If you're cooking with a mediocre knife, you don't know what you're missing until you use one that's really top-notch. It's a whole different game. Shun makes some of the highest-quality cutlery, and its new Hiro Santoku will have you slicing like a pro.
This 7-inch blade is not for the casual cook. At $US350 it's definitely an investment, but if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you'll find it worthwhile. All of Shun's knives are handmade in Japan, with a design that is optimised for speed and sharpness. Formed for comfort and agility, the handle feels like it was custom-fitted for you. If you could lust after something you use to dice tomatoes, this would be it. But it's actually several knives rolled into one; it can chop and slice, and it works as a cleaver as well.
This heavy-duty piece of metal was also built to last, with a steel core and 65 outer layers that alternate between nickel and stainless steel. Though most seasoned chefs usually get very technical with separate blades for different tasks, If you're only going to buy one knife, this should be it.