Eat to live or live to eat?
Not sure if it’s a Thai saying but I’ve heard this question/phrase since I was a child and to this very day I am not sure what to make of it. Eat to live or live to eat?
The first month in Manchester, although the weather was nice and warm, was a big change for me. Apart from the NfP project, I didn’t know where to get proper grocery or where the locals eat. Good food, at least to me, is a necessity. So after 10 full months, I would like to recommend some good, affordable restaurants here in Manchester, especially for those of us who will be working hard throughout the summer.
Today will be all about the best of Asia.
Chinese: ”Taiwu” But it’s closed. So I’d say go for “Taipan” (behind the silver University Place building) for dim sum. They also have this really nice scallops + egg dish and yes, roast duck. Service is mediocre. Budget around £8 per person for dim sum and up to £20 for a-la-carte. http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/341/1403539/restaurant/Tai-Pan-Manchester
Japanese: “Yuzu” at Chinatown for the most authentic Japanese. Yes, I’m not Japanese but that’s what the Japanese people said. A limited menu and the restaurant seats 30 max but it’s good, simple food. My favourite is the chirashi or rice topped with raw fish. Dishes range from £8 to £15. Go there for a very affordable lunch set, if I remember correctly, they offer Tonkatsu (pork cutlet) lunch set for around £6. http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/341/1571948/restaurant/Yuzu-Manchester
Korean: There are three Korean restaurants that I know in Manchester, they are “Koreana” by Deansgate, “Ban di Bul” by Albert Square and “Baekdu” by Shudehill bus station. To be honest, I can’t say one stands out from another. Koreana is more fancy and I heard that Park Ji Sung likes to go here (rumour or not?). They offer affordable lunch sets from £8 to £12 whereas a-la-carte can go up to almost £20 per person. Ban di Bul and Baekdu are more down to earth. Try BBQ at Ban di Bul and Kimchi Chigae (soup) at Baekdu. Baekdu also do these big, t0 share hot pots. Budget around £15 per person, add more if you’re into Hite (Korean beer) or Soju. http://www.koreana.co.uk/ http://www.bandibul.co.uk/ http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/341/1575895/restaurant/Baekdu-Manchester
Malaysian: “Ning” in Northern Quarter offers the best Malaysian food in Manchester, actually it’s the only Malaysian restaurant I have been to. But it’s good. Try the cucur udang (vegetable tempura) with this spicy peanut sauce and the Gado Gado salad. For main, go for the Nasi Lemak – coconut rice with chicken curry and condiments. Dessert is oh so heavenly, I had the banana fritters. Beyond words. Be prepared to splurge. Budget for almost £30 per person including dessert and drinks. They do offer this two course deal at £14.95 per person Tuesdays to Sundays except Friday and Saturdays after 7pm, but unfortunately the Nasi Lemak is not one of the options. http://www.ningcatering.com/home.php?stop_mobi=yes
Thai: “Try Thai” in Chinatown offers the most authentic Thai in Manchester and you gotta take my word for it, coming from a Thai. Actually I’ve just been there today. Try the thai style grilled pork with sticky rice and the steamed red curry with seafood. The soft shell crab are also great. Pick your sauces. The strawberry mojitos are to die for (thanks to Neil, he actually recommended them to me) or go for Singha beer. Budget around £20-£25 for dinner and a drink. http://www.try-thai.co.uk/
Vietnamese: “Vnam” on Oldham road. This place is quite out of the way but I’d say it’s worth it if you’re into fresh rolls/ deep fried spring rolls dipped into the clear, tangy vietnamese sauce. For main, go for the grilled pork + spring rolls over noodles. Dishes are very affordable ranging from £3-£8. http://www.vnam.co.uk/
But after all everyone’s palates are different. For next time, I’ll try to stay on the European continent.