Gyoza no Ohsho
Kansai veterans are likely to already know about the wonders of Ohsho, but anyone new to the region must read on. Behind the greasy interior and the sweaty staff lies the treasure. Six pieces of piping-hot, fried-dumpling heaven. The process of steam-frying them usually binds the gyoza skins together so you can practice your chopstick skills splitting them up into bite-sized pieces, or just pretend that it’s one humongous gyoza. The garlic flavor packs a mighty punch and the ratio of meat to vegetables may favor those less likely to eat a carrot. For ¥220 per portion, it’s great value for money. Located all over Japan, from Hokkaido to Kyushu, though very prominent within the Osaka and Kyoto prefectures, you’ll never have to go far to find one.
Open: Mon–Sat 11am–11:30pm (LO at 11:00pm); Sun & National Holidays 11am–10:30pm (LO at 10:00)
Price Range: ¥220–¥1000
Access: Tenjinbashisuji-6-chome Subway Stn (Sakaisuji Line, Tanimachi Line), Exit 6, 5-min walk
Dotted all across the Kansai area, 551 Horai’s main focus is its niku-man (large, meat dumpling), however the gyoza should not be ignored! I tried a takeout option to test out their gyoza-making chops and I discovered that, as the old saying goes, size doesn’t matter. Their bitesize pieces may look a little disappointing at first, but after you sink your teeth into one, it’ll leave you wanting more. The gyoza skin melts in your mouth and dissolves into the meat and garlic mix. The texture can be described as soft and smooth, which is unlike most gyoza. There is a perfect blend of garlic and seasoning that makes them very moreish. Luckily the smallest portion was of 10 pieces so I was able to further indulge myself. Opening hours may vary.
Open: Sun–Thu 10am–8:30pm; Fri & Sat 10am–9:00pm
Price Range: ¥300–¥1700
Access: JR Osaka Station, South Central Exit, Umeda Subway Stn, 5-min walk
The big draw of this little gem is the jumbo gyoza. Each one measures roughly 10–15cm long and 5cm wide. An attempt was made to eat one whole but it was quite the impossible feat. Just one bite in and greasy goodness comes dripping out (be careful not to get burned!). Steam wafts out to reveal a perfect mixture with a decent amount of chopped vegetables mixed in. The garlic was not overpowering and the flavors were prominent but not too intense. Another option for those wanting to try something different is the deep-fried gyoza. The crunchy outer shell is certainly an interesting change to the usual soft skin. Prices are decent with a portion of three starting at ¥340. The atmosphere is comfortable and quite vibrant, with a good crowd shuffling in during the early evening to wind down from a day at the office.
Open: 11am–11:30pm (LO food 10:15; drinks 10:30)
Price Range: ¥340–¥1700
Access: JR Osaka Stn, Sakurabashi Gate Exit; Umeda Subway Stn, 5-min walk