Anatomy of a Gyoza - The varieties you might find

Where to find Gyoza

More GyozaQuest Adventures

Lent or Lentils

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The Actual Quest for Good Gyoza

The importance of dining, versus simply just eating.

Food has transcended a mere survival instinct

Myth has it that Siddartha gained control over his hunger through fasting. Legend has it that he fasted for days. In the end by showing that he had conquered his hunger, that he no longer was constrained by his desire for food, could he find what he was seeking. This was only one step on his path to nirvana.

By the fact that humans dine, and sit around and ponder the significance of a meal together.

Dining is an indication of the civility. Life together is eathing together. Yet there's probably a historical truth to this.

Feed a dog the same thing, day after day, and he'll probably be one happy pup. Vary his diet too much and he'll become finicky, poorly nourished, agitated, antisocial, if not one sick puppy. The act of feeding him scraps from your dinner table, is less for his health and more a socialization process so that he becomes part of your family.

Feed a person the same thing day after day, and you're more than likely to drive them nuts. This isn't quite the forum for discussing how bad, or good the food in your dorm cafeteria is. I don't think this is what they meant by "Man does not live by bread alone."

Although I did have a friend who tried this and ate the same thing, day after day, after day.

He ate tuna sandwiches every day, for a month. Perhaps it was a message to help him where he took a food he liked, and at the same thing more or less for a month. The point was to prove to himself that he was not driven by his hunger, so he didn't have to think about what he was going to eat for dinner that night. Somehow through this he would transcend his obsession with food, thus showing that he is above his hunger. And through it he did have more time to focus on his job and his studies. And as a doctor going through residency, in particular a doctor who specialized in the digestive process I would assume that he did know what he was doing. Somehow this got out of hand and people started to think that he did it for like six months or so. And then there's his obsession with tuna fish.

Amidst a culture of abundance. A place where hope lies that all your desires can be fulfilled.

Are we the masters of our desires? Or do our desires control our lives?

Gyoza, elegantly simple, yet capable of amazing diversity.

A Christian Perspective:

Christians Celebrate communion. In the biblical times Communion was actually a meal, instead of a scrap of bread and a little bit of grape juice. Passover is a similar holiday, yet it's a full fledged meal. I've heard Passover called "Jewish Thanksgiving." Thus it's ritualized. I wouldn't be so bold as to compare a potsticker to the body of Christ.

   Yet, in every culture there's a small food, a bit of starch surrounding an edible center.

Gyoza, Suijiao, Mandoo, Wonton, pot stickers, dumplings.

I suppose you might even call them small sandwiches.

Pan fried, deep fat fried, baked, boiled, steamed, bbq'd, grilled.

From street food, purchased hot from a vendor in a cart, to eaten in an open air food court, heated up in a microwave at a convenience store, to served on a plate over a bed of fine lettuce at the finest restaurants. They transcend issues of class.

So in any cases, if you're looking for good gyoza, here's two places to start:

     I'm not going to give any advice on how to find these places. You can find your own places or make your own. In addition you're free to contact me with suggestions, or your own take on these deceivingly simple, yet delectable indulgent little culinary treasures.

Tetsunabe -

     This is a pretty famous place in Kyushu, Japan. During one of my trips to Japan, a co-worker and I went to this cheap little joint. Go for the gyoza. To our surprise, we finished off dozens of these pan fried little delights.

This is the gyoza by which all other gyoza are measured.

The gold standard for Chinese potstickers, of course they're steamed but that's not really too much of an issue.


Din Tai Fung -

     This is a famed Taipei dumpling house that specializes in Shanghai-style dumplings--pleated pillows filled with rich broth and minced meats such as pork and crab. With the first bite, the juicy pork dumplings burst with piping-hot broth, and the gently flavored meat is steamed to perfection inside a fragile pasta skin. If your tongue gets singed after a few nibbles, order the less accident-prone non-juicy dumplings. The crescent-shaped vegetable dumplings are loaded with minced greens, and pork dumplings are crowned with little shrimp.

     You can find outlets in such fine cities as Taipei, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and of course that hotbed of Chinese cuisine, Arcadia!

In addition Gyoza, Japanese style.

Ever do this before. Go into a sushi restaurant, with three people. Order one plate of gyoza.
Then go to another Japanese restaurant and do the same. Don't order anything else, no matter how tasty the ramen looks.Go to a korean bbq, and order one plate of mandoo. Go to a chinese restaurant and order pan fried potstickers. Repeat till people start looking at you funny.
Thus, on a Monday night, GyozaQuest continues. I'm too old for that kind of silly stuff.
Plus I think they're going to forever ban us from Little Osaka (in LA, and only in LA, so you don't get it confused with Little Tokyo) But if you get a chance the food is on the whole a little bit less expensive and more plain on a section of Sawtell avenue. Japanese style, even having a great little bakery, which typifies the French style cafes that you'd find in Tokyo. Even serving the Japanese style diner food (spaghetti anyone)

Art Sushi

We Started our quest at a place called Art Sushi, a nice little place. Actually we started out at a place called FuiRaiBo, but they didn't have Gyoza, and I thought it strange for a Japanese snack restauraunt.

In any case we walked in, looked around, saw that it was a sushi restauraunt, saw they had gyoza om the menue and then we ordered two plates of these things.

They were decried, as they tasted like they'd taken a frozen mandoo, and put it in the deep fat fryer. Not a great start to a long quest.

Average Grade 3 out of 10

Asahi Ramen

A little bit better at least these had discernable meat in them. The ramen shop looked good, plus the pickles were a nice touch. My partner thought these were cooked perfectly. Plus you got seven of them for $3

Then there's gyoza sauce, what goes in good gyoza sauce. hmm vinegar, chili oil, soy sauce, pepper, onions, etc...

Average Rating 6 out of 10

Another Ramen house.

These were actually my favorite. I think the presentation and the effect were ideal. Although the filling seemed non-standard, having chives, broccoli and other vegetables. We thought it might be a little bit more meaty, but for the most part it typifies what makes a good gyoza.

Average Rating 7 out of 10

Buddhas Dream

Ah, another non-ramen house trying to make gyoza. Appearance wise, as you can see they looked a little bit flat. Taste wise they did

They did a pretty good job, although the presentation could use a little work. This is fusion cuisine mind you so you'd expect they'd have their take on this kind of thing. Their gyoza weren't bad, in the photo they look kind of soggy and wilted.

Average Rating 5 out of 10

The fusion gyoza

Of course - Buddhas Dream being an Asian fusion restauraunt, does have it's take on this stuff. I thought the combination was very intriguing. Papaya salsa, served on a spinach filled gyoza, served cold of course as well. Cilantro and fish sauce compliment the delicacy. But at $6.95 for six gyoza!

No rating given.


Updated 7.2.2003