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What is Gyoza?



Table of Contents

  1. The Origin of Gyoza

  2. Did you know? Steam-fried Gyoza is Japan’s Original!

  3. How to make basic gyoza

  4. Homemade vs. Specialty Restaurant

  5. Go local! Visit Gyoza town and try local gyoza!

  6. Management of Gyoza restaurants with high profit margin

  7. Summary


1. The Origin of Gyoza

The origin of Gyoza in Japan is said to be a simple dumpling in mainland China. Fossils thought to be the oldest ancient dumplings have already been found in the ruins of the ancient Mesopotamian civilization around 3000 BC.

We assume that they already cooked and ate dumplings in China around the same time and that they were then introduced to India and then to neighboring countries.


In China, gyoza (called jiaozi in Chinese) is commonly cooked and eaten boiled. In the northern areas, the wrapper/skin is thicker and mostly boiled, while in the southern regions, they are usually eaten as small steamed or soup dumplings made into bite-sized pieces.



2. Did you know? Steam-fried Gyoza is Japan’s Original!

Gyoza, a favorite of all Japanese people, from children to adults, is one of Japan's indispensable dishes at Chinese restaurants and Ramen shops. It has become such a popular dish that specialty gyoza restaurants and gyoza izakayas(Japanese sake bar and dining).


Although gyoza is now well and truly accepted as a "Japanese food," you be surprised to know that it was not until after World War II that gyoza became popular in Japan. It is said that the Japanese style of yaki-gyoza (steam-fried style) was first introduced by a Japanese soldier who traveled to Northern mainland China when he returned to his hometown in Japan from China after World War II.


The present style of yaki-gyoza, in which raw gyoza is first steamed and then fried in the same pan, was born in Japan after WW II and took root in this country. The skin of yaki- gyoza is very crispy, and when you take a bite, juice from filling spreads to your mouth.


It is said that garlic was added to gyoza in the city of Fukuoka located in the north of Kyushu, the southernmost of the four major Japanese islands, where coal mining was flourishing, giving mine workers a stamina boost, and then spread throughout Japan.


In China, as an auspicious dish for New Year's and other occasions, they are often shaped like a round or purse to bring good fortune, and the folds of the skin are to approximate the shape of money and are molded. The folds of the skin are molded to resemble the shape of a coin.


Gyoza is so popular that it is called the national dish of Japan. Since you are going to great lengths as a pro, let's learn the various ways of cooking gyoza, such as boiled gyoza, soup gyoza, steamed gyoza, and fried gyoza.



3. How to make basic gyoza


Fillings

1) Finely chop cabbage or Chinese cabbage and squeeze out the water. Cut Nira(Chinese chives) into small pieces. Put minced meat and seasonings into a bowl, mix well, and add cabbage(or Chinese cabbage) and Nira(Chinese chives).


2) Place the minced meat mixture from step 1) on the gyoza skin, wet the edges with water, fold it in two, and wrap it up with the folds.

Place the gyoza in a frying pan with salad oil over medium heat. Pour boiling water into the pan, cover with a lid, and steam fry until most water evaporates. Then open the lid, pour some sesame oil, and pan-fry until the bottoms get golden brown and crispy. Place it on the plate and enjoy with soy sauce, vinegar, and chili oil dipping sauce.


Home-made Skin(Wrapper)

Pre-made Gyoza skins are sold in many countries worldwide, but if you make skins at home, you can make them just the way you like them in sizes, thickness, and texture.

1) Add water to flour little by little, and when it starts to come together, knead it thoroughly until the surface becomes smooth, then wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

2)Shape the dough into a stick, cut it into small pieces, and then roll it out into a circle about 7 cm in diameter. Make the center a little thicker to prevent tearing and make it easier to wrap.

The above is a sample recipe. The seasonings, ingredients used, and proportions vary from specialty restaurants and can be differentiated. There are also various methods of cooking(frying, steaming, with wings, and so on), which can make a big difference in presentation and texture, so be creative.



