A Santoku is a Japanese knife that looks like a squat version of a French’s chef knife.
It is curved at the front, rather than pointy, and lighter than a chef’s knife, not as heavy and thick.
The blade is broad, with the curve bringing the tip lower to the board. It is slightly tapered, and slightly thinner than the blade on a chef’s knife. The edge is honed at 17 degrees.
Because the tip is closer to the board, you don’t have to raise the knife as vertical as you do when using a French chef’s knife.
Sometimes a Santoku has just a plain straight blade; sometimes it has a rippled cutting edge (the technical term is “granton edges.”) The ripples allow for fast cutting because they cause air pockets that don’t let the food adhere.
It is used for three purposes: meat, fish and vegetables. It is not good, though, for cutting through bone.
Most are made for right-handed people.
Parrish, Marlene. Sharpest chefs brandish the finest santoku. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Post-Gazette. 12 May 2005.
In Japanese, “san” = “three”; “toku” = “virtue.”