Friday, 20 February 2015

Gyoza-ya (Robinsons Orchard): where I fell in love with gyoza

If you've been reading this blog long enough, you should know that I've not ever been too excited about gyoza until last year, when I tried Osaka Ohsho in Manila. In line with this new found hope for the humble Japanese dumpling, I've pushed and pinched Plaid Boy to take me to Gyoza-Ya in Robinsons on Orchard Road. He's raved about it for as long as I remember and I wanted to see what it was about.

Photo credit: Gyoza-Ya Facebook Page

We sat by the counter and I couldn't help but notice an auntie preparing some dumplings whilst Plaid Boy ordered from the short menu. I was quite fascinated by the machine that mixes the gyoza filling and her quick finger mechanics.

There's an option of fried or steamed gyoza with either pork, veg, or prawn fillings. We opted for the fried pork gyoza. A serving has five dumplings so we had one each.

Seared on one side, the dumpling has a crispy texture that plays with your bite but it's incredibly soft and juicy on the inside. Each dumpling is generously filled with meat that has the right balance of aromatics and texture. Goes to show that their gyoza mixer machine really works well. 

There's an abundance of condiments and I'm most ecstatic about the pickled ginger but truth is, the gyoza is delicious enough to eat on its own.

Plaid Boy ordered us each a bowl of jyajya men or Japanese miso noodles. It's essentially thick noodles with a bit of mince pork, shaved cucumber and spring onions, mixed with thick miso paste. 

There's actually a "how-to" card for this dish.

You eat the noodles as is, seasoning to your taste, then you call the server when you're halfway done so they can add some a soft boiled egg and a bit of water to make it more soupy.

Quite frankly, the jyajya men on its own is quite bland so you'll have to rely on your seasoning alchemy to liven it up. Plaid Boy swears by the egg + boiled water halfway method but as I don't eat egg, I had to pepper mine with lots of black vinegar, pickled ginger and togarashi (ie Japanese seven spice).

We also ordered some agedashi tofu which fared better than expected as the sauce was decent and the crispy crumb didn't sog as much. We also had some yasai itame (stir fried vegetables) which were crunchy and flavourful. Shame it came after we’ve finished everything else.

Save for our delayed bowl of veg, service was quick and easy and our bill came up to less than SG$40 (£20). We were comfortably full afterwards and felt quite healthy eating such a light, satisfying lunch. It's a welcome break from all the lard and pork we've been having at night.

Clearly the gyoza shines above everything else on the menu, and I have to admit Gyoza-ya offers some of the best I've had. My faith in these Japanese mini-parcels of joy has been restored, and I coudn't wait to have some more.

B1-02A Robinsons Orchard, 260 Orchard Road Singapore 238855 | +65 6737 5581

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