4. Japanese homemade Gyoza vs. Specialty Restaurant

Gyoza has become a typical dish that you can easily prepare at home. In Japan, you can purchase various gyoza skins at ordinary supermarkets, including those made of rice flour, low-carbohydrate versions, and of multiple sizes and thicknesses. Depending on the home or specialty store, there are a variety of flavors, ingredients, skins, and ways to bake and sauces. Prices range from as low as US$1.80 for a plate of five dumplings to as high as with a US$45 for a plate at some dumpling stores, where the dumplings are made with a whole lobster.


A variety of innovative gyoza and restaurants specializing in unique gyoza have emerged recently in Japan, including gyoza with a surprising visual impact, gyoza made with unexpected ingredients, and gyoza with vivid colors that are sure to be Instagram-worthy. Also, in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2021, six gyoza restaurants were lined up in the "Bib Gourmand" category. Would you please check out https://guide.michelin.com/jp/en/tokyo-region/tokyo/restaurant/for further information?

However, the basic perception of gyoza among Japanese people is that it is tasty, cheap, and easy to eat food. Japanese people probably agree that homemade gyoza at home and gyoza at specialty restaurants have an irresistible appeal. Many people order gyoza from specialty stores all over the country via the Internet. We encourage you to research and develop a variety of ingredients that perfectly match the tastes and food trends of the people in your country and variations of sauce to create your own unique and best gyoza.

(The photo shows the queue at Gyoza Hyobu, Gion, Kyoto)



5. Go local! Visit Gyoza towns and try local gyoza!

The two most famous cities for Gyoza are Utsunomiya City and Hamamatsu City in Shizuoka Prefecture. In Utsunomiya, many restaurants that specialize in gyoza have long lines of customers.


Utsunomiya gyoza is characterized by the use

of Chinese cabbage and Nira in the filling and the high ratio of vegetables and light flavor. Hamamatsu Gyoza, which competes with Utsunomiya for the top spot, is characterized by cabbage, pork, and onions in the filling, which gives the vegetables a sweeter taste. Another feature of Hamamatsu gyoza is that boiled bean sprouts are served with the gyoza as a palate cleanser.


There are many local gyozas all over Japan, and each region has its unique characteristics. The " White Gyoza," said to have originated in Chiba Prefecture, is made by wrapping ingredients in thick skins and deep-fried; the Hakata Gyoza, which spread from food stalls and is called " Bite-size Gyoza" for its bite-size size; the Kobe Gyoza, which is served with miso-based sauce; the "Disk Gyoza" from Fukushima Prefecture, in which the Gyoza is laid out in a round shape to fit the shape of the frying pan and then turned over to be served. The "Tsu Gyoza" of Tsu City, Mie Prefecture, where the gyoza filling is wrapped in the skin as large as 15 centimeters in diameter and fried in oil. It would be fun to travel all over Japan to eat out local Gyoza. (Photo: The round "White Gyoza” and a typical “Utsumoniya Gyoza”)



6. Management of Gyoza restaurants with high profit margin

It is not an exaggeration to say that gyoza is the national dish of Japan. The advantages of running a gyoza restaurant include short preparation and cooking time, freedom to experiment with ingredients, crusts, original recipes, easy access to inexpensive ingredients, less waste, higher profit margins than other food products, relatively low capital investment, and low opening costs.


In addition, there are advantages such as relatively low capital investment and low opening costs. It is one of the most attractive businesses that can increase profit margins depending on how you operate, such as a take-out specialty store, mechanization of preparation and shaping, etc.


7. Summary

We hope you can now understand how dumplings originated in China, came to Japan, and developed into Gyoza in Japan, becoming the national dish. JCI is the only place where you can learn about gyoza's simple yet profound world in a very specialized way and explore its many possibilities!

In addition to gyoza, you can learn about Japanese Yo-shoku, dishes born in Western countries but have undergone notable changes in Japan.

Stau tuned!