One of my dream countries to visit is Japan. I’ve been to quite a few Asian countries but have never really visited Japan because it’s too expensive, as they say. However I am familiar with Japanese cuisine, it being one of my all-time favourites. I can also speak quite a few Japanese sentences given that I grew up watching tons and tons of Japanese anime shows. It might be funny but it’s true!
The Japanese inspired a lot of things in my life, I think. They inspired me to develop my imagination and my talent in drawing (anime!). They inspired me to value tradition with how much love they have for theirs. Theirs is definitely one of the most fascinating I have encountered, and I adore their elaborate festivals where everyone is all dressed up in colourful kimonos, walking along rows of sakura trees and towards the shrines to pray and to wish.
I am also constantly in awe of their meticulousness. I’ve been to Fukuoka before as a side trip for about half a day, and we went to the market that had stalls upon stalls selling mochis and other Japanese cakes and delicacies. One of the things I ended up doing in every store was walking through the aisles, just looking at each and every trinket, odd thing, and especially the food items there. They are packaged in these neat and amazingly designed boxes, with each brand having its own unique style. I wanted to buy all of them and keep the boxes. That’s kind of crazy right? There were also those amazing bento boxes filled with food in the shape of famous Japanese characters.
I pretty much love a lot of things about Japan. It’s probably why I have such a connection with gyoza, and why I decided to make it my first selection off the stunning and mouth-watering Asian Dumplings cookbook. Plus, gyoza seemed simple enough, with ingredients that were easy to find and easy to whip up. The fact that I don’t have one of those bamboo steamers (yet!) gave me a push towards this particular recipe. And even though my non-stick pan broke, I made it work with my wok. Maybe I got this attitude from the Japanese too, but I have an obsession with doing things right, especially when it comes to cookery. I mean everybody steams their dumplings in bamboo steamers, right? Why shouldn’t I? But you know what really drew me to this particular one? I was excited to pan-fry!