The Henckels International Classic 2-Piece Asian knife set is much more European than Asian, but many chefs will appreciate the refinements of the santoku blade combined with the typical German craftsmanship.
The Henckels full tang Classic pattern is one of the company’s oldest and most popular, used in restaurant kitchens as well as homes across the world. Henckels begins with a blank of alloy high carbon stainless steel and hot-drop forges the basic pattern of the knife including blade, bolster, and tang. The company now refers to this exclusive alloy as “no-stain” steel, since it was developed for the best blend of corrosion resistance, strength, and edge-holding ability. This older forging process creates a heavier blade than counterparts in stamped or laser-cut steel with a rounded shoulder connecting the blade and bolster.
Ground thinner than the Henckels chef’s knives, the Classic Santoku also receives a special granton grind along the edge. Multiple hollows reduce the amount of surface which actually contacts the food, reducing the cutting effort involved. Hollows fill with juices, and slices fall away from the blade instead of stacking up on it. According to the Henckels website, only the seven-inch santoku in this set has that hollow-ground edge. The four-inch paring knife features a strong, flat-ground plain edge.
Both knives sharpen easily with an ordinary honing steel.
Also consider the Classic Ikon Asian Set from Wusthof.
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