Jonathan's Worldly Eats: Confessions of a Foodie - Gyoza no Ohsho - Hanazono, Kyoto
Gyoza no Ohsho (餃子の王将), The Supreme Commander of Dumplings, is a chain located throughout southern Japan dedicated to serving freshly made dumplings and order-made Chinese food. Osho is a franchise, which made me hesitant about posting it on my blog. Regardless, I wanted to highlight my Ohsho; my key to eating well while still maintaining a budget. Located across from Hanazono Station 花園駅 off of the Sonobe Line 園部線, Gyoza no Ohsho Hanazano 餃子の王将・花園店 is special to me. The staff is friendly, the food is always consistent and fresh, and the location is literally seconds from my Kyoto dormitory. The night staff makes the best food and consists of cook, Tomotsugu Terasawa and waiters, Kousuke Yoshimine and Yonhimi Okazaki. They know me by name and even have invited me to make gyoza with them; an offer I will surely take them up on!
Favorites at Ohsho include their gyoza (餃子), Pork Kimchi (豚キムチ), Shrimp Tempura (海老天), and Wok Charred Pork with Eggs (肉と玉子). While Ohsho is not the essential meal one must experience in Japan, it offers affordable eats, day or night, in a 'colorful' atmosphere, with kind people - and to me, that is what makes it worthy of a Foodie Confession...
Gyoza no Ohsho
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Ukyo-ku, Hana
zono Imachi 32-8
Open continuously from Monday at 10:00 am until Sunday at 10:00 pm
Visit Gyoza no Ohsho's website at http://www.ohsho.co.jp/
*A version of this review was published on worldlyeats.blogspot.com on June 7, 2009
For a chain, I find Ohsho to be rather inconsistent. The price is consistently cheap, yes.
I live in Nagoya and the gyoza at the Imaike branch are heavy on the plate and even heavier in your gut. Some of the stir fries are doable, but honestly, I've always felt lousy and stinky after eating there.
The best Ohsho experience I had was in Osaka, sorry can't remember which branch. I was there for an after show party with the band and was skeptical and then totally surprised! It was like an entirely different taste and vibe. The gyoza were outstanding.
I've also had a decent experience at an Ohsho in Kyoto, before gig eats. Their set menus were super budget-priced, they even had signs up for broke students. If you wash dishes you could eat all you want or something.... The food at this branch was far above the Nagoya one but not as exceptional as Osaka. The master was really grumbly at the size of our group (8 people) and the fact that someone dared to ask if there was meat in one of the dishes. Still, the chow was good, I was especially surprised by the cup of seaweed soup, which at most Chinese restaurants is just kind of flavorless and tepid, but there it stood on its own.
Ohsho may not be the essential meal in Japan, true, but I'm a firm believer that if you have time, you should definitely try Chinese food in Japan, at a local joint, not a high-end dining spot.
I don't mind going for Chinese food in Japan as some can be quite good but while in Osaka, it'd be a shame to miss out on all the Korean food the city has to offer. My favorite place in Namba uses freshly caught seafood from Akashi.
I don't think I've eaten at Ohsho since I was...10? so I really don't have much to say on that topic but Hanazono has a couple of famous ramen spots not to be missed if you're in the area.
Please don't misunderstand. Ohsho has never been destination dining for me! Just weighing in with my two yen on the OP. And yes, Osaka does have a lot of good Korean spots. Most often when I'm in Osaka, it's with my band and eating is restricted by time (too early/too late) and location, fortunately, there are lots of tasty neighborhood joints scattered throughout the city.