by Devon Sponheimer
Originating in China, the gyoza is now a staple in Japanese cuisine. Pan-fried (yaki), boiled (sui) or deep-fried (age) you can’t just eat one of these tasty little dumplings. Today we are taking a lot at this delectable Japanese dumpling, it’s origins, as well as how you can make your own!
Okay, let’s get down to history; Gyoza came to Japan in the 1940’s after WWII and they’ve really embraced it! Typically made with pork, you can also add a variety of different meats and vegetables. Gyoza is so popular that Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications tracks which Japanese city consumes the most gyoza.
Constantly battling for the top spots are:
Utsunomiya, capital of Tochigi
For 20 years, this city has been known as the “City of Gyoza”. This city boasts over 200 different gyoza-themed eateries, and two gyoza themed statues (one – a stylised Venus emerging from a gyoza instead of a clam; and the other, a friendly gyoza mascot inviting you to take a bite from his head. *Please don’t bite the statues head, as tasty as he may look.)
Hamamatsu of Shizuoka Prefecture
Hamamatsu in fact beat out Utsunomiya in 2012 for the top gyoza consumption in Japan. Hamamatsu serves up gyoza with a side of bean sprouts to compliment the flavour and help you eat as many gyoza as possible!
Both cities -- of course -- have a gyoza festival.
Gyoza Theme Park!
If you weren’t convinced yet how popular this dish is, Namco will help clarify (Yes, THAT Namco). At Namjatown in Tokyo, you can visit Gyoza Stadium. Here you will find an area themed as old Tokyo Alleys from the 1950’s, with winding hallways full of different stands selling varieties of gyoza from all over Japan. With more than 100 different varieties of gyoza to try, even the most dedicated gyozafile will be up for a challenge to try all of them in one sitting.
In addition to Gyoza Stadium, it features games, attractions and Fukubukuro Dessert Yokocho – a dessert café with some crazy ice cream flavors.
Note: All attractions in Namjatown are in Japanese only.
If you’re as obsessed with gyoza as we are, check it out in Sunshine City in Ikebukuro.
- Location: Sunshine City - 2F 3-1-3 Higashi-Ikebukuro Toshima 170-0013, Tokyo Prefecture.
- Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 with the last entry at 21:00.
- Admission: 500Y Entry to the park, 3000Y for unlimited rides and reduced to 2000Y after 17:00.
JR: Use the Tobu Tojo line, Seibu Ikebukuro line or the Yamanote Line to Ikebukuro Station then it’s a an 8 minute walk to Sunshine City.
Tokyo Metro: 3 minute walk from the Higashi-Ikebukuro Station
Toden Arakawa line: 4 minute walk from the Higashi-Ikebukuro-chrome Station.
Still haven’t gotten enough gyoza? Here’s how to make your own at home!
Okay, I’m sure you have all built up an appetite and urge for some delicious gyoza in your life quicker than you can get to Gyoza Stadium right now. Don’t fret, follow below and make some delicious gyoza right now at home!
Yaki (pan-fried) Shrimp and Pork Gyoza with Ginger Soy Sauce
Makes: 24 dumplings
Okay, first up is making the ginger soy sauce
Ginger Soy Sauce
Get together the following measurements of ingredients-
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (You’ll need to grate some of the ginger, not all)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
OPTIONAL: A few drops (or more) of chili oil if you’re feeling like you want some heat!
Whisk all ingredients together until sugar dissolves. Let sit.
Now it’s time to make the star of the meal: the Shrimp and Pork Gyoza!
Shrimp and Pork Gyoza
Get together the following measurements of ingredients:
280-300 grams of minced (ground) pork
1 cup chopped, peeled and deveined shrimp
1 ¼ cups minced green onion (both green and white parts!)
1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 large egg, slightly beaten
Salt and Pepper to taste
24 round gyoza or wonton wrappers
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup water
Flour for dusting
Now lets get gyozing!
Making the Gyoza:
First, place pork and shrimp in a large mixing bowl.
Add green onion, ginger, rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and egg. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Gently but thoroughly mix all ingredients.
Dust a little flour on a shallow tray or baking sheet.
Put about 2 teaspoons of the mixture in the center of the gyoza wrapper.
With the water, use your finger to moisten the outside of half of the wrapper and fold into a beggar’s purse or half moon shape.
Press ½ of the wrapper together to close, then the other half taking care to press out any air to firmly seal the gyoza.
Place sealed gyoza on the lightly floured tray and proceed making the rest of the dumplings.
If you’re feeling like getting through these faster, they do sell gyoza molds to press your dumplings into perfect uniform shapes.
Cooking the Gyoza
Once the Gyoza are complete, heat up a skillet with vegetable oil to medium heat. Add the gyoza. Here’s the important part: DON’T MOVE THEM until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, this should take a few minutes.
Once this is done, add water, cover and reduce to a simmer. This will finish cooking and steam the dumplings.
Cook until all of the water has evaporated and dumplings are fully cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes. Squishy on the top, crispy on the bottom: Serve immediately with the tasty dipping sauce!
And now you have a great gyoza recipe, that is easy to make, and fairly quick to whip up whenever your have a gyoza withdrawal at home.