Dumplings are popular all over the world. The Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia – probably even Australia – have their own versions of dumplings. However, in Japan, you can find one variety that stands out from the rest. That is the variation known as gyoza, which are filled with ground meat and veggies. Let’s learn more about them!
First on our list of Japanese dumplings is a look at yaki gyoza. These are the pan-fried ones that you will probably see served in restaurants as an appetizer far more often than their cousins. They are fried in a hot skillet with water and cornstarch to give them their distinctive color and texture. This technique is intended to help steam the dumplings; that’s why the skin is soft while the bottoms are crispier. Once they are ready, these dumplings are served with the bottoms up, and you might also see some that some are still stuck together – this is known as hanetsuki gyoza, or gyoza with wings.
Sui gyoza are the boiled type. They often come with a light, clear broth that is almost invisible, one that you might recognize from miso soup. However, you can still find them at Chinese-restaurants and other establishments dedicated to dumplings.
Finally, let’s talk about age gyoza. These are deep-fried, but compared to the other types we have discussed here, are much rarer and, therefore, harder to find. Even so, you can order them at Chinese-restaurants and restaurants that specialize in serving gyoza. Just keep in mind you probably won’t be able to enjoy them anywhere else!
How to Eat Them
There is a fair bit of etiquette involved in eating any type of Asian cuisine. You should be aware of how to eat them and enjoy them without offending anyone you are eating with, especially while traveling in Japan! For instance, don’t stab them with your chopsticks, and don’t leave the chopsticks sticking straight up in the air.
You can order these treats at ramen shops, Chinese-restaurants, and izakaya – casual places akin to diners here in North America. Each order includes six dumplings and comes with a special sauce that is made right at your table. This condiment uses soy sauce and vinegar as its base. Then chili oil, or rayu, is added on top of that. In some cities around Japan, you can find other popular toppings such as bean sprouts, or alternative fillings like shrimp, cheese, and shiso leaves.
Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market
Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop-shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to serve our customers better. Since we opened in 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, please email us at LottePlaza.com.