Santoku and Nakiri are both styles of Japanese knives, but they aren't the same and have different uses. Understanding these different types of knives can help you choose the right one for your cooking needs.
The simplest explanation is that the santoku is an all-purpose knife, used for many different kitchen tasks. The nakiri is designed for vegetable chopping, making it unsuitable for some other aspects of cooking and meal preparation. Looking at the shape of these two knives can make it easier to distinguish their differences and decide which one you need at the time.
When you look at the santoku you can see that it's shaped the way a typical knife would be shaped. The edge is semi-flat, the tip is sharp, and the spine is curved down toward the edge. The nakiri is much more rectangular, with a spine running parallel to the edge of the knife.
The santoku is commonly mistaken for a gyuto, which is another type of all-purpose knife for kitchen use. However, the santoku has a straighter edge and a steeper angle. When you aren't sure what kind of knife to get for your kitchen, but you're looking for something that gives you all-purchase options, a santoku can be the right choice.
But what if you're more interested in a knife for chopping vegetables, and you do a lot of meal prep in your kitchen? If that's the case you may want to look into getting a nakiri instead. While you can't use it for as many different things, it's definitely the right choice for all your vegetable chopping needs.
With a flatter edge and a strong, rectangular profile, the nakiri works well for repetitively chopping and provides a clean and consistent cut. Depending on the kinds of work you commonly do in your kitchen, both the nakiri and the santoku could be great options to make your meal prep and cooking time easier.
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