One of the unexpected delights of spending the last two years working in central Manchester has been lunchtimes in the food court in the markets in the Arndale Centre. I don’t mean the ‘Food Court’, which is a nightmare of fast food chains and ‘mall rat’ teenagers, but in the corner of the Arndale that adjoins Market Street there are some great ‘ethnic’ restaurants.
For around a fiver you can enjoy large, tasty portions of Indian, Greek, Chinese, Caribbean and Polish food.
And, as of a early June (2014), Vietnamese food, courtesy of ‘Viet Shack’.
And now that the crowds have subsided I managed to give it a try.
The menu isn’t large, but includes Vietnamese Spring Rolls – the translucent kind – with a selection of fillings, traditional Vietnamese buns, and some ‘burgers’.
I tried a couple of King Prawn spring rolls, these were served with a dip that was mixed up on the spot by the server using peanut ketchup and ‘Rooster’ sriracha chilli sauce.
She’d clearly done this before, as she instinctively produced a dip that was well balanced, hot and sweet.
For the main (I don’t normally do two courses of fast food, but felt obliged to try the spring rolls) I tried the ‘Cow Burger’.
However this was not a burger like any other I’d had in my stay in Manchester, comprising strips of marinated, grilled steak with salad and sauces. This was beautifully balanced, displaying the traditional hot, sour, sweet and spicy characteristics of good Asian food. For the price – a bargain at £3.50 – this was a taste sensation.
There are whispers that they might expand to a ‘proper’ restaurant somewhere in the nearby Northern Quarter, I will look out for it if and when I return to Manchester.