Over the weekend Mrs. J-List and I took a drive up to Nikko for a relaxing dip in an onsen. Nikko is one of two really special places in the Kanto (Tokyo/Yokohama) region, a collection of some of the grandest temples and 5-story pagodas in this half of Japan, as well as the grave of Tokugawa Ieyasu and the famous "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" monkeys. On our way back we passed through the city of Utsunomiya, a pleasant regional city that's famous for its gyoza, those delicious Chinese dumplings that are known as "pot stickers" in English for reasons that are beyond me, and we picked up some to take back to the family. Gyoza are dipped in a sauce that contains soy sauce, vinegar and rayu (Japanese chili oil), and I'm one of those people who really obsesses over getting the correct amount of each. The soy sauce provides most of the taste, and yet the tang of the vinegar and the zing of the chili sauce are also very important.
Gyoza from Utsunomiya is the best.