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Bunka Vs Santoku: In-Depth Analysis For 2022

Last Updated: February 17th, 2022

Working in a less spacious kitchen with a long knife has to be one of the most uncomfortable feelings ever. If you have small hands in addition to that, then working with regular knives is probably hell for you. 

If we were to make a list of compact, convenient, and efficient knives, Bunka and Santoku knives will stay on top. But many say Bunka and Santoku knives don’t have any particular differences.

So, when you jump to amazon, looking for your perfect cutting board companion, the obvious question arises. If they are not so different, then which one should you buy?

Well, you’re in luck because, in this Bunka Vs Santoku in-depth analysis, we’ll be answering this question and finding out the unique features they bring to the board. 

Let’s get started! 

Bunka: Comfortable, Convenient, and Modern 

In Japan, it is called a “Bunka Bōchō” which translates to a traditional kitchen knife. The Bunka knife we see today is the westernized version of the traditional Japanese kitchen knife.

It’s available from 120 to 240mm in length. The ideal length for a Bunka is 165 mm. It is a versatile all-purpose kitchen knife ideal for dicing, cutting, slicing, and mincing vegetables, fish, meat, and herbs.

The most common misconception about Bunka knives is that it’s not different from a Santoku knife. While both Bunka and Santoku are flat profile, wide blade compact knives, Bunka comes with a different tip and shape. 

Editor’s Note: End Grain vs Edge Grain

Features: What Makes Bunka Stand Out? 

Let’s take a look at the unique features of a Bunka knife. 

Reverse Tanto/ K-tip 

The key feature that makes a Bunka stand out is its “reverse tanto” or k-tip. It’s a triangular tip that is sharp and can be used for intricate knife work. for example, if you want to score the top of bread, meat, or vegetable, this k-tip can help you. 

With this pointed tip, you can also do light butchering work like cutting off fat from the meat or getting under the skin of a pork belly. This k-tip can be used to do precise cuts like brunoise cuts easily. 

Lightweight Body For Longer Usage 

Bunka is comparatively shorter, thinner, and lighter than an average kitchen knife. It has a flat profile, a straight blade, and a sloping spine leading to the angled tip. 

Usually, the handle of a Bunka is made of wood and is D-shaped, octagonal, or oval. The ergonomic handle makes a great balance between the straight blade and the wooden handle. 

Due to the optimal balance and lightweight body, Bunka is a master of push cutting and tap chopping. 

Better Edge Retention 

Bunka knives are made with high-quality stainless steel or carbon steel. The straight cutting edge of Bunka is thinner than average to maintain edge retention for a long time.

Both stainless steel and carbon steel are rust-proof and corrosion-resistant when used properly. 

Our Recommended Bunka Knife 

While the number of Bunka knives in the market is not getting any lesser, we do have our favorites. The Smith Chu Kiritsuke 7-inch Bunka knife is our recommendation for an ideal Bunka knife because- 

  • It’s made with rust-proof high-quality thinner steel which maintains longer edge retention. 
  • The ergonomic wooden handle ensures an optimal balance of the handle and the blade
  • Razor-sharp edge ensures you experience the ultimate Bunka experience.  

Santoku: Affordable, Compact, and Chic

Santoku knives became an overnight sensation in the West when celebrity chef Rachel Ray stated it as her favorite kitchen tool on national television. It’s been years since that incident, but it’s still well-loved and appreciated by the general people. 

In utter honesty, a Santoku offers so many benefits in such an affordable price tag that its popularity is completely understandable. 

Features: What Makes Santoku Better? 

Let’s take a look at the features behind the popularity of a Santoku. 

Ultra-thin Granton Edges
Granton edges refer to the small scallops on the edge of a Santoku knife. These tiny scallops on the edge create air pockets when you’re cutting vegetables like potatoes or beef.

And the ingredient doesn’t stick to the blade or cause an interruption between continuous chopping motions. 

Granton edges or these tiny scallops provide better comfort for the user while maintaining edge retention for a long time. 

Three virtues

Santoku stands for “three virtues” in Japanese. The three virtues of this versatile, allrounder knife are herbs, vegetables, and meat. It can be used to slice, dice, and mince vegetables, meat and fish, and herbs easily.

Santoku’s thin blade, Granton edges, and curve at the front edge make it easier to thinly slice vegetables. The flat profile blade is ideal for rough chopping and dicing in uniform sizes. 

If you do julienne cuts and precise knife work a lot, then a Santoku is just what you need!

Ergonomic Build Comes With More Comfort

The usual length of a Santoku is never more than 7-inch. It offers a delicate weight balance between the thinner blade and the smaller handle. An ergonomically built wooden handle makes it easier to use than a traditional kitchen knife. 

If you spend hours in the kitchen, cutting, and chopping, then working with a small and thin knife-like Santoku is ideal for you. 

Its lightweight body gives you more control when you’re peeling, slicing, or doing heavy cutting like push and pull cutting, tap chopping, etc. 

Our Recommended Santoku Knife 

There are a lot of great Santoku knives available but we have a favorite. We love the MOSFIATA 7-inch Santoku knife because-

  • The blade is made of high-quality stainless steel that is rust-proof and is only 2.5mm thick. 
  • An ergonomic micarta handle ensures your hands don’t stress while you work. 
  • This hand-polished Santoku knife comes with a high-quality gift box. 

Bunka Vs Santoku: Which One Is Better?

Now that you’ve learned everything about a Santoku and Bunka knife, which one do you think is better? For us, Bunka is the better one. 

Both Bunka and Santoku are an ideal fit if you have small hands and require a knife with perfect weight balanced between the handle and the blade.

So, when it comes to the deciding factors, their uses matter the most.

You may choose a Bunka if you- 

  • Do a lot of precise cutting like brunoise cuts and need a pointed tip knife 
  • Work with meat a lot and do light butchering work like cleaning up fat under the meat.
  • Mince herbs, garlic, onion, and meat by hand. Bunka can be used to mince effortlessly in a back and forth motion. 

You may choose a Santoku if you-

  • Thinly slice fruits and vegetables a lot. Santoku’s narrow and thin blade is perfect for seamless vegetable slicing. 
  • If you dice fruits and vegetables a lot. Santoku is great for uniform dicing. 
  • Prep fish and meat by yourself and need a compact knife to help you do so. 

Final Words

Hopefully, this in-depth analysis has solved the Bunka Vs Santoku debate for you. If you think it’s Bunka, then your ideal knife qualification matches ours.

And if you prefer Santoku over Bunka, then rest assured. Its rich heritage and popularity are well-deserved. 

The deciding factor when choosing a knife should be your preference. While someone may be a fan of Bunka, you may prefer Santoku. 

Whatever you choose, we would like to assure you that both of these knives are equally great and performs outstandingly when used in the right way.

Steve Thampson

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