Restaurant review: Chao Chao Gyoza, Wan Chai – affordable Japanese delights
Enjoy the signature dumplings, or onion with grated yam and wasabi, or chocolate dumplings for dessert – just don’t be put off by the queue at Japanese chain’s first Hong Kong outlet
Several new restaurants have opened in Amoy Street in Wan Chai, and it doesn’t take a genius to guess that the latest one, Chao Chao Gyoza, specialises in Japanese dumplings. The queues outside the shop at dinner time show Hongkongers’ hunger for everything Japanese.
The wait proved to be worth the while as the dumplings on offer are dainty and inexpensive. Chao Chao Gyoza has 40 outlets in Japan and the one in Wan Chai is its first overseas outlet. The menu offers about 20 made-to-order dumplings.
The trademark chao chao dumplings (HK$22 for eight pieces), with crisp skin and a juicy filling of cabbage, onions and chives, are about the size of a pinkie, and a mouthful of one is a delight. Other creative dumpling inventions include onion gyoza with grated yam and wasabi sauce (HK$48 for five pieces) and chicken and mozzarella gyoza (HK$38 for five pieces).
The long stick gyoza (HK$38) is filled with crab meat and shrimp stick. The 18cm-long dumpling bar is pan-fried just right and isn’t oily, and is delicious with the salad sauce.
Chao Chao offers a gimmick: diners can put the imported Japanese plum bonito powder and corn broth powder together with the dumplings in a paper bag to enjoy the “shake shake” dumplings, just as McDonald’s offers from time to time with its French fries.
For something lighter, try the salads. We liked the appetising cabbage with Japanese rice malt (HK$18), which has a strong sesame flavour.
For dessert, the chocolate gyoza (HK$28 for six pieces) with ice cream is a must-try. Chocolate sauce is wrapped inside the dumpling skin, then frozen before being pan-fried. It’s a delightful sensation to eat the sweet, warm chocolate together with the cold vanilla ice cream.
Chao Chao Gyoza, 31 Amoy Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2735 5360. Open: noon-3pm, 6pm-10pm