It’s believed that gyoza came from China, and then the recipe has been modified following Japanese taste (adding garlic flavor, for example). The principal ingredients of the most traditional gyoza are minced pork, cabbage, sesame oil, garlic and ginger, which are mixed together and then wrapped in a gyoza skin. They usually are fried or boiled, but the ingredients and the cooking methods have differentiated very much from the past, so now you can taste different gyoza types. But don’t worry, no matter which taste you try, if it’s about Utsunomiya gyoza you’ll never be disappointed. Utsunomiya is in fact very proud of its gyoza fame, and it’s the best area to taste good gyoza. So here is a list of 10 restaurants in Utsunomiya specialize in gyoza to enjoy your dumpling experience!
1. Utsunomiya Minmin (宇都宮みんみん)
This is certainly one of the most famous Utsunomiya gyoza restaurants, and the huge crowd during the weekend proves it. The founder took inspiration by Pechin gyoza’s taste, and tried to recreate the same flavor adapting the recipe to the Japanese taste. Here you can have grilled, fried or boiled gyoza, usually served in 6 pieces portions. Set menus are also available and include three portions of gyoza and rice, for a pretty cheap price. So why have just 6, when you can have 18 without spending even ¥1,000?
Address: 4-2-3 Baba street Utsunomiya City
Price: 1 portion of gyoza ¥248, set menu ¥853
Website: http://www.minmin.co.jp/index.php (Japanese Only)
2. Utsunomiya Gyoza-kan (宇都宮餃子館)
Gyoza-kan offers to its customers an outrageous variety of gyoza flavors, one more delicious than the other! Here you can find the Stamina Kenta dumplings, with punch inside for a quick recover from any kind of fatigue, or very juicy vegetable gyoza. There are also cheese, garlic, shiso leaf, spicy, mushrooms and so other flavors to choose… Can you really decide on just one of them? With one of the available set menus you may have some chance to experiment more than one flavor, and satisfy your tongue!
Address: 5-4 Miyazonocho, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi-ken
Price: from ¥1,000 to ¥3,600 for set menu
Website: https://www.gyozakan.jp/ (Japanese Only)
3. Ganso Umaiya (元祖宇味家)
Other than the three normal types of gyoza (fried, grilled and boiled), Ganso Umaiya is also specialized in deep fried dumplings, that become super crispy on the outside by using panko and gains in flavor. This restaurant also offers a lot of online coupon tickets that may vary day by day, and you can print them and just show them to the counter to receive free drinks and more!
Address: 1-35-10 Yamamoto, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi prefecture
Price: from ¥360 for a portion of 6 fried dumplings
Website: http://www.umaiya.jp/point/index.html (Japanese Only)
4. Masashi (正嗣)
This is a long-established store, with more than 50 years of love and attention to always offer best quality dumplings to its customers. Masashi’s gyoza has a particularly thin skin and are usually full of vegetables, perfect for those who want to eat healthy food without losing on the taste. Masashi is a completely dumplings specialized restaurant, so it doesn’t serve anything but gyoza, nor even beer or rice.
Address: 4-3-1 Baba street, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi prefecture
Price: ¥210 for a portion of 6 dumplings
Website: http://www.ucatv.ne.jp/ishop/masashi/index.html (Japanese Only)
5. Kouran (香蘭)
One of Kouran’s firm is its thick skin gyoza, opposite to Masashi’s ones. The most recommended dumplings for this restaurant are the boiled gyoza, filled with gentle and juicy flavor and perfect for winter, to chill in a comfortable atmosphere. This store is also pretty crowded on weekends, but they sell a lot of frozen products too in its online shop. There are even the instructions to eat gyoza in the right way printed on the shop walls, so you just can’t do it wrong!
Address: 1-24 Honcho Utsunomiya Tochigi
Price: ¥250 for a portion of 6 dumplings
Website: http://gyouzakouran.com (Japanese Only)
6. Aogen (青源)
Adding the possibility to buy online frozen products and recreate the Aogen restaurant’s taste at home, Aogen made a very good business satisfying a large range of customers. With its 300 years of activity producing miso, this restaurant’s credo is to share generation to generation the traditional techniques to recreate everyday gyozas which have just the same authentic flavor of the past.
Address: Usunomiya Station Bldg. Paseo 1F, 1-23 Kawamukocho, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi-ken
Price: ¥350 for a portion of 6 dumplings
Website: http://www.aogen.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
7. Chuka Tonton (中華トントン)
They serve big dumplings so even a 5 pieces portion is guaranteed to make you full and satisfied. Here you can find vegetable, meat and shrimp gyoza with some set menu available. As it also includes rice and soup, you can have a rich lunch or a relaxing dinner with friends and eat very well without worrying about the price!
Address: 1-1-42 Higashiimaizumi Utsunomiya Tochigi
Price: ¥400 for a portion of 5 dumplings
Website: http://www.tochinavi.net/shop/shop1.shtml?s=910 (Japanese Only)
8. Gyotendo (餃天堂)
Gyotendo is a small restaurant that despite its dimensions has a very large choice for what concerns the food. Here you can have, of course, delicious traditional dumplings and you can choose between boiled or grilled ones, but you can also order some appetizers like edamame, some kind of salads and even kimchi. This restaurant has also a very good position, because it’s located near the JR Utsunomiya Station, very convenient for a lunch on the go.
Address: 3-3-2, Ekimaedori, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi-ken
Price: ¥432 for one portion (5 gyoza)
9. Tonkikki (豚嘻嘻)
Thanks to Tonkikki staff’s effort you won’t have to fear long waiting even in weekends. In a very crowded day you will be served in about 20 minutes…amazing, right? Tonkikki’s speciality is the Hane gyoza, or Feather gyoza, pan fried dumplings that remain united together by a thin web of crunchy fried skin that will leave you without any words to describe it. Just delicious. You’ll have also access at no limits beverages for 2 hours with the set menu, so you can drink all the beer you want while singing with your friends about how fantastic Tonkikki’s gyoza are.
Address: 4-2-3, Baba dori, Utsunomiyashi, Tochigi Prefecture
Price: about ¥3,500 for set menu with all-you-can-drink
10. Menmen (めんめん)
This restaurant too presents a huge variety of food choices, like ramen, Chinese cuisine, soups, an entire menu reserved for lunch, and of course its fantastic gyoza. Here you can also buy some boxes of frozen dumplings to eat comfortably home (you will also be given instructions about how to cook them and how to eat them to taste their original flavor). Usually these boxes come with at least 20 pieces, but be careful not to eat them all once!
Address: 5-11 Arai-cho, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi Prefecture
Price: ¥360 for 6 gyoza, about ¥1,080 for a take away of 20 pieces (frozen)
Website: http://utsunomiya-menmen.com/ (Japanese Only)
Thumbnail image is from Flickr