Last Updated: July 21, 2017
Before you start thinking about China’s supposed habit of “borrowing” ideas from others, it was actually the Japanese that borrowed this delightful dumpling known as Gyozas from the Chinese. The story of how jiao zi or potstickers 锅贴 arrived in Japan goes something like this:
“Japanese soldiers were exposed to Jiao Zi 饺子 during World War II when they were in Manchuria, which is in Northern China. Upon their return home, they remembered and sought to recreate the delicious dumplings they had eaten in China. The relationship between gyoza and jiao zi is such a close one that gyoza is actually the Japanese pronunciation of jiao zi!”
Gradually, Japanese gyoza recipes have tweaked themselves to cater to local preferences – the skin is usually thinner than Chinese potstickers, and the filling more finely textured and lightly flavoured. This is how the Japanese arrived at the mouthwatering recipe we see today, found in many Japanese restaurants especially Ramen restaurants, leaving many addicted to it.
So here are some places I’ve sampled to ease your gyoza addiction in Singapore, because you know I’ll never let you gyoza alone.
Homemade Meat Gyoza (6 for $6.20)
Not the crispy kind at all, Sushi Tei’s gyoza is of the soft, chewy variety. Though I’d appreciate it more if it had a charred bottom, the well marinated pork filling was a saving grace –light yet flavourful, juicy and with the occasional crunch from a medley of vegetables.
Those who prefer their gyozas with a lighter taste might like Sushi Tei’s version. But if you’re itching for jaw-dropping gyoza, this might fall short.
Sushi Tei: 50 Jurong Gateway Road, #03-18 JEM, Singapore 608549 | Tel: 66844013 | Website | Opening hours: 11.30am-10pm
Gyoza Croquette (2 for $8.00)
Technically not a true gyoza but I still have to give credit to The Public Izakaya’s creativity! As per its name, croquette gyoza, the gyoza filling of pork, onions and other goodies is packed tightly into a ball of poato, breaded and then deep fried.
These deep fried gyoza balls are breaded across evenly with an extremely fragrant crunchy skin. The filling though very generous, was overwhelmed with black pepper, so much so that it gradually loses the taste of gyoza. If they could work on reducing the peppery taste and channeling forth more gyoza flavour, it would be fantastic.
The Public Izakaya by 八: 100AM, 100 Tras Street, #01-09, Singapore 079027 | Tel: 66049622 |
UMA UMA gyoza ($8.00)
Very small, mini gyozas about 2” by 1” of 10, served neatly side by side. The filling is sweet, juicy and has a slightly more prominent taste of spring onions.
Interestingly, UMA UMA does not serve pork at all, so the gyozas’ filling is made of a combination of beef and chicken. The level of charred-ness though acceptable for me, might be too much for some people.
The taste also leans towards a heavier side. However, I quite enjoyed the taste of the “Pot” (锅) or charred-ness. Supplied from Japan, it’s not amazing but more than acceptable.
You can read our review on uma uma for more information.
UMA UMA: 9 Raffles Boulevard, #02-06, Millenia Walk, Singapore 039596 | Tel: 6837 0827 | Website
Sui Pork Gyoza (5 pcs for $6.80), Kani Gyoza (5 pcs for $7.80)
Being a specialty gyoza outlet, Burosu Honten at Emporium Shokuhin has a variety of gyoza flavours: Pork, Chicken, Wagyu Beef and Seafood. They also offer spicy gyozas, somewhat like Szechuan style wantons, where a spicy vinegary sauce is poured over the gyoza.
This simple sauce is made from shoyu, vinegar, layu (chili oil) and chili powder. I suppose wet or spicy versions of gyozas are rare because frankly, it’s my first time seeing a Japanese place offer a wet variety of gyoza.
The Spicy Pork Gyoza had juicy sweet pork filling but was quickly overpowered by the spicy vinegar sauce. The sauce tended to bury any taste from the gyoza.
