Like a chef's knife, the Japanese santoku is a multipurpose knife used for just about every cutting job in the kitchen. The name means "three virtues." This refers either to the three types of foods it works especially well with—vegetables, proteins, and fruit, or for the three types of cuts at which it excels: slicing, dicing, and chopping. Slightly shorter than the standard chef's knife, a santoku is very easy to maneuver—even in a smaller kitchen. There's just enough belly curve to enable rocking cuts, which enhances the knife's versatility.