Gyo Para Gyoza & Ramen Bar first opened in 1993 under the name “Gyoza Paradise”, on Thurlow and Robson. They’ve reincarnated as Gyo Para Gyoza & Ramen Bar and they’re now located in Kitsilano near UBC. This unassuming ramen-ya dishes out quality ramen that uses natural ingredients and traditional methods that have been passed down for generations. All soup broths are made from scratch using the purest water and finest ingredients.
They have a simple and uncomplicated menu offering simple Japanese staples – ramen, gyoza, chahan and karaage. Everything is authentically prepared with natural ingredients (so no MSG!). They also have an extensive vegetarian menu (which is almost all of their classics made vegetarian friendly!)
Gyo Para gives you the ability to customize your ramen. So you can choose the amount of lard, noodle thickness and noodle firmness. This is perfect for me because I love my noodles on the firm side! The restaurant also provides free garlic oil, chili oil and crushed garlic (you press it yourself!) to customize your ramen even further.
T and I came by on a cold weekday to enjoy some hot ramen, and this was the perfect remedy to the bad weather we were having that day.
What we ate: Original gyoza – homemade pan fried pork dumplings ($6.75)
When a restaurant has their signature dish in their name I expect amazing things, and these gyoza were perfect. The skin was so thin and delicate but held all of the delicious stuffing inside without tearing. The filling for these gyoza was moist and seasoned well. These are some winning gyoza!
What we ate: Chicken karaage ($6.75)
These are the cutest pieces of fried chicken I’ve ever seen! Our order came with five little balls of perfectly fried chicken. The exterior was crisp and the chicken was seasoned well and juicy.
What we ate: Cold ramen – julienned chashu, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, wakame, whole softboiled egg, and ginger with your choice of shoyu or sesame sauce ($13.95)
I know, ordering cold ramen on a cold day… but what can I say, this is my absolute must order at a ramen restaurant. At Gyo Para you have your choice of sauce for this dish and I went with sesame. The sauce was nutty and all of the ingredients went well with the sauce. I personally don’t think that the chashu added anything to the dish, so next time I will go with the vegetarian version of this dish. The egg was perfectly executed as you can see from the golden yellow yolk.
What we ate: Traditional rich Sichuan style sesame based broth topped with ground pork, 1/2 soft-boiled egg, bokchoy, julienned green onions, cashew nuts, and garlic oil ($13.50) + Veggie gyoza – homemade pan-fried veggie dumplings ($6.75)
Another absolute must order for me (if it’s available), is tantanmen. Regardless of the style of preparation (Japanese or Chinese), this is one of my favourite noodle dishes of all time. Gyo Para’s version was excellent. In fact, it might be one of my top 3 favourite noodle dishes in Vancouver! The broth was so full of umami flavour and deep richness without being too salty. I wanted to drink the soup to the very last drop!
The noodles were firm (as requested) and all the accompaniments were very generous. If you are a fan of tantanmen this is a must order dish.
The veggie gyoza was my favourite of the two gyoza offerings available. The diced up tofu in the filling gave the gyoza a very creamy mouthfeel that was absolutely delicious.
What we ate: Premium Tonkotsu Ramen – Rich signature pork broth with chashu, 1/2 soft-boiled egg, kikurage, ginger, green onions, and nori ($12.95)
This is Gyo Para’s signature ramen and is only available in limited quantities. The broth was rich and flavourful and the chashu was fatty and delicious. If you are a fan of classic ramen this is a good order. Of the three we ordered it was my least favourite by virtue of it being the least exciting (for me).
Overall I had an excellent meal at Gyo Para. The service was friendly and the dishes that we ordered were fantastic.
The tantanmen and gyoza are some of the best I’ve had in Vancouver and reminiscent of what I had in Japan. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to all my friends and I cannot wait to be back! The only downside (for me), is that the restaurant is pretty far away from where I work and live, but it’s so good that I don’t mind making the long trek out!