[food]* Adapted from the Chinese dumpling but now quintessentially Japanese, the humble pan-fried gyoza has become a staple dish of the nation.
Like its Chinese relative, a flour skin is wrapped and folded around filling then cooked. Variations abound and gyoza are served both pan-fried and boiled and with a variety of fillings, though pork, cabbage and chives are common ingredients.
Expect these to run around ¥500 per set of six. These are common as a side-dish in ramen and chuka-ryori restaurants, though "specialist shops" for gyoza also exist.
The earliest record of gyoza in Japanese history actually dates back to the early Edo period, when the daimyo and food enthusiast Tokugawa Mitsukuni learnt of the dish from Zhu Shun Shui, a visiting Chinese scholar. However, the gyoza of this period remained faithful to the Chinese archetype, boiled and with thick skin.
The form we know and love today actually comes from the post-war period, when the Manchurian method of preparing gyoza by pan-frying with thin skin was taken to Japan. Popularised together with ramen and chuka-ryori, it now ranks as one of the most recognisable dishes in Japan.
Gyoza will likely be available as a side-dish in any ramen or chuka-ryori restaurant. Several places are also "famous" for gyoza, and will have speciality shops which specifically serve gyoza.
Some of these places are listed below: I'll update this list as I go along.
Getting there: 15 min. walk from JR Utsunomiya station (Shonan Shinjuku Line)
So definitively Japanese you just have to try it. But honestly, if it's well-done gyoza - bite-sized, crisp on the outside, hot and juicy on the inside - what's not to love? ♥♥♥♥
Tried gyoza? (Please say yes.) Love them or hate them? Any particularly good places for them? Comment below or Twitter / twitter.com/foodjapan