Dumplings fit to be consumed by foot soldiers at Gyoza Hohei in Gion
Hohei is a gyoza place in the busy geisha district of Gion, and its named after the pawns, or foot soldiers, in a Japanese chess game. It’s only open at night, and pretty late at that: until 3 a.m.! Though there is often a line in front of the restaurant, the taste of these little gyoza-dumplings is definitely worth the wait.
What makes this place special is not only the location in the middle of the geisha district of Gion (meaning that actual maikos and geishas sometimes pop in for some garlic-free gyozas), but how painstakingly carefully everything is made. The dumplings are equally sized, and each one of them is cooked to perfection.
/ ¥500 for 8
Hohei offers two types of gyoza, ones with garlic and leek, and ones with ginger in them instead of garlic. This is mainly because geisha and maiko are afraid that if they eat garlic they’d get the much-feared garlic-breath. The normal ones are best eaten with the gyoza-sauce, vinegar, and Hohei’s special chili oil, but the ginger gyoza are best had with Hohei’s special sweet miso sauce.
Cucumber in a vase
This dish is pretty simple; you have cucumber in a vase. The cucumber is flavored with sesame oil and is very fragrant. This is a great palate-changer when you have had too much gyoza – after one vaseful of these, I’m sure you can go for another plate of gyoza. And I have to say, rarely you see cucumber served in a manner that is this photogenic.
After a hard night of drinking, it is believed that clam soup will help your liver deal with all that alcohol. And here at Hohei they have gone one step further and made this soup into an espresso: a clam soup with a strong punch. So, if after a night of drinking in Gion you wander to Hohei, remember to down a cup of clam espresso. Your liver may thank you.