Kirasse is a big gyoza shop in Utsunomiya that offers a variety of gyoza from various shops. It is marketed more as a community or club rather than an actual shop but it actually functions more as a hybrid between a regular gyoza shop and a cafeteria. The system for ordering and other things are a little difficult to understand at first but it is actually pretty easy.
Kirasse is located in the basement of Mega Don Quijote on the main street in Utsunomiya. It is pretty close to the Tobu Utsunomiya station but pretty far from the JR station. I went there because I wanted to go to Blue Magic, one of a few craft beer shops in Utsunomiya. Kirasse itself has two shops in the basement of Mega Don Quijote including a frozen gyoza shop where you can buy frozen gyoza and make it yourself at home.
Kirasse is actually a collection of 5 gyoza restaurants that share the space. They have tables and counters but the lines are very long. It took about 15 minutes for us to get inside the shop and the line moves pretty quickly. I think it would move even faster if the workers cleaned the tables faster, but I would hope they are just understaffed. Once you are seated you have to go to the gyoza shop you want to visit, order, and pay. After you pay, you either tell them the table number or tell them which counter you are at and you are given a number. You then wait as they cook the gyoza for you.
My main goal was to go to Gyoza Utsunomiya Min Min, Min Min for short. I heard about this place and their simple gyoza so I had to try it. I was really lucky in that I was seated at Min Min’s counter so I had all of their traditional sauces. If you are not so lucky you will be placed at a different shop’s counter and I’m not sure if they will provide you with the sauces from their own shop or not.
Min Min’s goyza sauce is pretty standard but I really loved their hot chili oil. It had some chili paste with it and it was delightfully spicy. For me and the Saviour, we ordered 10 pieces of gyoza and 5 pieces of deep fried gyoza with a bowl of rice. It was so good and after a full day at Motegi watching the races as we were famished.
Min Min’s gyoza were really good. I loved the simple flavours that allowed the gyoza sauce to really shine. The gyoza were nothing particularly special but they were among the best that I have ever had. The skins were thin yet they held their own and didn’t fall apart. It is really hard to do this and the textural delight was perfect. The deep fried gyoza were good too but a little too thick with the skins and it made it a little too heavy. The combination with the rice was great too but we ended up getting overstuffed with too much food.
Min Min is a great place and I would happily go back again. Kirasse is also a great place. While the lines can be long, it moves quickly and it is a great place to have a quick meal, including a meal by oneself. If I’m ever in the area again, I will probably go back and get more Min Min. Perhaps I’ll do what I originally thought and get take-out and go to the craft beer shop for beers at the same time next time.