Much like ramen, gyoza is a dish with Chinese origins that the Japanese have taken to their hearts. Typically filled with ground pork, chives, green onion, cabbage, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil, these little dumplings can be fried or boiled, but are almost always delicious, not to mention incredibly moreish.
However, as well as the traditional way of making gyoza, many restaurants have come up with innovative and fabulous recipes, and the best and brightest will be gathering in Nagoya to compete for the crown of the gyoza king or queen.
All Japan Gyoza Festival
The All Japan Gourmet Festival is a staple of the Golden Week attractions at Nagakute’s Moricoro Park with over 100,000 visitors every year, but this year it is branching out into Silver Week for a gyoza themed special.
The event aims to continue the reputation of gyoza’s rise from that of a salaryman’s staple to that which everyone can enjoy. From the 15th to the 17th of September, competitors from across the country will come together in the hope of winning the event.
What this means is that throughout the park, from the deep-fried gyoza of Mie Prefecture to the black ink pork gyoza from Kagoshima, or the happy gyoza from Bhutan, there are over two dozen amazing dishes for you to sample, as you step from counter to counter, filling yourself on the delicious dumplings (and you will, I did mention that they are very moreish).
If you are new to the gyoza game, it is best to head for any stalls from Utsunomiya and Hamamatsu, Tokai region’s moist famed gyoza capitals. However, pretty much anywhere you try is likely to be mouthwatering as these guys are the brightest and best in Japan’s gyoza world.
- Where: Moricoro park, Nagakute-shi, (map)
- When: 15 – 17 September 2018
- Admission: 500 JPY
- Website: gyozamatsuri.jp
Gyoza in Nagoya
If you can’t make it out there, but you still have a craving for gyoza, the festival is not the only place to get it in Nagoya. Here is a handful of some of Nagoya’s best.
Gyoza no Osho
You can find this restaurant chain from Osaka all around Nagoya, and with ‘gyoza’ in the name, it should be good. And it is.
Cheap, cheerful, and always bustling, the gyoza here is of the classic, standard variety, and you can’t go wrong.
- Where: All over the city
- Website: www.ohsho.co.jp
Taiwanese in theme, Misen is a Nagoya institution. You perhaps know it for its spicy Taiwan ramen, but no self-respecting Nagoyan would tackle a bowl of the ramen without the gyoza on the side.
Perhaps one of the most morish gyozas in the city.
- Where: Imaike, Meieki, Yaba-cho, Nagoya Station
- Website: misen.ne.jp
Named after the Tibetan word for Mt. Everest, Zhumulangma (or Chomoranma in Japanese) hits the heights of gyoza experimentation.
They have a huge selection, but perhaps the best is either the niku niku (double meat) gyoza or the refreshing pakuchi (cilantro) gyoza, both of which are out of this world.
If you want a proper, classic gyoza experience, Hyakuroutei in Osu is the place to go. Here there are four different ways that you can enjoy the delightful dumplings: pan-fried, in water, in egg soup, and in a soup made from the water in which the gyoza was cooked.
Having been in the business for over 40 years, Karitto Gyoza does things a little bit differently.
Here the speciality is large fried gyoza balls that are ‘kari-kari-mochi-mochi’ (roughly meaning crispy but soft and chewy). You don’t get gyoza like this anywhere else.