Gyoza is a kind of dumplings. And it’s one of the popular Japanese food. It consists of ground meat and/or vegetable fillings, and is wrapped in a thin dough. I love Gyoza, and often go to eat them with my friend. Here in Japan there are many restaurants which offer this yummy food. There are cities that are famous for Gyoza; Utsunomiya in Tochigi prefecture and Hamamatsu in Shizuoka prefecture. Moreover, in Tokyo also there are ward where Gyoza restaurants line up.


The History

Jiaozi (Chinese name of Gyoza) was thought to be developed in China during Spring and Autumn period (771 – 476 BC). Jiaozi in the valuable jar which was placed inside a tomb in the days of ancient China was found as a mummy. The above proves how long Jiaozi took root in China.
A similar food was eaten in ancient Mesopotamia civilization. So some people think that this kind of dumplings was introduced to India and China via the Silk Road.


Jiaozi came from China to Japan in Edo Period (1603 – 1868). And Mitsukuni Tokugawa (1628 – 1701) is thought to be the first person who ate Jiaozi. In the early Showa period (Showa period 1926 – 1989) Gyoza became a food that are eaten frequently. Since then it has gone through unique development in Japan. I think it’s not too much to say that this dish plays an important role in Japanese food culture.
Oddly enough, Japanese Gyoza is exported to China these days. And it is consumed as Japanese food.


The Shape

Generally speaking, Gyoza has a crescent-like shape.
There are several views about the source of this form. For example, this shape came from silver horseshoes used as currency, or tender ears.


The Differences

There are differences on Gyoza between China and Japan. This means that Japanese Gyoza proceed down its own independent path.

Gyoza is wrapped in a much thinner dough. Jiaozi is thicker and more chewy texture.

Spice & Seasoning
Japanese prefer rich garlic flavor. And Gyoza is seasoned with salt and soy sauce. Japanese usually eat them with soy-based sauce mixed with rice vinegar and/or chili oil.

The Style
Chinese mainly eat Boiled and Steamed dumplings. But Japanese prefer different cooking methods. Check below.

The Types
There are 3 types of Gyoza in Japan. And the most preferred one is Yaki Gyoza. Traditionally speaking this style of dumplings doesn’t exist, and is eaten as Japanese-style Jiaozi.

Pan Fried Gyoza (Yaki Gyoza)
Yaki Gyoza is very common in Japan. It is pan fried in a hot skillet.
In order to cook the inside well, and to make Gyoza soft and juicy, we use water vapor of a mixture of water and flour. On the other hand, this method creates a thin crispy bottom.
Hanetsuki Gyoza (Gyoza with wings) is a kind of Yaki Gyoza. This one has a lacy skirt (looks like wings) around the edges of dumplings.


Boiled Gyoza (Sui Gyoza)
I think there are two types of Boiled Gyoza. One is served with soup (like Gyoza Soup) and another is without soup. We eat boiled Gyoza (without soup) with not only soy sauce, but ponzu sauce (a mixture of soy sauce and citrus juice) and black vinegar.


Deep Fried Gyoza (Age Gyoza)
Compared with other styles of Gyoza, it’s not popular. But I love this Gyoza as well. Because this one is much crispy.


Nowadays many variations of Gyoza are developed. It seems that there are restaurants that serve Gyoza with unique/special fillings; Gorgonzola w/chicken, Onion Gratin. How about visiting several restaurants to explore your favorite Gyoza during your stay in Japan?

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