Tampopo Trafford Centre
One of the better eating options in the sprawling domed food court hell that is The Orient is Tampopo Trafford Centre. Situated on the upper level, it gives you a prime viewing spot over the crowds below, or you can escape inside for some relative peace and quiet. Relative, mind. This is the Trafford Centre – there’s no such thing as a relaxing lunch here.
But that’s not why you came, anyway. Tampopo’s menu of fast, fresh East Asian food is well suited for refuelling mid-shop or post-cinema. Dishes span Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, and Japan, and include noodles, stir fries, curries and salads. There’s also street food-style small plates: gyoza, Korean chicken wings, spring rolls, and the like.
The food is chef-cooked in their open kitchen (not pre-made in an industrial unit somewhere) and their proper way of doing things is evident in the intact flavours of their herbs, spices and fresh produce. Recommended dishes include the laksa, the katsu curry, the spicy Thai salad, and any number of those street-food starters (the sharing platter is a good way to explore this part of the menu).
For drinks, they have a decent selection of wines, plus East Asian beers, and some interesting softs and hot drinks, such as flowering tea and Vietnamese coffee. Desserts include exotically-flavoured ice creams, and churros with caramel sauce – which may seem out of place but aren’t. They’ve been popular in the Philippines since Spanish colonial times, apparently.
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