It’s more of a “carp in spirit” kind of thing.

Gyoza is one of Japan’s most beloved foods. Those garlicky fired dumplings of Chinese origin hit all the right notes in terms of taste, cost, and compatibility with beer. It’s a simple food that has spawned a rainbow of varieties, including “Carp Gyoza” which recently went on sale in Hiroshima Prefecture.

That might not sound too appetizing, since the bottom-feeding fish carp aren’t often regarded for their deliciousness. But that’s okay because the “carp” in “Carp Gyoza” is actually referring to the baseball team the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

That also might not sound like a great name for a sports team, but it’s not the worst either. That title goes to the Nippon Ham Fighters until a different company buys the team.

Another interesting quirk about Japanese baseball teams is that they are often based on American Major League teams in terms of name or style. In this case, U.S. fans of the game might notice a striking similarity between the Carp’s uniform and logo and those of the Cincinnati Reds.

▼ The “C” logo of both teams is on the label of Carp Gyoza, making it a great gift for Reds fans too

And this is where Carp Gyoza begins to make sense. Even with a quick glance it is almost impossible to not notice the uniquely vivid red hue of these potstickers. This is of course in honor of the team, and also done naturally with beets rather than artificial coloring.

They’re made by Itsuki Shokusan, a maker of gyoza rice paper which also runs reversal restaurants in the Hiroshima area. They’d like to remind everyone that despite the stark red color of these gyoza, they are not spicy at all and suitable for even kids to eat with fillings of cabbage, garlic, and pork that they playfully describe as “juuu-C!”

No actual carp appears to be used in these dumplings, but “Carp love” is listed among the ingredients, which probably refers to being a fan of the team… I think? I mean, they never explicitly said there was no carp in Carp Gyoza either.

Anyway, Carp Gyoza went on sale in packs of 10 for 398 yen (US$3.47) and 20 for 698 yen ($6.08) at major supermarkets in Hiroshima such as Aeon and MaxValue, where there is also a campaign to win gift certificates, free gyoza, or tickets to a Hiroshima Toyo Carp game against the Yomiuri Giants on 6 April.

Itsuki Shokusan also hopes to sell Carp Gyoza all over Japan via online sales and unmanned shops in the future to cater to Carp fans everywhere.

Fans of the team, not the fish… probably.

Source, images: PR Times
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