Published on September 21st, 2012 | by thehungrymanc0
Tampopo – Happy Birthday
No – you div. Not the 1985 “Ramen” Western (get it?) movie. The Restaurant of the same name in Albert Square that is now 15 years old.
That said the central theme of said same movie is the joy of food so perhaps there is a link there somewhere. Or perhaps that Tampopo translated from Japanese means “dandelion”. I like the idea of diners to Tampopo being as dandelion seeds on the wind – able to float around South East Asia. Yeah. Ok. Enough of that talk.
Truth is I have no idea where the name came from but I am well aware that in my earlier forays into eating out in Manchester, older siblings would insist I gave this place a go. So I did, and now after 15 years on the Manchester map and with openings at The Trafford Centre, Bristol, Reading and the location to which we were invited to help celebrate their birthday – The Corn Exchange (yes you ‘eard - not The Traingle).
For those that are not familiar with Tampopo it is an informal place where strangers sit on trestle style tables and mull over dishes from Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. As part of the celebrations there were tables featuring dishes from the regular menu all expertly described by the chefs that cook them.
There were 14 different dishes to try on the night and you probably wouldn’t be surprised to read that I got through the lot.
Japan: Vegetable Tempura, King Prawn Tempura & Chicken Katsu Curry
Korea: Bulgogi Rolls & Chap Chae
Vietnam: Goi Cuon & Pho
Thailand: Som Tam, Pad Thai, Khao Soi & Tom Yam
Indonesia: Nasi Goreng
I was familiar with some of these dishes more so than others, particularly Tom Yam, Nasi Goreng and Chicken Katsu Curry. I wasn’t convinced by the Goi Cuon although it was fun to sit with chef Kaz and make them for ourselves. But the stand out for me was the Khao Soi which, as the cooler weather takes hold, was lovely and warming and cosy. Yes cosy. For full details see the menu here Tampopo Menu
I like Tampopo because it is relaxed, there are a few different cuisines to try under one roof and for those that tend to stick with chinese food there are options that may help open the door to foods from other countries. It certainly did for me some years back.
So happy birthday Tampopo and here’s to many more. Can’t believe this particular one has been here 5 years aswell.