Gyo-O Japanese Restaurant, Richmond

I have a new project and Suanne hates me for it.

It is called the “Japanese Cuisinization of Suanne”. I had been pushing her to give raw fish a try. I roped in Arkensen and Nanzaro to put collective pressure on her. Each time she just coolly tell us “I just don’t like raw fish”. End of story.

Actually it was not that hard to break Suanne down. She is simply just too sweet and will do anything for her boys at home. My point of attack is Chirashi. It is something that was just milling around my mind over and over again. I had never tried it before and I wanted to try it. I wanted to try it WITH Suanne.

When I asked on Facebook and Tweeter a good place for Chirashi, back came a number of suggestions. One of them was Gyo-O. I like that name. I think it is pronounced as “Ghee-Yoh-Oh”. Is that correct? Whatever it is I will call it “Ghee-Yoh-Oh”.

Anyway, when I declared that we are having Japanese and we are driving outside of Richmond AND that mummy is going to try raw fish dish, the boys let out a cheer and gave me high fives. Suanne on the other hand refused to even look at me as she muttered “OK”.


Gyo-O is part of the Gyoza King group which operates several excellent Japanese restaurants. Among them includes Nanchuu on Alexandra Rd, Richmond and G-Men Ramen just across the parking lot from Gyo-O. They use to also have their name on a food cart in Richmond called Grazy-Dog but I don’t see them around anymore.

Gyo-O is located on the Continental strip mall on Sexsmith and Cambie.


Lovely joint. Excellent service.

The walls had this wooden panels with Japanese words on them. It was all over the restaurant. I have no idea what they were but if you ask me to guess, they could be their menu.

The service is very Japanese. Very courteous. I had never been to a Japanese restaurant where we had poor service before. Have you ever encountered bad service in a Japanese restaurant before? It is just how the Japanese people are and how this is all ingrained deeply in their culture.

The young waitress who served us speaks English in a heavy Japanese accent. This restaurant is definitely a … Japanese operated restaurant who truly knows and understands the cuisine. We were in the right place.


What I found most remarkable is that plastic can above. It was on every table.

People were leaving their donations on the table and yet no one even thought of dipping into it. There is this high degree of trust and honor within the society that it was just OK to leave so much money on the table and trust that people will do the honorable thing.

The quake and tsunami in Japan a couple of months ago devastated the entire country. Yet despite the destruction and all, the stories that warmed my heart was how as a people they responded to it with calmness and with honor. There were no looting. Stores and restaurants chipped in by lowering prices. Not many societies in this world would respond that way the Japanese did. This simple can on the table reminded me of the strength of the people.


There are lots of menu strewn at the tables. They are inserted into plastic covers. We looked high and low for that ONE item we are here for, the Chirashi. Strange, they did not have it. We checked with the waitress and she said they don’t have it. Dashed!

But they have a lot of other items. We particularly like that page above. Makes the selection easier for newbies like us.


The above is their other pages. Those are also very interesting dishes too. At least it is not the usual rolls you see in many other sushi restaurants. You can click on the pictures above to show it larger if you want to check it out.


Since the waitress told us that the Kaisen Yukke Don ($10.75) above is their most popular dish, we got that. This will do for Suanne’s initiation. It is just raw fish but at least it is all chopped up and not recognizable. 🙂

Yeah, when it was served to her, she spent a little while poking the ingredients like she is terrified of eating it. All for show … for me. Sort of like telling me I am a Nazi forcing her to eat something she does not want to. I know and agree … I am!

The waitress broken down the words of the dish for us. It is important to give Suanne as much knowledge as possible so she knows what she is in for. Kaisen means seafood and Yukke refers to their homemade sauce, their secret homemade sauce. I wanted to know what the secret homemade sauce is made of. The waitress shouted to the sushi chef at the sushi bar with the question. The answer came back. “It’s a secret”. Yeah, right.

I am happy to report that Suanne enjoyed this dish. Tremendously.

She said that it helped that the seafood had been chopped to small pieces. The mixed seafood were topped with a poached egg and shredded dry seaweed and chopped green onions. So it was a great concoction of flavours.


There is even a runny egg yolk in that dish. It serves as a good jhup on rice. Some of you know that besides raw fish, the picky fussy eater does not eat eggs too. LOL! Well, she had to this time.

