Gyoza, also sometimes referred to as pot stickers in the States (or sometimes as pan fried dumplings), is a Chinese dumpling that is usually pan fried, boiled, or steamed and is typically filled with pork and veggies with a tasty side of dipping sauce. However, depending upon the chef and the desired taste they want to create, there are many different kinds of gyoza to be enjoyed. Now imagine that instead of traveling to many restaurants to try new gyoza, what if they would all conveniently be located in one location with a fun atmosphere! My findings have brought me to introduce others to Gyoza Stadium.
Located in Sunshine City, Gyoza Stadium is part of an indoor amusement park called Namja Town. For those who aren’t familiar with Namja Town, it was created by Namco (a video game company) that also created the all time classic Pacman; a character you won’t be running into, but instead you will be meeting their own mascot, a cat named Najavu. To find your way to Namja Town, simply follow the floor markers on the second floor with the image of Najavu until you reach your destination. Inside the door you can either purchase a ticket at the ticket counter or at the ticket machine. All you need to gain entrance into the park is to purchase a basic entry ticket, 200 yen for children and 300 yen for adults.
Once inside, Gyoza Stadium will be located at the end of the hallway, on your right, and through the red hallway strung with lanterns. The overall theme of Namja Town is recreated to feel like an older era of Japan and stepping through this particular hallway feels like a real time portal jump. What your senses will be picking up on is what was known as the post-war 1950’s Tokyo period. Old worn posters cling to the walls, worn-looking and faded classic Japanese character toys hang from up high, and the sounds and smells make you feel as if you’ve walked into a festival.
On the right hand side there is a hallway that starts the chain of restaurants. The cooks stand at their food stalls and their menus are strung around close by. Photos of famed gyoza chefs from various prefectures are hung above the restaurant they represent, proudly standing by their creations. There are over a hundred kinds of delicious gyoza to choose from and one of the great things is that over time the menus change, featuring even more creative delicacies. Specialty gyoza is even served depending on what anime they are presenting at the time. And if that doesn’t appeal to you then maybe one of the gyoza that is shaped into a cute animal will hit your soft spot.
Besides what looks good or cute, taste is what put them into Gyoza Stadium. On my last venture there I was able to try a German type gyoza and a garlic cheese gyoza that had the garlic sliced and grilled on top of the gyoza instead of stuffed into the inner mix. It was an interesting experience for my taste buds. Another set of gyoza came with apple-based dipping sauce and a Japanese blended dipping sauce. Everything I tried was a satisfying first time experience, even though I had been there before. There are just so many choices that it’s hard to not want to come back later and see what else they have in store for their visitors.