If you’re a fan of Asian food, here’s another Pan-Asian one for you and this time, it’s Tampopo. Tampopo was founded by couple of good friends, accountants if I’m not mistaken, whom decided to open a restaurant, incorporating street food from their travels around South East Asia. How cool is that? Tampopo is not a new face in Manchester’s food scene and has already two other branches up and running in Trafford Centre and Albert Square.
Hidden away in the underground of Corn Exchange’s food hub comes a new Tampopo with a new concept. It’s a different interior in comparison to its other branches, incorporating the mid 90s look. Its ambiance is great, dark but illuminated with the simplest of lanterns. Not a very formal setting, great for casual catch ups over a quick lunch or dinner.
Right, enough with the background as I have a feeling the food spread picture at the top is what you’re mainly engrossed with at the moment. Let’s get on with some food talk. All dishes I will be talking about are from the small plates section of the menu.
Before I begin, I’d like to state the position in which I’m writing from. So I come from South East Asia and I thought hard about it and decided I won’t compare it too much to the food back home. I mean, the food from the original place itself will always be better in terms of taste and authenticity. Thus, I’d base it more on my preference of flavours this time round.
Rendang Roti Bites is a Malaysian slow cooked beef stew served on roti which is basically bread in direct translation. I was quite excited when I first saw the roti because it is quite a common local food in Malaysia. It has the consistency and crunch similar to that of puff pastry. The dish was served with some onions on top and was perfect with the tender beef which was cooked with a creamy sauce. Not that I’m comparing, but it actually came quite close to the ones I’ve tasted back home! Loved it and wish the portion was larger!
Malaysian Chicken Satay: The chicken satay was served with a red onion & cucumber side and peanut sauce as a the dressing on top. It was slightly spicy and not bad but not the taste that I would’ve imagined. It’s quite different; I don’t hate it nor do I love it. It was an on the fence kind of dish for me. It needed more peanut sauce!
Thai Corn Fritters: Also known as “Thod Man Kao Pod” in Thai, it was served with a pickled cucumber with peanut sauce. This dish was good with the dip it came with however, I’d say that the corn fritter definitely needed more corn in it.
Tom Yam Soup is a Thai soup which is basically a hot & sour soup. The name speaks for itself to be honest. Tampopo has 3 selections to choose from : vermicelli noodles, mussels and prawn & vermicelli noodles (the one that was served). If you’re looking for something light to sip on, this would be ideal to order. It is light, sour and a nice kick of spicy to it.
Japanese Tempura is a typical dish you can find in a Japanese restaurant. This was king prawns fried in a light batter; a vegetable alternative is available on the menu as well. The ratio of the batter and the prawn was good. Not too much batter which would have overpowered the taste of the prawns. It was served with a Japanese sauce which I can;t seem to figure out. Let’s just say, it’s the correct sauce for a tempura. Haha!
Japanese Style Sticky Wings: Crispy fried chicken wings with a sweet soy sauce and chilli glaze. So who doesn’t love fried chicken? I liked this dish a lot because it was marinated well so you could really taste the sweetness of the glaze in the chicken. It was one of my favourites and I’d recommend you to order it.
Another favourite to add to my list were the Thai Coconut Prawns served with a sweet chilli dip. It was a favourite among my friends as well. Crispy crunch on the outer later and soft prawns on the inside. It was, to be honest, much better than the Japanese tempura and I’d recommend to order this instead of the tempura. You definitely need to squeeze the lime on top of the prawns as it gives it a zesty zingy taste to the flavour. This dish is among the top favourites of customers at Tampopo. Eatingupmanchester stamp of approval here!
I absolutely love Vietnamese Summer Rolls because of how healthy they are. And when it arrived on the table, I couldn’t contain my excitement to eat it. It is very fresh, minty and light. You can’t really go wrong with this dish to be frank. It’s a good vegetarian option of a small plate. A side note would be that the peanut sauce be thicker it its consistency.
My favourite part of any meal, dessert! We had the Malaysian Pancake, Vietnamese Banana Fritters and Coconut Chocolate Fondant and it was served with matcha, cinnamon and black sesame ice cream. I liked the coconut chocolate fondant the most. Was not much a fan of the other two though. However, I loved every single ice cream that the desserts were served with. Matcha, cinnamon, black sesame?! Yum! You can actually just order scoops of these ice creams as a dessert.
With all being said, Tampopo is definitely a place that serves East Asian street food at a quick pace. If you’re around the corner for a quick office break, pop in for a speedy lunch. The food is good with fast service. It’s not over the top grand like other restaurants, but it sticks with the concept it intends to portray. Anyway, my favourites were the coconut prawns, Malaysian rendang and the summer rolls not to forget the coconut chocolate fondant and the ice creams! So if you’re looking for my recommendations, those will be it.
P.S Tampopo does Deliveroo and it is mighty popular!