When you are in the mood for miso-dare gyoza in Kobe, one of the most often recommended restaurants is Akaman, a gyoza specialty restaurant. Founded in 1960, Akaman is a long-established restaurant, currently operating two branches, one in Motomachi and the other in Sannomiya. In 2021, Akaman was simultaneously awarded the “100 Best Gyoza Restaurants on the Tabelog”.
Along with Hyotan gyoza, Akaman is called one of the “two giants of Kobe gyoza,” and has been introduced in the media as a restaurant that sells 1,000 servings a day…in any case, Akaman is a famous gyoza specialty restaurant in Kobe. This time, I decided to try the traditional gyoza with miso sauce at Akaman’s Motomachi branch. What do the gyoza of this famous restaurant, which is counted as one of the top two, taste like? Let’s compare it with Hyotan gyoza…
Like Hyotan Gyoza, the food menu is only gyoza! Gyoza Specialty Store Aka-Man Motomachi Branch is this kind of restaurant
Gyoza Specialty Restaurant Akaman Motomachi Branch is located along a narrow alley named Motomachi Anamon Shopping Street, which is very interesting because it is directly behind Hyotan Motomachi Branch. The red tent sign reminds me of a Chinese restaurant at first sight… Yes, I once visited the restaurant around 4:30 p.m. on a weekday and was sunk by a sold-out crowd, so if you want to eat Akaman gyoza for sure, it is better to use the restaurant during lunch time.
When you enter the restaurant, it looks like it has about twice as much space as the Hyotan Motomachi site. According to the Tabelog, Akaman Motomachi Branch seats 19 customers, including seven at the counter. It has a simple and retro atmosphere that is exactly like a long-established Chinese restaurant that has been around since the Showa period.
The menu of Akaman Motomachi branch, which specializes in gyoza, is as follows…
The only food on the menu here is gyoza. The price is 350 yen for 7 pieces per person, so you can get miso sauce gyoza more reasonably priced than Hyotan Gyoza. However, you can’t order extra gyoza at Akaman Gyoza. Like Marusho Gyoza, a popular gyoza specialty restaurant in Osaka, you have to decide exactly how much you want at the first order. Considering these two points, Hyotan gyoza is probably easier to use for those who are not used to gyoza specialty restaurants.
Gyoza specialty restaurant Akaman Motomachi Branch, for two gyoza… how different is the taste from Hyotan Gyoza, which has a store in the back?
This time I ordered two servings of gyoza at Akaman Motomachi Branch. After about 10 minutes of waiting while surfing the web on my phone, the grilled gyoza arrived in front of me…
There are two rows of lightly feathered gyoza, and the size of each gyoza is not much different from that of Hyotan gyoza. However, since this one is 50 yen cheaper per person, the Akaman gyoza is superior in terms of cost performance.
Opening the skin and looking at the filling, one gets the impression that there is more cabbage than pork. This is in contrast to the Hyotan Gyoza. In fact, when you try it, it is much lighter than that of Hyotan Gyoza. There is almost no aroma of garlic or other aromatic vegetables, so you can eat it in public without worry.
On the other hand, the skin is quite thin, but it is quite firm and does not tear easily. Have you ever experienced the disappointment of having the skin tear when you take out a dumpling from a row of dumplings that are stuck together? The skin of the gyoza dumplings at the nearby gyoza restaurant Man’en was like that, but the skin of Akaman gyoza dumplings is fine as long as you don’t try to peel it off too roughly. It may be a small detail, but I love it.
The dumpling skin, which contains plenty of moisture from the steaming process, has a firm texture, but the burnt part is crispy and fragrant, and you can enjoy the delicious taste of the skin to the fullest. If anything, the savory skin has more impact than the bean paste inside the dumpling. Of course, they are also great as a snack with beer.
Now, let’s move on to the miso sauce. At Akaman Motomachi, there are four kinds of seasonings on the table: miso sauce, chili oil, vinegar, and soy sauce. You mix these seasonings to make your favorite sauce…
The miso sauce that forms the foundation of the dish is based on a combination of miso, whereas the Hyotan gyoza is based on aka miso. It was a rather simple miso sauce, which was made by stretching the combined miso with sake and adding a small amount of red pepper to it. I tried adding chili oil, vinegar, and soy sauce in stages to see how the flavor changed. I found that I liked it best when I added the chili oil. It is more like a savory add-on to the miso sauce. Well, everyone has their own taste preferences, and there are some recommended sauce combinations on the Internet, so please refer to them to find your favorite flavor.
The gyoza specialty restaurant Akaman Motomachi Branch is hard to compare with Hyotan Gyoza in every aspect, and I could understand why they are compared as the “big two”. If I had to say so, I would say that if you want to taste the pork flavor, you should go for the Hyotan gyoza, and if you are in the mood for a light meal, you should go for the Akaman gyoza…. But for me personally, it is sad that the Miso sause Gyoza of the Ganso Gyoza En is not included here. Well, the yaki-gyoza here is a rich one with Kobe beef, so it may be that they are on different lines…
Of course, you can also take out your gyoza to go… To get to Gyoza specialty store Akaman Motomachi, 1 minute walk from the nearest station, Motomachi Station on JR Kobe Line.
Gyoza specialty restaurant Akaman Motomachi also offers take-out gyoza, of course. The price is 350 yen per serving with miso sauce. A separate box fee (50 yen per box) is charged for take-out.
From listening to the interaction between the waiter and the customer, it seems that there are two versions of the take-out gyoza, one with garlic and one without garlic. Even if you don’t like garlic, it’s okay. If you have a chance, try Akaman’s gyoza once.
Now, here are the details of the restaurant. Restaurant data is here…
Gyoza specialty restaurant Akaman Motomachi Branch
Out of 5 points.
Address: 1-11-10 Motomachi-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0022, Japan
Phone number: 078-331-8756 (Reservations not accepted)
Business hours: 12:00-19:00 (closes when all gyoza are gone)
Parking: No parking space
Credit card payment: Not accepted (cash only)
It is a 10-minute walk from Sannomiya Station on the JR Kobe Line.