551 Horai – Osaka, Japan – a Kansai region only outlet offers delicious shumai, gyoza and pork bun that you can eat while riding the shinkansen

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551 Horai can be found all over the Kansai region of Japan. They have various outlets in all the major cities in the region including Osaka, Nagoya, Kyoto and Hiroshima. You can even smell an outlet from afar. While most people would dislike the smell of dim sims in the West, I think 551 Horai’s shumai, gyoza and pork buns give off a pleasant aroma. (I think that is what attracted me to such an outlet.)

Our little red boxes from 551 Horai

We noticed on a lot of our train rides on the shinkansen that many of the passengers were carrying white bags with little red boxes. (I think many of them were locals. My view is that if it is popular among locals, my guess was that it was probably really good.) Also in the shinkansen, as opposed to the local trains, you are permitted to bring food with you and eat it on the train. Naturally, given we could bring food, we wanted to see if it was worth it given so many other passengers seemed to be enjoying the treats in these red boxes.

551 Horai’s various outlets are easy to spot thanks to the red sign. Ordering is also easy. Most stores will display plastic models of each dish in a window and for most foreigners, all you have to do is point at the box you want and it’ll be added to your order.

Riding in the shinkansen

551 Horai specializes in pork, which is reflected in so many of its offerings from shumai, gyoza and their butaman (or steamed pork buns). The shumai are nice and fatty. It was really nice to dig into. Their gyoza was nice, though a little thin, with a crispy base. The seasoning on their dumplings is really nice. You also get some sachets of mustard and dumpling sauce (which can get messy, so squirt it carefully).

If you have to pick, you should definitely try their butaman which is their specialty. (Which I tried way back in the days and it was really delicious with their mustard sauce.)

Here is a box of shumai and gyoza along with the sauce sachet from 551 Horai

551 Horai can only be found in the Kansai region on Japan. You can find it at various shopping mall’s food centers:

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