21 April 2019
Crispy pan-fried Japanese dumplings have become a hit at a Chao Chao Gyoza outlet in Wan Chai. Photos: openrice, HKEJ
Crispy pan-fried Japanese dumplings have become a hit at a Chao Chao Gyoza outlet in Wan Chai. Photos: openrice, HKEJ

Chao Chao marks its presence at newly revamped Amoy Street

Even though Lee Tung Street has got its name back, escaping an awful proposal to be named as “Avenue Walk” (囍歡里) — whose Chinese name was a pun on the phrase “I Love You”, Wan Chai is never quite the same again following a redevelopment project.

Were it not for the highly-acclaimed song “Wedding Card Street” by Cantopop singer Kay Tse, I bet the younger generation can never imagine that the outdoor luxury shopping mall once used to be a hive of printing industry, churning out wedding cards, name cards, traditional Chinese calendars and many other items.

With new high-rise buildings, the Wan Chai neighborhood has become largely unrecognizable. The few historic structures that were spared demolition now serve as bizarre decorations, a ridiculous attempt to preserve the spirit of the old town.

Many new fancy eateries have come and gone in the area without making any mark. That doesn’t come as a surprise to me, given that a new venture needs not only passion but also proper entrepreneurial skills.

Walking into a neighboring lane, Amoy Street, recently, a crowded Japanese restaurant grabbed my attention.

The establishment, Chao Chao Gyoza (餃餃餃子), specializes in Japanese pan-fried dumplings. Unlike Chinese Shandong dumplings, the Japanese dumplings are waffle-thin and have crispy wraps.

As Chao Chao outlets are popular in Japan, the Wan Chai establishment has lured many customers who swear by the eatery’s value-for-money offerings.

Its signature dish, Chao Chao gyoza, is offered at HK$22 for 8 pieces or HK$40 for 16 pieces. If you want more than just dumplings, you can go for a meal set (HK$98), which includes 16 pieces of Chao Chao gyoza, a glass of Asahi draught beer and a side dish of pickled cucumber, bean sprout salad or cabbage with Japanese rice-malt.

What is more impressive is that the eatery is providing local diners with “Hong Kong only” dumplings which are exclusively available on a first come, first served basis. That’s truly an effective way to lure curious customers.

The only complaint I have about the eatery is that it has too many flavors of gyoza and that it is impossible to try them all even with two visits.

On a more serious note, let me say that the outlet represents good news for gyoza lovers like me.

Motorists can stop by the restaurant easily as Amoy Street is now accessible for vehicles coming from the junctions of Johnston Road in the north and Queen’s Road East in the south.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 27.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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a veteran journalist and food critic

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