A crispy twist on a Chinese classic
Utsunomiya, a town in japan, is known for its love of gyoza. Gyoza is a type of dumpling that originated in China but has become a popular dish in Japan. What sets Utsunomiya’s gyoza apart is its thin and crispy wrapping. When fried, the wonton-like skins become delightfully crunchy, creating a satisfying contrast with the piping hot filling inside.
Utsunomiya proudly claims to be the gyoza capital of Japan, boasting over 200 shops dedicated to this beloved dish. With such a wide variety of gyoza available, visitors to Utsunomiya can dine out on gyoza for days without getting bored. The town’s obsession with gyoza is so strong that it even hosts an annual Gyoza Festival in November.
Don’t Miss: Sampling gyoza from various shops
One of the highlights of visiting Utsunomiya is the opportunity to sample gyoza from different shops. Each shop has its own unique take on the dish, offering a wide range of flavors and ingredients. While the traditional gyoza is made with ground pork, garlic chives, and mixed vegetables, Utsunomiya is not afraid to experiment with innovative variations. Some of the more unorthodox varieties include tonkatsu gyoza, which combines deep-fried pork cutlets with gyoza stuffing, truffle gyoza, and gyoza filling-stuffed chicken wings.
The gyoza shops in Utsunomiya take pride in their extensive menus, with some offering over 30 different varieties of gyoza. This allows visitors to explore the diverse flavors and find their personal favorites. Whether you prefer the classic gyoza or want to try something more adventurous, Utsunomiya has something to satisfy every palate.
Two of the best: Masashi and MinMin
While there are numerous gyoza shops in Utsunomiya, two establishments stand out as the best in town: Masashi and MinMin. Both shops have a loyal following and are known for their delicious gyoza.
Masashi is considered the classic Utsunomiya gyoza shop. It offers a simple menu with only two items: fried or boiled gyoza. The minimalist approach of Masashi has won over many fans who appreciate the restaurant’s fast service and focus on quality. The gyoza at Masashi is cooked to perfection, with the thin skins becoming wonderfully crispy when fried. To complement the gyoza, Masashi only serves water, allowing the flavors of the dumplings to take center stage.
On the other hand, MinMin takes a slightly more modern approach to gyoza. While still maintaining the thin skins and multi-piece sets that are characteristic of Utsunomiya gyoza, MinMin offers three different cooking methods: fried, boiled, and deep-fried. This variety allows diners to experience different textures and flavors. Additionally, MinMin has a wider selection of beverages, including beer, to accompany the gyoza.
Jazz up your dumplings at the Utsunomiya Gyoza Festival
For gyoza enthusiasts, the Utsunomiya Gyoza Festival is a must-visit event. Held annually on the first weekend of November at Utsunomiya Castle Park, the festival brings together more than 20 restaurants from across the city. These restaurants serve affordable three-piece gyoza plates, allowing visitors to try a variety of flavors without breaking the bank.
What makes the festival even more unique is the live jazz performances by local artists. Utsunomiya is also known for its vibrant jazz scene, and the combination of delicious gyoza and soulful music creates a memorable experience for attendees.
How to Get There
Utsunomiya is easily accessible by train. Gyoza shops are located throughout the town, with some of the most popular ones just a short walk from the station. Utsunomiya Castle Park, the site of the annual Gyoza Festival, is also conveniently located within a five-minute stroll from Tobu Utsunomiya Station.
In conclusion, Utsunomiya’s love for gyoza is evident in the vast number of gyoza shops and the annual Gyoza Festival. The town’s unique take on this Chinese classic, with its thin and crispy wrappings, has captured the hearts and taste buds of locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re a gyoza connoisseur or simply curious to try this delicious dish, Utsunomiya is the perfect destination to satisfy your cravings. So, why not embark on a gyoza adventure and discover the flavors of this crispy twist on a Chinese classic?
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