Friday, December 20, 2013
NAMJA Gyoza Stadium in Ikebukuro, Tokyo
I'd noticed a Gyoza Stadium in Osaka many years ago but never had the chance to go. Apparently it has since shut down, but there is still one here in Tokyo sitting within Namco's NAMJATOWN at Sunshine City's second floor. Being from Namco, it was basically a small indoor amusement park with a bunch of games and rides that frankly I could not understand as everything was in Japanese. But the food section at the end was done in the same spirit as the Yokohama Raumen Museum, with vendors from around the country setting up stalls in a faux vintage alleyway.
And similar to the Raumen Museum, each of these stalls had little taster sets, thus allowing you to try a lot more. We hit up five of the eight stalls there, basically skipping past the ones that looked like thick sheng jian bao from Shanghai. See, each stall had variations on not just stuffings, but also size, skin, and dipping sauce (there is even a printed guide that gives you specs on things like the garlic content of each dumpling). My favorite was one that had a crispy cheese skin, as well as one that seemed to have a good amount of black pepper in there.
Actually, gyoza wasn't the only thing that they showcased here. There was also the Fukubukuro Nanachome Shotengai featuring desserts like pastries and ice cream. One ice cream stall featured over 50 wacky flavors including eggplant, wasabi, oyster, whiskey, coal, curry, and shark fin ramen...plus of course the usual vanilla, green tea, and fruit varieties. I liked the shrimp-flavored one, which didn't taste anywhere as weird as it sounds. The gyutan ice cream was disappointingly tasteless though, while the "Dracula The Premium(no smell garlic)" [sic] was nasty...it didn't even taste like garlic. I should try the cheese one next time.
Digested at 12:38 PM
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