See? Raw fish is not that bad. And neither is raw eggs. I asked Suanne to tell me in front of the boys “you rock, dad”.

She refused.

Whatever, right? To me the first phase of the “Japanese Cuisinization of Suanne” had been successfully executed.


Oh, the waitress told us that they are known for their specially homemade seasoned shoyu. Again it’s a secret, she smiled.

Suanne and I tried to figure out what it is made of. It tasted like Chinese canned choy sum which we serve with congee. You know what I am talking about? A bit sweetish here. It is good. Next time you are here, pay a bit more attention to their shoyu.

Suanne had been experimenting with concocting her own special blend of soya sauce. There were so many versions I totally lost track. We bought a lot of bottles of soya sauce a few months ago. Many of her versions is really good. Maybe one day she will share with you some of her soya sauce blend. It is uninteresting reading about it and so are the photos. With this you really need to taste it and it also all depends what you use it with too.


Their meals came with Miso soup which has seaweeds in them. What are these? You call them kelp, isn’t it?

Anyway, to us it was a nice touch.


Ben San (that is Japanese for the Cantonese Ah Ben and for the English Benny Boy) had the Uni Ikura Scallop Donburi. Expensive.

It came with Japanese seaweed (wakame) and a root like vegetable which we guess is burdock.


It is expensive because of the Uni (sea urchin). The dish was $19.25.

I have never had sea urchin this much and big before. Yeah, I had tiny miniscule taste of it but this one is really what it is. It tasted creamy and I guess it might feel strange eating this to some people. It felt strange to me too. I had to eat this nimbly. I just smear this on the rice and eat with that. Is that kind of the right way?

Someone told me that she had live uni before. It was moving when they cut it up in front of her. That I gotta try one of these days. Do you know where I can try it? (Forgot to ask earlier).

Anyway, does anyone know when is the Uni season? I thought that the waitress told us it was about the end of the sea urchin season already but I can’t remember completely now.


The other interesting item is the Ikura (fish roe). Some people I know can recognize from the size what kfind of fish the roe came from. We don’t. Some are tiny but these ones are large.

It tasted like sea water if you ask me. So, how do you eat this?


For me, I just assembled each item onto a spoonful of rice. I love this. Actually, so did Suanne.


Nanzaro ordered the Mixed Fry Don for ($10.50). There are prawn tempura, deep fried chicken, tokoyaki, chikuwa tempura with tartar sauce on seaweed rice.

The chikuwa tempura is like deep fried fish paste. The tokoyaki is like mini bakudanyaki which we had in the Tenku food cart in Richmond.

Nanzaro said if you like deep fried stuff, this is highly recommended.


The deep fried chicken is lightly battered but still crispy.


The Prawn Tempura was good. Light tasting and not greasy at all.


And there is the Roasted Pork Don too.

Just kidding. We stopped by Parker Place to buy some roast pork before we came here for Arkensen who could not join us during this lunch.


We also had the marvelous BBQ Salmon Skin ($5). We all enjoyed this a lot. It is served on a bed of salad greens and flavoured with teriyaki sauce and garnished with tobiko.

At first we thought it was just the skin and will be very crispy. Not really. It was not as crispy as we expected. It is because it is not just skin but had some meat on it too. So yeah, this is not like those deep fried salmon skin from Chinese hot pot place.

We love this just as much. Doesn’t this picture make you drool?


Gyo-O accepts cash only. Take a look at the totallings above. Isn’t it confusing? It looks like their prices included HST already.

Gyo-O on UrbanspoonBUSINESS HOUR

Sunday to Thursday: 12:00PM to 9:00PM
Friday and Saturday: 12:00PM to 10:00PM

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. iluvtofish

    Hmm, Now I know what I’m having for dinner tonight!

  2. El Camino

    Yes, your photos make me droool!
    The Gyoza King Group also has a new restaurant next door to the Villa Casino in Burnaby (On Dominion Street). It’s called “G-Be” and it serves similar dishes. Finally, a good izakaya-style place in Burnaby!!
    I have to say that Gyoza King is one of the most creative japanese restaurants in the city. They make it the way it is like it Japan. 80% of the so-called japanese restaurants in Vancouver could learn something from these guys. You also don’t need to be stuck-up like Tojo’s or pretentious like Hapa in order to be good.

