Shioriya Sarasara – Casual dining, masterful gyoza and incredible oden
Shioriya Sarasara is a restaurant offering a casual dining experience, drinks and a signature menu of oden and gyoza. With so many customers loving to drop by for a quick drink, Shioriya Sarasara is the embodiment of their namesake saratto – a Japanese onomatopoeia meaning to casually or quickly do something.
When you step foot in Shioriya Sarasara, you’ll be greeted by a chic, well-lit interior reminiscent of a café. This cool, welcoming atmosphere lends itself perfectly to being a place for newcomers to Japanese izakaya and those wanting to grab a solo drink.
Additionally, with over 30 varieties of Japanese sake on the menu, that fact that you can try a range of different sake all in one place is another massive draw of Shioriya Sarasara. Several locally brewed Kyoto sake are available too, so if you want to compare and contrast different Kyoto sake, then this is definitely the place for you. Also, we shouldn’t forget to mention that Shioriya Sarasara is self-service, meaning that you get to pour your own sake! For anyone who hasn’t tried them, these kinds of self-serve izakaya are great fun.
As the owner/head chef is practically the only one in the kitchen, English explanations of things like changes in dishes and ingredients is understandably quite difficult. So if you’re ever unsure about what to order or about what something is, then please check back with this article.
*Shioriya Sarasara has a ¥350 (excl. tax) seating charge per person.
*A drink order of either alcohol or a soft drink is required.
/ ￥390 (excl. tax)
Pan-fried gyoza are Shioriya Sarasara’s signature dish. Gyoza, also known as potstickers or jiaozi in other parts of Asia, are Chinese dumplings made from ground pork, diced and seasoned napa cabbage, green onion and Chinese chives wrapped in a thin, round flour-based dough.
At Shioriya Sarasara, they pack their gyoza with fatty ground pork, meaning that when you bite in, you get met with a wave of delicious meaty juices. To wash it down, we recommend a tall glass of beer or a delightful dry Japanese sake.
Additionally, in order to mix up the flavors a bit, the gyoza at Shioriya Sarasara are served with three distinct sauces, vinegar & soy sauce, vinegar & pepper and miso & ginger.
We recommend trying the sauces in order, starting with Japan’s beloved vinegar & and soy sauce, then moving on to the palate-cleansing vinegar and pepper and finally finishing it with the miso sauce with a tinge of ginger.
Oden – an assortment of 5
/ ￥680 (excl. tax)
Standing alongside gyoza, Shioriya Sarasara’s second signature dish is their oden.
Oden is a type of Japanese hotpot/stew that’s comprised of various ingredients in a bonito flake and kelp stock. The ingredients are stewed over low heat and left to soak up the flavors of the broth. However, at Shioriya Sarasara, they add duck fat to the regular bonito flake and kelp broth.
This addition of the duck fat boosts the flavors and umami of the dashi, which can be felt soaked deep within each ingredient of the oden.
This set of 5 oden ingredients includes Japan’s most beloved ingredient, daikon white radish and classics such as boiled egg and konjac. In addition to these oden staples are atsuage fried tofu and gamon deep-fried tofu mixed with thinly sliced vegetables.
While the oden is delicious on its own, it can, and should, be enjoyed alongside the accompanying condiments.
The brown condiment is called “dengaku miso” and is a slightly sweet miso sauce that adds umami as well as sweetness to the oden ingredients. The green one is “yuzu kosho,” a spicy mix of chopped yuzu peel, salt and ground peppers. While the spicy kick of the peppers stands in stark contrast to the refreshing aroma of the yuzu, the yuzu still manages to stand out and add a hint of yuzu flavor. The final one is “karashi” Japanese mustard. This bright yellow mustard features an impressive spicy kick that cuts straight through your sinuses and is a great palate cleanser.
Paitan Soup Gyoza
/ ￥580 (excl. tax)
This Paitan Soup Gyoza is Shioriya Sarasara’s famous gyoza thrown in a pot of half Paitan soup and half oden broth. Paitan, literally meaning white boiling water, is a Chinese soup of chicken stock, ginger and green onions. Shioriya Sarasara’s Paitan soup is paired with the dashi stock of their oden, giving it a richer flavor and double the umami. While the soup does have a more robust flavor, it’s still relatively light and pairs well with the restaurant’s famous gyoza.
As the gyoza here are boiled, they have an entirely different, smooth texture from their fried counterparts. Simple changes to cooking methods that give way to such new and exciting ways to enjoy essentially the same food is always a refreshing surprise. So if you have the room, definitely give these soup gyoza a try and see how they stack up against the pan-fried ones!
By the way, this dish is served as is, still lightly simmering in the pot. So if you’re looking to warm up on a cold Kyoto winter day, then we highly recommend getting these heartwarming, boiling hot gyoza and pairing them with your favorite drink.
Giant Cabbage Roll
/ ￥480 (excl. tax)
Served with a knife and fork for cutting, this giant cabbage roll not only looks impressive but will have your mouth watering the moment it hits the table.
The boiled cabbage is incredibly soft and practically falls apart when it meets your knife.
Packed full of meat, this dish will have the umami of oden dashi stock and juices of the meat dancing on your tongue from the very first bite. This absolutely irresistible combination is backed up by a hint of pepper that contrasts against the natural sweetness of the cabbage.
This dish is quite large, so if you’re wanting to try a few different things, then we suggest sharing this with three or four people.