If you’re looking for the best gyoza dumpling place in Tokyo with a history of 60 years, “Okei” is it! This popular restaurant sells more than 200 dishes, 1,200 gyoza dumplings per day. The original restaurant was in Jimbocho, then moved to Iidabashi 28 years ago.
The fillings and wrappers of the gyoza dumplings at Okei are all handmade. Coarsely ground pork, Chinese cabbage, and garlic chives are seasoned with salt and pepper, and left to blend overnight. When the fillings are moist and ready, they are wrapped in gyoza dough. After a few hours in the freezer to get rid of the moisture, they go into a special iron pan filled with hot water. The fillings are cooked well, under high flame evaporating the water. Finally, soybean oil is poured in a circle, to make the surface crispy.
Enjoy the crispy wings, the chewy wrappers, and the juicy fillings. They are the most delightful combination. Try the first bite of the gyoza dumpling without dipping it in the soy and vinegar sauce.
The light soup of Okei’s delicious tanmen, goes very well with the gyoza dumplings. Those who are familiar with this, order gyoza and tanmen as a set by saying “Gyo-tan, please!” for short. Bean sprouts, Chinese cabbages, pork are added to the chicken bone and pork bone soup. The thin and wide noodles are chewy. The balance and chemistry of the soup and noodles is enough to satisfy longtime fans.
Recently, there have been many students and tourist from abroad visiting the place, but the regulars back from Jimbocho are still going strong. The recipe has never been changed since the establishment in 1954. The fans will always cherish this recipe as “the taste of Okei”
May 2017 Text: Ryoko Kuraishi Photo: Yasuo Yamaguchi