    1. LotusRapper

      Gyoza King has the best chicken karaage in town, me thinks !

    2. Ben

      Hi El Camino: I had never been to Hapa before but strange to hear that they are “pretentious”. Anyway, the Guu group too is another very successful Japanese chain. Ben

  3. kat

    what ever happened to g-razy dog? i have yet to try it and every time i go i dont see the bright pink van parked outside pjs pets

    1. Ben

      Hi kat: Regarding Grazy Dog, I remember them telling me that they were just hoping to hang on until the weather becomes warmer. They were struggling and understandably, not many people really wanted eating hot dogs out in the open during winter. I hope they are going to make a comeback. Ben

      1. kat

        thanks for the info!
        I enjoy reading your blog

  4. LotusRapper

    Mmmmm, everything looks so good. I need to check this place out soon !

    Thanks Ben San 🙂

  5. Elaine

    Such a dictator Ben hahaha

    1. Ben

      Yup. That is what Nanzaro says of me too. He is very protective of his mum. 🙂

  6. zoi

    i used to see those sea urchins in one of the boats at the steveston wharf in richmond. sometimes they’re there on weekends. been wanting to try it…maybe i will soon.

  7. TimeToChow

    Ben may sound like a dictator. But he can’t fake it, he is too nice.

    I like Gyoza King’s contribution to Richmond. All three are above the normal standard for Japanese in Richmond. The chirashi is good here. They also have unagi tempura iirc. They are a tad pricier but imho worth it.

    The roasted don pork threw me off. Lol!

    1. Ben

      Hi TimeToChow: Shoot! I should have assembled a more convincing Roast Pork Don. Yeah, that gives me an idea. Next time, I will go get Char Siu and Siu Yook and make a sushi of that. I tell you, people will fall for that. 🙂 Ben

    2. Ben

      Oh one more thing. With all the great Chinese restaurants in Richmond, sometimes we forget that that Richmond has some of the better Japanese restaurants too. Just to mention a few: Hachi, Seto, Ichiro, the Tenku food carts and the Gyoza King restaurants.

  8. GiGi

    I WOULD NEVER SHARE that salmon skin!! NEVER! ha ha.

  9. neige.tyro

    i like this place~! seafood ramen too salty but the dons are truly a delight. i agree with ben stating that sometimes we overlook the other goodies in richmond.

  10. Bill Barilko

    Ben-the entire country of Japan was NOT devastated as per your post-life in Tokyo for instance remained much the same and today is back to normal.

    As to Roe smaller Yellow coloured eggs one sees in Japanese restaurants might be Flying Fish roe or even Herring not much flavour just crunchy bits.

    The larger orange eggs as per the pics are Chum Salmon-all Salmon roe is good bus Chum is the best.

    You ate frozen stuff though no way around that this time of year.

    Thanks for the heads up on this place I’ve driven by but now I’ll try to stop and try something.

    1. liz

      Perhaps the meaning was that the entire country of Japan was emotionally devastated.

    2. LotusRapper

      It’s obvious in physical terms not the entire country of Japan was affected by the earthquake. However economically, socially, emotionally …. the entire country was, and still is, affected. Reverberations of the impact on domestic industries and manufacturers have been felt around the world, particularly in the automotive and consumer technology sectors.

  11. Eric

    “when I declared that we are having Japanese and we are driving outside of Richmond AND that mummy is going to try raw fish dish, the boys let out a cheer and gave me high fives”

    But you didn’t had to drive outside of Richmond =P

    1. Ben

      Hi Eric: Oh yeah. It was a typo. I meant to say that we are NOT driving outside of Richmond. Ben

  12. Anastasia

    if you want to try fresh uni/sea urchin, the stevenson fishermen’s wharf in richmond is the place to go to. best fresh sea urchin i’ve ever had. one of the boats sell them for 10 bucks for 3, and the couple who works there told us that it’s best with a little bit of lemon juice and cilantro.

  13. HM

    I was told the best time to buy uni at the Steveston wharf is Sep & ya, they are usually 3 for $10. The purple uni is said to be the better quality.

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