This holiday let’s celebrate the birth of a king…a King of Gyoza.

On 24 December, 1967, in the cold windswept streets of Kyoto, a gyoza restaurant was born on thee that would go on to be a shining star in Chinese pseudo-fast-food cuisine. The very fist Gyoza No Ohsho (King of Gyoza) opened its doors outside of Omiya Station in the Shijo area of Kyoto City.

This restaurant would amass a large following with its radical idea of an open-kitchen concept and heavenly tasting pot stickers. One such disciple is our own Seiji Nakazawa, who follows Gyoza No Ohsho religiously and observes its birthday every year.

This year was no exception, and our writer waited outside his local branch on the morning of 24 December to be one of the first to partake in the celebratory feast.

“Foundation Festival”

The way the Foundation Festival works is simple, on 24 and 25 December for every 500 yen (US$4.37) a customer spends, they will receive a coupon for 250 yen ($2.18) off. This means anyone can essentially get a 50-percent rebate on their entire meal, especially if they order food in 500-yen increments which adds a little sport to the festivities.

Being the seasoned Gyoza No Ohsho diner he is, Seiji knew that the most strategic item was the Tenshinhan which is a crab omelet on rice for 528 yen ($4.62). However, he didn’t feel like eating that and instead went for his usual Fried Rice Combo for 951 yen ($8.32).

Normally he’d never get more than that but today’s deal afforded him an opportunity to try something a little out of the ordinary. So, he also ordered the Chiki Chiki Bone Style Spicy Fried Chicken for an additional 638 yen ($5.58).

In the end, his total came to 1,589 yen ($13.90) which awarded him with three 250-yen coupons that were valid from 26 December to 28 February, 2022. He was impressed at how close he came to an even 500-yen amount, because he wasn’t thinking about the price at all and just wanted to try the chicken.

It is a bit of a catch that he had to use the coupons for the next meal rather then the one he just ate, but a discount is a discount any way you count it. Gyoza No Ohsho wasn’t finished though, and had some more surprises for Seiji on this most auspicious of holidays.

After paying, the clerk handed him another card. This one said that for every 300 yen ($2.62) he spent, he would get a stamp, and with six stamps he could get a free order of gyoza. Since he spent over 1,500 yen, he already got five out of six.

Although it surprised him at first, it dawned on our writer that this was also the end of the year, which meant this card was for the Gyoza No Ohsho Year-End Customer Appreciation Campaign!

During this event, from 13 December to 16 January, customers can collect stamps but must use their free gyoza card by the end of January. It’s a completely separate event from the Foundation Festival, but this very generous restaurant had no problem stacking the discounts on top of each other.

It’s consideration like this that makes Seiji a devout patron of Gyoza No Ohsho. That and the fact that the Foundation Festival is such a low-key event that it doesn’t become too crowded. When he went it seemed like just an average day in terms of how many seats were filled. Since Seiji is a bit of a loner at heart himself, this kind of quaint birthday celebration really spoke to him. It was like Gyoza No Ohsho was telling him that it’s okay to celebrate birthdays without a big fuss.

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