Tiger Gyoza Kaikan – A Chinese Bar Serving Killer Gyoza
Located in the Shijo Karasuma area in the heart of downtown Kyoto, Tiger Gyoza offers a variety of delicious gyoza dumplings and Chinese dishes.
Wanting to achieve the vibe of an energetic and buzzing place, this gyoza restaurant chain chose to put “Tiger” in their name.
Fitting with this image, all the staff work hard and fast, and send a bustling, yet fun, air through the restaurant. Adding to their tiger image, the restaurant also features giant murals of tigers on each of its floors and other little nods to its namesake plotted around the place too.
As you’ve probably guessed with a name like Tiger Gyoza, this restaurant’s signature dish is gyoza dumplings. At lunchtime, Tiger Gyoza offers six varieties of gyoza and at night, eleven. With offerings like “Pan-fried plump dumplings stuffed w/ pork & greens” starting off their lineup, Tiger Gyoza offers an awesome variety of unique, yet delicious dumplings that range from veggie-packed to spicy and even visually incredible.
Also, of course, why would Tiger Gyoza just stop at gyoza? They also kill it with fantastic Chinese dishes like tantanmen noodles, fried rice, stir fry and more.
This incredible selection makes Tiger Gyoza one of the best places to simultaneously get your gyoza fix and satisfy your cravings for Chinese food.
Another aspect of Tiger Gyoza that definitely shouldn’t be left out is its “Chinese bar” concept and great selection of drinks. With a range of beers, Chinese Huangjiu wines and regular wines, Tiger Gyoza has the kind of selection you wouldn’t usually see at a Chinese restaurant. This impressive selection also means that you’ll sure to be able to find the perfect drink for any dish or mood.
While Tiger Gyoza is a nationwide chain, each store offers slightly different menus. The Shijo Karasuma restaurant, of course, offers exclusive dishes as well, including their aforementioned staple pan-fried dumplings.
So next time you’re in Kyoto and are hankering for some dumplings or Chinese food, then definitely give Tiger Gyoza Kaikan Shijo Karasuma a visit!
Pan-fried plump dumplings stuffed w/ pork & greens (six dumplings)
/ ￥957 (inc. tax)
These Pan-fried plump dumplings stuffed w/ pork & greens are Tiger Gyoza Shijo Karasuma's signature dish. In Japanese, these gyoza are called "pukkuri gyoza," meaning round and plump gyoza. As you can see, these gyoza truly live up to their name with their wonderful characteristically round and portly figure.
These big-boned gyoza are packed with meaty juices that explode when bitten into and fill your mouth with delicious umami flavors.
These gyoza also use not only handmade fillings but handmade skins too, meaning that they're made entirely in-store from scratch.
The fillings are made with a mix of a handful of pork, cabbage, glass noodles, wood ear mushrooms and Chinese lettuce. This mix gives allows them to have both the beautiful meaty umami flavors of pork as well as a fun crunchy texture.
Out of Tiger Gyoza's multitude of gyoza, these are the ones that you shouldn't leave without trying.
JAM-JAM Pan-fried Pork Dumplings
/ ￥638 (inc. tax)
The flat, fanned out JAM-JAM Pan-fried Pork Dumplings are a chiefly vegetable-based dumpling packed with cabbage. The JAM-JAM gyoza are served on a sizzling hot plate that keeps them steaming hot and sends the delicious smell of their crackling skins wafting through the air. The JAM-JAM gyoza, however, are most defined by their double-sided grilled skins and crunchy fillings brought to you by the heaping amount of cabbage inside.
Also, thanks to their relatively small size, these gyoza also work as the perfect bar snack too.
White Sesame Tantanmen Noodles
/ ￥968 (inc. tax)
Tiger Gyoza's White Sesame Tantanmen Noodles is a rich sesame seed umami filled bowl of noodles with sesame both inside the soup and atop it.
As this is a spicy tantanmen noodle dish, the initial creamy flavor of the sesame seeds is chased up by a flaming hot flying kick. And while the sesame seeds provide a robust, well-rounded flavor to the dish, they aren't overpowering.
On top of the noodles is a mix of pork mince and fried garlic and onions that have been soaked in spicy chili oil. Give these toppings a mix with the noodles, and your noodles will gain the beautiful umami flavors of the mince and aromas of the fried garlic and onion mix.
In addition to the above noodles, Tiger Gyoza also serves other dishes with their own unique flavors and spice level, including black sesame tantanmen and red mala tantanmen.
For those looking for something a bit spicier, put down the white sesame seeds in favor of the black and order yourself a bowl of the black sesame tantanmen.
And for those looking for something to really knock your boots off, there's the numbingly spicy red mala tantanmen too.
Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Garlic
/ ￥858 (inc. tax)
One of the most popular dishes with those from overseas is a simple mix of garlic, chop suey and komatsuna, Japanese mustard spinach, seasoned with salt.
The crunchy veggies are paired with a clean, yet flavorful salt-based sauce that works its way into every crease and crevasse it can find.
And the aroma of garlic that wafts forth from the bok choy will send a shock to your appetite that’ll have you weak in the chopsticks.