Introduction to Japanese Food – Gyoza

Japanese Gyoza

Photo by Zeetz Jones on Flickr

Fried dumplings, pot stickers, call them what you will, you’ve probably had Japanese gyoza without even knowing it. Today we’re going to look at this delicious Japanese treat that you’ll find almost everywhere you look in Japan.

What is Gyoza

Gyoza is typically a ground meat and vegetable mix that is wrapped in a thin dough with the edges pinched together. It is this distinct oblong shape that differentiates it from wontons, although they are very similar.

There are different ways of preparing gyoza from boiling, to steaming or frying, but you’ll probably find the frying method is the most popular in Japan. It would be a rare izakaya restaurant that didn’t have these bad boys on the menu.

Gyoza is almost always served with a soya sauce based dipping sauce that can also include vinegar, garlic, ginger, rice wine, hot sauce, and sesame oil. Because they’re so easy to eat -just give them a little dip and then pop them into your mouth- you may find that you’ve eaten a lot more than you expected :)

Japanese gyoza

Photo by adactio on Flickr

Wikipedia describes about the Chinese origins of this Japanese cuisine:

The Japanese word Gyōza (ギョーザ, ギョウザ) was derived from the reading of 餃子 in the Shandong Chinese dialect (giaozi) and is written using the same Chinese characters pronounced with Japanese sounds. The selection of characters indicates that the word is of non-Japanese origin.

The most prominent differences of Japanese-style gyōza from Chinese style jiaozi are the rich garlic flavor, which is less noticeable in the Chinese version, and the fact that Japanese gyōza are very lightly flavored with salt, soy, and that the gyōza wrappers are much thinner.

How to Make Gyoza

The good news is, in Japan you’re probably only 30 feet away from delicious gyoza at any time day or night :) You’ll find them on plenty of menus as well as in almost every grocery and corner store.

How you prepare gyoza is completely up to you. They can be enjoyed cold right from the 7-11 package, warmed up in the microwave or heated in a frying pan. Of course, if you want to become a true gyoza expert, you’ll want to learn how to make your own.

As with most dumplings, hand making them is going to be a labour of love. They do take a bit of time to make and they’re eaten up so fast that you may start to wonder if the effort was worth it. But as with most home cooking, there’s something special about doing it yourself.

So how do you make gyoza? Well, this wouldn’t be an I Heart Japan food article if we didn’t have a little Cooking with Dog :)

So how addicted to gyoza are you? I don’t think we could go grocery shopping without picking up a pack :)

3 Responses to “Introduction to Japanese Food – Gyoza”

  1. sasksak  on December 18th, 2012

    i love gyoza and I love Cooking with Dog!

  2. Shani  on December 21st, 2012

    mmmm, my mouth waters looking at these!! yummy! I must make some soon!

  3. Mits  on December 28th, 2012

    So delicious!

    Just added this video to our site:

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