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Gyoza

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Gyoza (餃子, gyōza) are dumplings filled with ground meat and vegetables and wrapped in a thin dough. Gyoza are also known as pot stickers in English. Gyoza originated in China (where they are called jiaozi), but have become a very popular dish in Japan since most of Ramen shops also offer Gyoza on the menu. We usually use ground pork, nira chives, green onion, cabbage, ginger, garlic and sesame oil, but some gyoza specialty shops have also come up with a range of other fillings. G
yoza are found nationwide at ramen shops, Chinese restaurants, Izakaya restaurants and a small number of gyoza specialty shops.
There are mainly three types of Gyoza; Yaki gyoza(pan fried gyoza), Sui gyoza(boiled gyoza) and Age gyoza(deep fried gyoza). Yaki gyoza are most common in Japan. They are pan fried before a mixture of water and potato starch or cornstarch is poured in and everything is covered for a few minutes. Gyoza are usually eaten with a dipping sauce made of equal amounts of  soy sauce and rice vinegar. If you like spicy, some drops of chili oil is also commonly added. Gyoza are particularly popular in the cities of Utsunomiya in Tochigi prefecture and Hamamatsu in Shizuoka prefecture.

Related article & video :
Gyoza Town visit
Japan Guide : Gyoza town
– Book : Complete Guide to Japanese Cuisine

Okonomiyaki

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Okonomiyaki is a Japanese-style savory pancake cooked on a large hotplate. Okonomi means “As-you-like-it” and recipes differ depending on the region; traditionally Osaka and Hiroshima. Osaka-style Okonomiyaki is literally a pancake which contains flour, dashi, shredded cabbage, Japanese spring onion, meat/seafood and egg etc. Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki has layers of those ingredients, plus egg noodles. It is flavored with a special Okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise and Aonori seaweed flakes. To make both Okonomiyaki, special spatula called “Okoshi-gane” is a must tool to flip the whole pancake.

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– First Okonomiyaki Restaurant in Tokyo
– Disney Babble.com : Okonomiyaki
– Book : Complete Guide to Japanese Cuisine

Ramen

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Despite the origin from China, ramen is now a most representative dish of Japan. There are three components of ramen. Soup is made with dashi and seasonings like soy and miso. Chefs develop their own recipes for their soup by combining multiple ingredients, such as pork bones, chicken bones, kombu (kelp), dried fish, vegetables and herbs. Two other components are toppings and noodles. These vary depending on the ramen shop and the region it is produced. Noodles are usually egg noodles and can be thicker or thinner. You can see the dynamic performance of shaking noodles with using noodle strainer at the shop. Ramen toppings reflect the local food culture. Seasoned eggs called Ajitsuke tamago is a must! The classic flavors are miso, salt, soy sauce and tonkotsu (pork bone-based thick soup). Ramen is regionally diverse. Tonkotsu is popular in the south, whereas Shoyu ramen (soy sauce-based ramen) is popular in Tokyo.

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– Soy sauce based ramen
Japan Guide : Ramen Museum in Yokohama
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– Book : Complete Guide to Japanese Cuisine

Sukiyaki

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Sukiyaki is a Japanese style hot pot and has thinly sliced beef, cooked with various vegetables in a table-pot cast-iron pan. The Japanese began eating beef only after 1860s when the western culture flooded into the country. Sukiyaki is now a popular dish same as Sushi, Ramen and Tempura etc. You can eat Sukiyaki at restaurant but we normally cook Sukiyaki at home. Sukiyaki has Japanese beef, Chinese cabbage, chrysanthemum, Japanese green onion, Shiitake mushroom, Grilled tofu and Shirataki (potato noodles). I recommend to use Japanese beef called Wagyu which has good balance of red meat and fat. In Kanto region (Tokyo and nearby area), people make warishita, which is a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sake and mirin, and add it to the pot little by little. In Kansai region (Osaka and nearby area), there seasonings are directly added to the pot. Once cooked, the ingredients are dipped into a bowl of a raw beaten egg. The hot food cooks the egg and the egg enriches the flavor of the dish.

Related article & video :
Sukiyaki
Book : Complete Guide to Japanese Cuisine

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