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What Is Gyoza?

The Delicious Japanese Dumplings

Have you ever had gyoza? Genuinely, gyoza is some of the most delicious foods I have ever tried and since I first tried them, I have not been able to get them out of my head. 

They are often served at sushi restaurants, as well as at teppanyaki places, and can be found served with dips such as soy sauce and sweet chili sauce. So, what exactly is gyoza? Why do people love gyoza so much? 

Gyoza or dumplings snack with soy sauce

In this article, we will be exploring just that with a deep-delve into the world of gyozas, what they are, the different types, how to serve them, and where you can eat them.

Gyoza: What is it? 

Gyoza is a delicious little snack that originated in Japan. This Japanese dish is basically a dumpling that has been fully stuffed with vegetables, and often ground meat such as chicken, duck, or pork. 

That being said, whilst these are called dumplings, they are far from the likes of the dumplings we have here in the United States. They are actually more like potstickers than the dumplings you know and love. 

What are potstickers, we hear you ask…well, potstickers are a Chinese dish that is also known as Chinese pan fried dumplings. They are plump little cases filled with minced veggies and meat and served as an appetizer or side. 

They became very popular here in Japan when soldiers stationed in Manchuria during world war two were fed them and loved them. This led to them coming back home to the to rave about them and recreate them. 

Gyozas are very similar to this but are often smaller in size and with thinner dumpling cases or skin. This means that they can get crispier. There is often more flavor used on them, too, such as garlic.

The different types of gyoza

There are three main types of gyoza that are enjoyed by people worldwide. All of the recipes remain the same or at least very similar. It is just the way that they are cooked that changes. 

Of course, the way that you eat gyoza is up to you, and it will fully depend on your personal preference. There is a method to suit everyone. The three most popular are: 

Deep fried

Fried Gyoza
Fried Gyoza

These are also known as Age Gyoza. They are as crispy as they come as they have been deep fried. For many people, this is too crispy for gyoza, and people do not tend to make them this way at home. You will, instead, typically find these at a Chinese restaurant. 

Pan fried

Pan fried gyoza, or Yaki Gyoza, as they are also known, is by far the most widely known method of cooking gyoza. It is quick, easy, and super tasty. They get pan fried in a skillet with cornstarch and water. This allows the inside of the gyoza to be soft but allows the outside to be crisp and tasty. 

Boiled 

Boiled gyoza is somewhat underrated in my opinion. They do not get the credit they deserve because they are not as crispy and do not have the same golden brown appearance as their fried counterparts. 

That being said, boiled gyozas are equally delicious with their tender skins and soft juicy insides. They are often served in a light but flavorful broth. 

What about that delicious gyoza sauce? 

Gyoza sauce is one of the best parts of gyoza. Technically, gyoza can be dipped into any sauce you want, but it is most common to see them with a soy sauce-based condiment or with a specific sauce known as Ponzu. 

gyoza with ponzu sauce

The soy sauce-based dip is typically soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. If you would prefer Ponzu you can make this too. 

Ponzu sauce is citrus based and can be made without the use of soy sauce, making it suitable for those trying to avoid it. However, it still has that wonderful umami flavor thanks to the mirin, rice vinegar, katsuobushi, kombu, and citrus fruits (usually yuzu or lime and lemon together if you cannot find yuzu). 

Umami is something that is so important in Japanese cuisine. Soy sauce is one of the main umami flavors, as is Worcestershire sauce and tamarind. Umami, if you don’t know, is a flavor profile that is used to describe something sweet, sour, and savory, all at the same time. 

As well as dipping your gyoza into this sauce, you can also pour the leftovers over any other meals you are eating alongside it such as noodles. 

Gyoza is often served on a bed of shredded veggies, including carrots, cabbage, and even pickled ginger. You should dip these veggies into your sauce. 

Where and when to eat gyoza 

Gyoza can be served both as a main meal and as a side dish. You may find it as a main course at large family gatherings, or perhaps as an okazu, which is basically a side dish. Some people may even eat gyoza as a sort of starter course before they have their main. 

You will also find gyoza as a popular meal accompaniment at ramen restaurants, sushi joints, and izakaya (this means a bar or a pub). They are super easy to eat and so they work well as finger food and appetizers at many different eateries and social places. 

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Written by Erin B.

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.