Guide

Thai and Pan-Asian restaurants in Manchester that we love

4 weeks ago

East Asia is a beautiful and diverse region with cuisines that can drift from refreshing and fragrant to spicy and aromatic. Thai flavours are created with a special and unique blend of the 5 tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and spicy. While Vietnamese cuisine relies heavily on fresh herbs to excite the palate, and cumin, cardamom and fenugreek are some of the main flavours found in Malaysian cookery.

These restaurants across Manchester do a great job at representing their respective corners of the Pan-Asian region, with some choosing to explore different flavours from across East Asia.

  • Tampopo Thai Restaurant Manchester Albert Square
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    Tampopo Manchester Albert Square

    Pan Asian

    Tampopo Albert Square is the original venue in this Manchester-born chain from restaurateur David Fox. It was here that they devised and tweaked their winning formula of fast, fresh and affordable East Asian food served in an informal, canteen-style environment, ideal for quick lunches or evening meals with groups of friends, before expanding to the Corn Exchange, the Trafford Centre, and beyond.

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  • Ca Phe Viet in Ancoats, Manchester specialises in Vietnamese coffee and banh mi.
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    Ca Phe Viet

    Vietnamese

    Serving up Vietnamese coffee in the traditional and modern way, freshly filled banh mi baguettes plus bowls of aromatic and hearty pho soup, Ca Phe Viet is an independent cafe on the edge of Ancoats, and Manchester’s very first specialist Vietnamese coffee shop.

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  • Goosnargh duck at District, a new-wave Thai restaurant in Manchester city centre.
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    District

    Thai

    The ring road end of Oldham Street seems an odd location for a hyper-stylised nouveau-Asian restaurant where your only options are two budget-pushing tasting menus. But ‘odd’ is District all over – deliberately so, and with varying results.

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  • My Thai Restaurant Northern Quarter Manchester
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    My Thai Manchester Northern Quarter

    Thai

    The clue’s in the name and My Thai serves up dishes inspired by the street food markets of Bangkok – as bright and vibrant as the decor in Manchester’s second “shack”, following John Dalton Street where the small chain first branched out to from its Yorkshire roots.

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  • Exterior view of Rosa's Thai Cafe on Deansgate
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    Rosa’s Thai Cafe Manchester

    Thai

    Starting out in a no-frills East End caff already called Rosa’s, Khao Kho-born Saiphin dished up authentic Thai flavours with a friendly smile to create a relaxed atmosphere, which now extends nationwide. While it’s suggested that Rosa’s food is best enjoyed as a Thai-style meal where dishes are shared, no one will mind if you order just for yourself.

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  • An example of the dishes at Pho Cue restaurant in Manchester China Town
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    Pho Cue

    Vietnamese

    “The food speaks for itself,” says Cue Tran, owner of the Pho Cue Vietnamese kitchen, whose aim is to take the authentic street food dishes of his home country and give them a modern “Instagrammable” twist while retaining their flavour, freshness and family traditions.

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  • A prawn dish at Siam Smiles Thai Restaurant in Manchester
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    Siam Smiles

    Thai

    Siam Smiles is famous amongst foodies in the city. Once a tiny café squeezed in next to some supermarket shelves in Chinatown, it now has (slightly) bigger premises but the same redoubtable chef manning the wok. Chef May is a bit of a legend on the Manchester food scene because everyone loves a story. She only took up cooking when the chef left and her professional training came down to watching YouTube videos of Thai cooks. Nevertheless, the food tastes like it has been years in the perfecting – and in a way it has: real recipes passed down from generation to generation and then sent out into the world via the magic medium of Internet.

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  • Thai Kitchen No.6, Manchester, pork and rice
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    Thai Kitchen No.6

    Thai

    Thai Kitchen No.6 is a real family restaurant. That means it’s a homespun affair without the sheen of some other South East Asian venues in Manchester.

    But that doesn’t matter. There are plenty of decadent palaces around if that’s what you’re after. At Thai Kitchen No.6 the interior is basic but there’s a warm welcome and the sort of food eaten by families all over Thailand although they’ve turned the spiky heat down for British palates – perhaps a notch too far if you’re looking for the authentic experience.

    There’s a focus on salads with real Thai staples that don’t always make the journey to Western menus.

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  • Thaikhun Thai Restaurant Spinningfields Manchester
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    Thaikhun

    Thai

    The original in what is now a chain of Thai streetfood venues founded by Sukhothai province-born Kim Kaewkraikhot (also behind the Chaophraya empire), the cavernous Spinningfields Thaikhun comes complete with tuk tuk at the entrance and the promise of a true taste of Bangkok.

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  • Try Thai in Manchester's Chinatown at night
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    Try Thai

    Thai

    Up some steps and through a doorway flanked by two statuettes making the wai, and you’re welcomed into Try Thai, strong on liveliness, bright colours and cocktails, and the punchy flavours of Thailand, smack bang in the centre of Manchester’s Chinatown.

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  • A bowl of pho topped with fresh herbs from Viet Shack Manchester Ancoats, a recommended Vietnamese restaurant
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    Viet Shack Manchester Ancoats

    Vietnamese

    Nelson Lam and Leo Tran’s Viet Shack empire started with a humble takeaway stall in the Arndale Market which quickly gained a reputation for its dazzling lunch dishes at bargain prices.

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