Harajuku Gyoza Lou: That Dumpling is a Real Crowd Pleaser
Hi!!! Today, we'll be talking about Harajuku Gyoza Lou, a casual restaurant serving some of the hottest dumplings in Tokyo. Don't know anything about dumplings? Don't fret, order the whole menu! Harajuku Gyoza Lou only serves pan-fried or steamed dumplings with the option of original or garlic and chives filling. Not impressed yet? Well, let me tell you that each plate of 6 fresh dumplings comes out to about 290 yen (less than $3 USD). Don't forget to bring cash though. They don't accept credit cards.
The restaurant is situated next to the new Luke's Lobster shop, which had an equally intense queue. After 45 minutes of waiting in line, we were finally seated. Without hesitation, Steph and I ordered 4 plates of dumplings and some appetizers. We were ravenous. While waiting, we could tell that the turnover rate is quite high. Locals and tourists seemed to just want to eat dumplings and drink some cold, refreshing beer. Steph and I sat at the bar and had a perfect view of all the cooking action. It was exhilarating.
NOTE: This place is dishing out dumplings in the hundreds. Are you worried about all that smoke turning you into a walking dumpling for the rest of the day? Don't you worry. They have fantastic ventilation.
Address: 神宮前6-2-4, Shibuya, 東京都 〒150-0001, Japan
Bean Sprouts with Special Meat Sauce
Cucumber with Special Miso Sauce
Original Pan Fried Dumplings
Original Steamed Dumplings
Pan-Fried Dumplings with Garlic & Chives
Finally, our food started arriving. Please get the Cucumber with Special Miso Sauce. I live for these cucumbers. These were perfectly refreshing and full of hearty umami flavor. What more is there to say?
The Bean Sprouts with Special Meat Sauce was good too but still second to the cucumbers. If you order any of these dishes, I recommend saving the leftover sauce for the gyoza. The gyoza sauce is a bit plain for me. It's not bad but it's just a choice of soy sauce, vinegar, and/or mild chili oil.
All the dumplings are worth trying. But, I stand by the pan-fried dumplings for sure. The bottom of the dumpling is perfectly crispy (and not burnt), while the rest of the dumpling is surrounded with a light, silky layer of dough. I'd say the wrap-to-filling ratio is ideal for single bite-sized servings. There is also a bit of juice within the pan-fried dumplings. I liked it! The steamed dumplings were also quite good but they seemed a bit too bland so I enjoyed using the sauce from the cucumber and bean sprout appetizers. FYI, the original pan-fried dumplings and the garlic/chive dumplings tasted almost the same. I couldn't taste the garlic but the chives were definitely there.
These weren't the best dumplings of my life but I'd probably go back because the value is so good. If you're in the area and want a quick bite to eat, you should definitely stop by Harajuku Gyoza Lou.