Tried one of their signature gyozas – the seafood gyoza – and it was a catch indeed. Different from the usual gyozas that leaned to the saltier side, Burosu Honten’s Seafood gyoza was mainly sweet, with the natural sweetness coming from crab meat and shrimps generously wrapped in the skin.
Fresh finely chopped vegetables along with stringy crab meat and unevenly chopped shrimps gave the gyoza an intriguing texture atypical of our usual pork or chicken gyozas.
Good to visit if you want to try different gyoza flavours other than at Gyoza-ya.
Burosu Honten @ Emporium Shokuhin: Marina Square, 6 Raffles Avenue #01-18, Singapore 039594 | Tel: 62243433 | Website | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10pm
Gyoza (5pcs for $6.50)
Plump, juicy with good skin to filling ratio and a lovely charred bottom – ’nuff said. Plus points, heard their ramen is really good with QQ noodles, a tasty broth that isn’t sickeningly salty or overwhelming and generous portions of vegetables.
Baikohken: OneKM, 11 Tanjong Katong Road, #01-67/68, Singapore 437157 | Tel: 6702 2694 | Website | Opening Hours: 11:00am to 11:30pm
Gyoza (6pcs for $5.90)
A good place to conveniently satisfy your gyoza cravings, Men-ichi Japanese Ramen has both decent ramen and gyoza.
Their gyozas are lightly charred on one-side, then silky and chewy on the other side of the crescent. The gyozas here are definitely bigger than those of Ippudo, Sushi Tei and UMA UMA.
The filling inside is sufficiently juicy and flavourful, maintaining a great skin to filling ration. Although it may not be bombtastic, I think it is really good enough to satisfy your gyoza cravings. Since it has a few outlets around, it’ll be pretty easy to get to. The ramen set there is also pretty value for money so yeah why not.
Men-ichi Japanese Ramen: Jurong Point, #B1-53/54, 1 Jurong West Central 2 | Tel: 6794 5125 | Website | Opening Hours: 11:30am -10:00pm
Chabuton gyoza (8pcs for $6.00)
‘Intriguingly’ shaped gyozas flown in from Japan, Chabuton’s version was like cute little silk pouches with amazingly fragrant crispy bottoms. The top skin was as silky soft as a baby’s butt! Kidding, it had the texture of soup wantons- I actually could slurp their gyozas.
That was how impressed I was at their execution of this pan-fried gyoza; surely it isn’t easy to balance such silkiness and golden crispness.
Chabuton’s gyozas are much flatter than any gyozas I have seen so the filling is pretty minimal but still enjoyable.
The filling had very little meat and a lot of vegetables hence I almost felt like I was having a vegetarian gyoza but I’m not complaining because it was goooood. Fresh, sweet and just a tad gingery, Chabuton certainly placed vegetables as the main star of their gyoza dish.
So if you’re someone who does not fancy pork, Chabuton’s gyozas might be just the fit for you.
Osaka Ohsho gyoza, 6 for $3.90, 12 for $7.80
Osaka Osho’s gyozas are gorgeously bronzed on the bottom, giving that satisfying crispness and fragrance. These beautifully shaped crescents would leave you going back for one after the another as the filling is fresh, flavourful and resting just on the edge of not too sickening to down the whole plate.
Despite their bronzed bottoms, they aren’t that oily at all! So snack on them all you want without feeling too unhealthy.
Their gyozas are made fresh daily both filling – from garlic, cabbage, ginger, 3 types of pork meat – and skin – Osaka Ohsho’s special wanton wrapper made from imported Japanese flour. Quality and freshness assured.
However, the gyozas tend to stick together and their skin would end up tearing when pulled apart.
Osaka Ohsho: Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive, #03-09, Singapore 608532 |Tel: 6465 9383 | Website |
Yaki Gyoza, 5 for $9.00
Gyoza Bar is borne from the idea of pairing gyoza with alcohol, 2 great things that happen to be a match made in heaven. The overall concept of this place is to pair simple yet quality and delicious bites with good wine or champagne.
Their gyoza was like a minimalist version of all gyozas, with simply minced pork and celery for filling and a side of lemon as sauce. When I inquired about the absence of gyoza sauce, they told me their gyozas don’t need any vinegar or gyoza sauces ubiquitious in every gyoza place.
That is because there is no garlic in their gyozas; which, along with other strong pungent ingredients, is the reasons why gyoza sauce is need. Interesting!
The gyozas were generously stuffed with pork that is fresh and lightly seasoned, while the celery gave the gyoza its crunch. The lemon actually went really well with gyoza, as the citrus notes cut out any hint of possible gamey taste. As for the skin, there was crunch where crunch was due and silkiness where silkiness was due.
The gyozas are a match made in heaven with quality champagne or wine.
Subtle yet impressive, it was indeed a very satisfying plate of gyoza that I’d highly recommend.
Gyoza Bar: 7A North Canal Road, 2nd floor, Singapore 048820 | Tel: 8319 0875 (Mika Ito) | Website | Opening Hours: 18:00-23:30
Gyoza, 5 for $5.00
I am always skeptical about restaurants that name themselves after a dish because it tends to build up this expectation in me for that particular dish. But when it doesn’t taste any good, it’s double the disappointment.
Rant aside, I am glad to say Gyoza no Ohsho is worthy of their name for their gyozas are one of the best I’ve had. It is very charred and crispy on the bottom while smooth and chewy on other parts of the skin. The blackened underside is so crisp, it crackles when you bite through it.
The stuffings of pork and onions was juicy well-packed. The only issue is that the gyozas were a bit overseasoned but apart from that, it is tasty and pretty affordable given the central town location. A lovely communal restaurant to visit that offers jap-chinese style food at comforting prices.
Gyoza no Ohsho 餃子の王将: Cuppage Paza, 5 Koek Road, Singapore 228796 | Tel: 6735 7068 | Website |
Stepping inside this little bar counter restaurant, it feels almost as if you’re in Japan. You get up close and personal with the chefs as you sit at the long bar table surrounding the small kitchen, while you’re seated intimately with other patrons. Although the whole Chef’s table idea is only gaining popularity recently, it has already been going on in Japan.
Tonkotsu gyoza, 5 for $8.00
Though sitting arrangements might be a bit awkward, the gyoza chases the awkwardness away as you all just nod your heads and widen your eyes in disbelief at this heavenly creation of a gyoza.
Gyoza King’s gyoza is made daily everyday with a secret recipe that a Japanese chef had taught them (maybe the Yakuza since he was so secretive) according to the elusive chef who only unwillingly divulged that the gyoza included pork, cabbage, chives.
When asked what sets their gyoza apart, he finally willingly said ‘Soup!’. And after eating more than 10 different gyozas, I can tell you he is absolutely right.
Fresh tasty filling that oozes soup when you bite into the hot gyoza. There is no overly porky taste and the gyoza is felicitously seasoned, the kind you can keep devouring without being too sick or having the taste become too monotonous.
Also, they teach you how to mix gyoza sauce the Japanese way. Come for authentic and brilliant gyozas (whose recipe maybe from some Yakuza fam).
If you fancy having some sake, the sake bar just next door, Takeda Shoten, also from the Keisuke group, serves Gyoza King’s gyoza as sake accompaniment along with a variety of (overpriced) oden. C’mon Gyoza and Sake? That’s a hella great combination!
Gyoza King: 1 Tras Link #01-15 Orchid Hotel Singapore 078867 | Tel: 6604-6674 | Website
This article is purely motivated by the writer’s curiosity of the existence of other gyoza places better than Gyoza-Ya since that place did not live up to her personal expectations during her visit, possibly due to overly pampered or naive taste buds. This is in conflict with Seth’s personal experience.
Just because she doesn’t appreciate it doesn’t mean Gyoza-ya is bad. To each her own. Perhaps she’ll be convinced otherwise another day.