Japan’s no. 1 gyoza restaurant arrives in PH
Over the years, Filipinos have been introduced to many Japanese dishes like ramen, yakiniku, gyudon and katsu with specialty restaurants for these gaining wide popularity.
This year, another Japanese specialty restaurant arrives in the country with the star of its menu as the gyoza, or Japan’s famous pork dumpling.
Thanks to young restaurateur Linfred Yap, Filipinos can savor authentic gyoza via Osaka Ohsho, which is considered the no. 1 gyoza restaurant in Japan.
The Manila Times met with Yap at Osaka Ohsho’s first store in the country located at the brand new SM Mega Fashion Hall in Mandaluyong City, who proudly served the savory dish.
Osaka Ohsho, which translates to “King of Gyoza,” first opened in Osaka in 1969 as a humble stand along a train station where founder Shinzo Fumino sold his handmade gyoza.
So good were Shinzo’s gyoza that word about it spread fast bringing long queues day in and day out, so much so that within the year, the gyoza master was able to open his first restaurant.
Four decades later, the gyoza company has expanded to over 360 locations across Japan with a rapidly growing network of international branches.
“I first saw the brand in Singapore and it was doing so good there proven by the very long line of diners, even though the store was already very big,” Yap recalled how he discovered the brand.
Luckily, Osaka Ohsho, which is now led by second-generation chief executive officer Naoki Fumino, has also been eyeing the Philippines as a new location for expansion. Apparently, Naoki was considering two other Filipino partners, but in the end chose Yap for the joint venture.
Asked what he learned from his Japanese counterpart, Yap said, “He provided me with many insights not only about gyoza but also about business strategies.”
Backed by a newly gained knowledge and confidence, Yap together with his partners at Relish Group, set in motion the establishment of Osaka Ohsho in the Philippines.
Osaka Ohsho officially opened in the Philippines in February and since then, has ignited a new Japanese food craze. Japanese folks living in Manila, meanwhile, were over the moon to finally have a fill of their beloved Osaka Ohsho gyoza whenever they want to.
Osaka Ohsho trained Filipino chefs under Japanese master chefs for several months to ensure that they serve only the highest quality gyozas here. They are called “gyoza specialists.”
The art of making gyoza begins by making its skin thin but sturdy from of a proprietary blend of imported Japanese flour. Then, the freshest ingredients for the filling is prepared including a special mix of three pork cuts, ginger garlic and cabbage.
After combining wrapping the filling, the gyoza is then grilled to perfection with a crispy exterior, while keeping the inside soft and moist.
Three kinds of gyozas are offered at the restaurant namely original, cheese and nori (dried seaweed). A serving of six or 12 is best eaten when dipped with soy-vinegar, miso and chili oil sauces, or a mixture of all.
Since opening, Yap revealed that the original gyoza, of which the secret recipe remains to be of the founder’s, is the bestseller among Filipinos.
Besides priding itself with “the best gyoza in the world,” Osaka Ohsho is also home to traditional Japanese food, many of which will be introduced to Filipinos for the first time.
One of these is the Fuwatoro Tenshin Han, a serving of imported Koshihikari rice enveloped in a fluffy-soft omelet and topped with gravy. With this dish, Filipinos will not only taste something unique but also sample the Koshihikari rice, one of the most prized short-grained rice varieties milled only in Japan.
Then, there is also the Black Vinegar Chicken. Reminiscent of the sweet and sour pork, it is stir-fried with capsicum, onions and lotus roots.
More authentic Japan ese flavors can be sampled with the more familiar curry, teppanyaki, agemono (deep-fried), and yakimono (grilled) dishes.
For dessert, popular choices are the banana tempura and homemade Japanese ice cream.
Finally to quench the thirst, the restaurant crafts Fresh Mango Yakult, Japanese Milk Tea, and Apple Lychee, among others.
For more information, log on to www.facebook.com/OsakaOhshoPH or follow Instagram @OsakaOhshoPH.