Pan-Fried Perfection

 

Photo via Gyoza Bar Facebook

Photo via Gyoza Bar Facebook

 

New lunch and dinner spot ‘Gyoza Bar’ puts umami tastes front and centre without the MSG.

 

By Sarah Berman

 

Photo via Gyoza Bar Facebook

Photo via Gyoza Bar Facebook

 

Gyoza Bar + Ramen
622 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC
604 336 5563

 

When I first arrive at Gyoza Bar, there is a lineup out the door. It is opening week of Aburi Group’s latest downtown haunt (known for Miku and Minami), and I have arrived during peak lunch hour. My bad.

 

But once I get in the door, what looks like a small storefront expands backwards into a surprisingly large open kitchen, bar and dining area. A bustling cook staff wears red flannel (a cute northwestern touch) and spiky cacti adorn each table. The wait is quick and painless.

 

Photo via Gyoza Bar Facebook

Photo via Gyoza Bar Facebook

 

After glancing over the menu, I cannot resist the pull of an Umami Lunch Duo ($17). I made it a double hit of savoury pork: first gyoza served on a hot skillet, then the pork tonkotsu ramen bowl. This is normally way beyond my lunch budget, and likely more than I should eat in one sitting, but I had a feeling these would be high-performance dumplings.

 

Thankfully I was right: the textured pan-fry wrap hugging super-seasoned coarsely-shredded pork, dipped in chili-infused or green onion vinegar allowed me to savour the smallest bites. I nursed my gyoza carefully, and shared strategically, determined to make it last.

 

But soon enough the ramen arrived, with the most velvety, comforting pork broth I have tasted in recent memory. I sipped my friend’s chicken with “vintage miso” broth, and was surprised by the contrast. Who knew broths could have such a range—from the classic mushroomy “fifth taste” to a brighter, fermenty buzz? How Gyoza Bar accomplishes all this without using MSG (according to the menu) also remains a mystery. Both dishes were composed nicely with a soft-boiled egg, kale, big chewy noodles and some brightly-coloured garnish.

 

Gyoza Bar is an excellent excuse to extend a Friday lunch into the mid-to-late afternoon hours. Sure to become a favourite.

 

Photo via Gyoza Bar Facebook

Photo via Gyoza Bar Facebook