I noticed 551 Horai when we were about to exit Kyoto Station. 551 Horai is a takeout dim sum stall that is always lined-up. For this post, let’s listen to “Dim Sum” by CouCou Disco.
Over the course of a nine days, I tried almost everything. Steamed pork buns (650 Yen/2 buns), pork dumplings (650 Yen/10 pieces), shrimp siu mai (600 Yen/12), gyoza (300 Yen/10), and sticky rice (380 Yen). All the food is freshly made in the back and served to you hot, in takeout boxes.
The best of the bunch were the pork buns. The bun itself is soft and fluffy. The meat mixture was incredibly juicy and flavourful. I kept burping up onion and garlic breath afterwards, so I’m guessing there’s a lot of it. I give the pork buns a perfect score – 5/5.
551 Horai sells three types of sticky rice. I picked the option with pork. I liked the rice to meat and mushroom ratio. This is better than what I can get in Vancouver or Richmond. The little packets of spicy mustard kicked it up a notch. I thought it was little pricey for the portion, but I know how time consuming it is to make sticky rice, so I’ll give it a score of 4/5.
The pork and shrimp siu mai dumplings were bland and greasy, even with the mustard. No discernable flavor or texture, just soft and squishy. I’d give them 2/5. I wouldn’t order this again.
The gyoza was also not memorable. Like the other dumplings, the wrapper would stick together and had no discernible texture or flavor. 2.5/5. Don’t bother.
When I get back in 2019, L and I will just stick to the buns. Though small in size, these buns are densely packed and filling. One makes for a hearty snack. Two for a meal. Three to make ready and four to go.