What is Gyoza?
Gyoza (餃子) are dumplings filled with pork, vegetables and seasonings, and then wrapped in a thin dough. Although they are eaten all across Japan, the dish originates from China and are originally called “Jiaozi”.
In English they are usually called dumplings or pot stickers.
They can be steamed, deep fried or pan fried, they’re pretty versatile. Most Japanese people fry them in a pan and then add a lid so they steam for a while. That way, they become crispy on the bottom and soft on the top, delicious!
You can see how to make gyoza from scratch (wrappers and filling) on our recipe here!
A Brief History of Gyoza
The very first emergence of gyoza dumplings in Japan is obscure, yet one theory says that they came in around 18th century from China.
But it had never been a common dish up until after WW2 actually.
Like it had existed, but only certain amount of people (eg rich people) had access to the dish.
While steamed dumplings are a lot more popular and common in China, Japanese Gyoza is usually fried in a pan.
So this is another case that Chinese food came in to Japan then Japanese people found their own way to cook it.
Now it’s a very common family dish all around Japan, and even different regions of Japan have their twists and their own versions of it. Such as:
- Enban gyoza (円盤餃子) : Fukushima Pref
- Utsunomiya gyoza (宇都宮餃子) : Tochigi Pref
- Hamamatsu gyoza (浜松餃子) : Shizuoka Pref
- Jumbo gyoza (ジャンボ餃子) : Hyogo Pref
- Yahata gyoza (八幡餃子) : Fukuoka Pref
I love how they found their own ways to be creative with the dish!
Gyoza Dipping Sauce
There are also many kinds of dipping sauce for gyoza differs from restaurant to restaurant, and family to family.
But two main ingredients for gyoza dipping sauce are:
- Soy sauce
- Rice vinegar
The ratio depends on the person’s preference and many would put extra like
- Sesame oil
- Chilli oil
- Black pepper
I personally like quite vinegary, spicy and peppery so I put more rice vinegar and add extra chilli oil, sesame oil and black pepper!
As you experiment with the ratio of these ingredients, you will definitely find golden ratio for your own taste!
But for now, this is my preferred ratio for dipping sauce for gyoza!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is in gyoza?
Gyoza is a Chinese inspired pan-fried dumplings in Japan (See the description above for more context)
Are gyoza healthy?
Sadly, I would not call it a healthy dish.
What is gyoza dumpling made of?
The fillings for Gyoza usually contains:
- Pork mince
- Nira chives
- Spring onion
- Cabbage (Or hakusai cabbage)
But it all goes down to personal preference.
Is Gyoza fried or steamed?
Gyoza in Japan are mostly pan-fried but there’s a type of gyoza that goes in to soup called Sui-gyoza (水餃子) which means “Water gyoza”
What do you serve with gyoza?
Lots of people in Japan like having gyoza with dipping sauce, bowl of rice and maybe some Chinese style soup.
Do you eat gyoza hot or cold?
It’s best to eat hot. I personally re-heat if they get cold.