower price than the Shun Kaji. Glad there are so many knife manufacturers–something to please everyone.

Hi Scubadoo. I was just about to say that. I think it can be difficult for some people really know how a knife feel by testing it once. What happens is that the knife which feels best is the knife which you are most used to. That, however, does not translate to the best knife.

The best Chinese cleaver I am having now (Chan Chi Kee) felt awkward to me at first. It took me at least a week to slowly appreciate. I even wrote about it on Chowhound, and people can see how my review of the knife evolved over time.

The other knife which I felt unusual to me was the Konosuke HD2 petty knife. Again, people can look at how my review of the knife changed over time.

I’m also confused by the responses that a Santoku doesn’t "rock " chop. Again, comes down to personal personal preference. Try out several.

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Some have a more belly than others

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One of the fundamentals of a Santoku is that blade is completely level–like a Nakiri or Chinese cleaver. Zwilling/Henckels and their Japanese Miyabi brand do have a so-called “rocking santoku” series of knives:

But it’s not what most of us would consider to be a real Santoku any more.


Well, you can rock chop even with a Chinese cleaver or santoku for sure. A bigger belly (more curved) just makes it easier to rock chop.

This is a good introductory video. Some of the points have been mentioned already.


I care if it’s comfortable and gets the job done. I don’t much care what it’s called or who considers it “a real Santoku”.


As long as you’re happy, I’m happy.


Hi naf,

Lots of good info already, so I’ll try not to repeat anything (too much). Are you familiar with the difference between a chef’s knife and the smaller cook’s knife? When describing a santoku to people, I usually refer to it as “a Japanese cook’s knife.” Similar in edge profile to a truncated gyuto, the santoku is capable of all kinds of kitchen prep while providing a more maneuverable blade over a longer chef’s knife. I use mine on both meat and veg. I’d liken it to a cross between a nakiri and a gyuto – not completely squared off like a nakiri, but not as curved and tapered as a gyuto. There’s usually a slight amount of curve (belly) to the blade, so it provides a nice profile for mincing but not full-on rock chopping. And, of course, without a narrow, pointy tip it’s not going to replace a paring knife for detail work.

When looking for my first santoku, I passed on the Shun variants primarily because they had too much curve/belly to my liking. I already had a chef’s knife, and didn’t want to duplicate that profile. I ended up with a Forschner Rosewood 6-3/4" santoku and have never regretted the purchase. It’s light, well-balanced, thin, and easy to keep sharp.



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I love this profile for veg prep

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Scubadoo. Yeah, this looks great. I believe this is a kirisuke (切付), right? I know many professional chefs actually prefer this over Western Chef’s knife and over gyuto.

Is your double bevel or single bevel?

Maybe I should get one… what should my next knife be… hmmm… I was thinking a sujihiki, but now I think a kirisuke maybe a little more interesting.

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Double beveled and at under $35 for a 165mm it’s a “steel”

Actually I use this size/knife most often in the kitchen for vegetable prep.

I use my suji most often as a slicing knife and for skinning steelhead filets, cutting lox and other delicate slicing tasks

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold