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Japanese food – ‘Gyoza’

By: Floro Mercene

Gyoza is a traditional Chinese food, the Chinese Jiaozi dumpling. The Jiaozi is one of the most commonly eaten food items in China.

The Jiaozi was invented in China almost 2,000 year ago to help people suffering from the cold weather, particularly those who were so cold that their ears were freezing . He crafted a food designed to raise people’s body temperatures and he decided to make it in the shape of ears. While people did not place these delicious boiled dumplings directly to their ears, the warm food helped raise their body temperature, thus helping them with their freezing ears.

It was said that Japanese who were in Northeastern China (formerly called Manturia) learned the jiaozi, and developed it to the Japanese taste.

Gyoza spread throughout Japan after World War II. Since then, gyoza has developed in its own way, penetrating Japanese food culture.

Today, Gyoza filling is generally ground pork laced with nira (a Japanese chive), garlic, ginger, and cabbage. They are commonly pan fried, crisp and brown underneath, moist and meaty inside. Gyoza could be steamed, deep fried, or simply boiled in a very light broth. Gyoza is usually eaten with a dipping sauce made at the table of equal amount of soy sauce and vinegar. A bit of chili oil (rayu) is also commonly added.

Gyoza has been a side dish in Japan. In the past, gyoza always played a subsidiary role. They were what you ordered while you decide what you really want to eat, or while waiting for the main course. But now, younger generations can enjoy gyoza in trendy bars, with non-traditional fillings and sauces, paired with Champagne, European wines, and fancy Japanese sake.

“Gyoza bars” are popular in Paris, London, and other cities.