Since 1999, I’ve been a frequent customer at Gyoza King. I can still recall my old barista days when my co-workers and I would close the store and head straight to Gyoza King. Our hair would reek of drip coffee, our shoes would be sticky with frappincino mix, and little did we know it at the time, we were showing early signs of carpal tunnel syndrome (those damn espresso shots). After a long shift of lugging milk jugs and serving the most annoying people in the world, we needed something stronger than coffee (e.g. peach sours).
After a four year hiatus, I was back at it again (dining at Gyoza King, not working at Starbucks). I was in town for a week and I wanted to treat Amanada and LW out for a late night dinner. Dimly lit and crammed to capacity, Gyoza King still looked the way I always remembered it. Prices have gone up a dollar or two, but after more than a decade, I should hope so.
I ordered my usual favourites: prawn, pork and chive gyoza, tori karrage, agadashi tofu, nabeyaki udon, and ebi mayo. LW had only one request – he wanted gyoza. Well, we came to the right place. What I really love about the prawn gyoza is that you taste each individual ingredient. Not that there were abundant ingredients… as I said, it has prawns, pork and chives. The prawns were crunchy, and the combination of the pork and chives were tasty. In lighting speed, we happily chomped down these thin-skinned delights.
Gyoza King’s version of ebi mayo may not be for everyone. The prawns are small in size and heavily dosed with a sweet, pinkish mayo, though the batter remained crisp. I like to dunk my gyoza in the leftover ebi-mayo sauce. It’s like a Japanese version of White Spot’s triple-O sauce.
Gyoza King makes one of the better tori-karrage in town. The dark meat was juicy and succulent. The skin was fried to a dark golden brown. This may sound gross, but I love eating the skin. When we were kids and ate at KFC, my brother and I would save the skin for last because it was our favourite part. Who am I kidding? We still do that, but we’ve upgraded to better-fried chicken joints (Olive Chicken, Calgary).
Usually a winner, this time, the agadashi tofu was disappointing. The broth was weak, which didn’t help to elevate the taste of the tofu. The tofu itself was good, lightly battered and fried well so that it wasn’t soggy even after sitting in the broth. I liked the addition of minced green onion and shredded seaweed.
One dish I always order at Gyoza King is the nabeyaki udon. It’s a big black bowl brimming full of goodies. The udon noodles were smooth and chewy, tangled with a poached egg, spinach, seaweed, green onions, two-fried prawns and a slice of fish cake. The broth was a little sweet for me, but it did the trick.
After all these years, Gyoza King still pleases. Till we meet again, my dear Gyoza King. Till we meet again.