Osaka Ohsho is really branching out with these new dishes. 

Osaka Ohsho is an Osaka-based casual dining chain known for its cheap Chinese food and in particular, gyoza, or fried dumplings. It is not known for serving curry, so when our Japanese-language reporter and foodie Yuuichiro Wasai learned that two stores in the whole country actually do sell curry, with one in Tokyo, he had to go check it out.

The curry is a pretty new addition to the menu at the two restaurants, and the chain plans to roll out this new menu item to other restaurants across the country gradually. Yuuichiro couldn’t wait to try it, so he headed to the Tokyo branch, which is in Oimachi, a quiet residential area near Tokyo Bay.

Yuuichiro is a big fan of curry; he believes that curry is generally delicious no matter where you get it from, so he figured Osaka Ohsho’s version would be pretty good. But why even serve curry, when they’re a Chinese restaurant? In fact, the Oimachi branch has so many curry combinations on the menu, Yuuichiro was no longer sure if they really could be called a Chinese food restaurant.

Well, as long as they keep making delicious food, Yuuichiro doesn’t mind. If the curry is good, that’s enough for him. He decided to order the Stamina Stir-fry Curry (topped with an optional fried egg for 990 yen [US$6.60]), which comes with a pork stirfry and some rice.

It came with such a small amount of rice that Yuuichiro ran out quickly, since he combined it with both the curry and the stir-fry. The curry was labeled as “spicy”, but Yuuichiro would call it only “medium”. It was pretty tasty. It was a smoother curry that was really easy to slurp down.

But…it was curry. Curry is not Chinese food. Of course, the stir-fry was reminiscent of Chinese cuisine, and the set came with egg drop soup, which does count as Chinese food. The other curries on the menu also came with things like Mabo Tofu. But curry just doesn’t fit with the rest of Osaka Ohsho’s menu.

As Yuuichiro browsed the menu again, wondering whether this was a good or bad thing for Osaka Ohsho, and whether they were going to transition away from Chinese food into general comfort food territory, he spotted something even less like Chinese food that looked absolutely ridiculous…

▼ …Okonomiyaki-style Gyoza!

Ordinary gyoza dressed with mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, green onions and pickled red peppers…It didn’t sound like any of that would pair well. Well, if nothing else, it felt very Osaka, and it sounded interesting. Besides, Osaka Ohsho really knows how to take your gyoza to the next level, so Yuuichiro thought he could trust them.

When he tasted it, it turned out it was actually pretty good. The first bite was a little strange, since Yuuichiro is used to eating gyoza with vinegar sauce. But okonomiyaki sauce was actually a good complement! And since this dish had a lot more vegetables than regular gyoza, the dumplings felt lighter than usual.

At 490 yen, it was 200 yen more expensive than one serving of regular gyoza at Osaka Ohsho, but for okonomiyaki, that’s pretty cheap, especially in Tokyo, so Yuuichiro decided to think of this dish not as gyoza, but as okonomiyaki. Even though he was still at a Chinese restaurant.

After going back and forth several times about the acceptability of these two decidedly non-Chinese inspired dishes at a Chinese restaurant, Yuuichiro decided, “Who cares!” After all, Osaka Ohsho doesn’t seem to want to be constrained in a box, considering it once sold gyoza sandwiches. Both the curry and the Okonomiyaki-style Gyoza are delicious, so why worry about the small stuff?

Restaurant information
Osaka Ohsho Oimachi Branch / 大阪王将 大井町店
Address: Tokyo-to Shinagawa-ku Higashi Oi 5-4-10 Nihonbashi Shokuhin Building 1F
東京都品川区東大井5-4-10 日本橋食品ビル1F
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (last order at 9:30 pm)

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