Chef's Knives: Santoku vs. Gyuto - Which Is Better?

Unfamiliar with Japanese kitchen knives? Names like gyuto, santoku, nakiri might not ring a bell. Whether you're a knife expert or not, Japanese knives serve the same purpose – to cut. Today, we'll take a deeper look into Japanese chef's knives, two of the most popular shapes being: gyuto and santoku. Ready?

Santoku  knife features

Santoku knives are multi-purpose with shorter, wide, flat blades (less than 21cm). They lack a curved blade, making rocking motions challenging. Ideal for long cutting strokes and chopping, Santokus are thin, hard, and sharp, with variations in grind and handedness.

The Gyuto

Gyuto refers to Japanese-style chef’s knives, evolving due to Western demand. Shaped like Western chef’s knives, Gyutos are double-beveled and used similarly. Gyutos and Santokus share similarities; Gyutos are slightly better for all-purpose use due to a piercing tip and rocking belly. Santokus, often more affordable, suit various kitchen tasks.

The differences between gyuto and santoku

Santokus differ with flat tips and no curved belly, making stabbing cuts and rocking motions challenging, unlike chef’s knives. Gyutos, resembling Western chef’s knives, are slightly better for all-purpose use due to a piercing tip and rocking belly.

Consider a shorter Gyuto or chef’s knife for most tasks, but adding a Santoku complements specific food prep needs.  Gyuto knives are well-suited for various cutting techniques, including rocking, due to their curved belly. Santokus, with a focus on chopping and long strokes, offer a different set of techniques, catering to specific culinary needs.

And remember, no matter the type, proper maintenance and a suitable cutting board are crucial for any knife longevity.

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