Like most couples, when Dr HH and I first began courting we used to go to a lot of effort to see each other. I was working until 6pm in the city centre while he was working long hours as a trainee teacher out in the suburbs. He used to drive into the centre of Manchester in rush hour traffic and pay extortionate parking prices so we could go for dinner and perhaps on to the cinema, where he would invariably fall asleep. Tampopo was one of our regular haunts in those days. It’s an Asian restaurant near the town hall, and it serves vegan, vegetarian and meat/fish dishes.
Even if we still lived in Manchester, it’s unlikely that we’d still go to all that effort to meet in the city centre after work. But we did venture into Tampopo again during our Christmas holidays, and it was really nice to be back. Dr HH ordered the tempura, which is marked on the menu as vegan – but when we used to go three years ago, the staff told us that it actually contained egg. I was thinking about asking this time to see if it really is vegan now, but whatever they replied I don’t think I would have risked it. Perhaps I’m just paranoid. Anyway, Dr HH reported that the batter was light and delicious.
I played it safe with the fresh spring rolls. I’ve had these a few times, and they are reliably good: well-stuffed, with lots of fresh veg, and a delicious peanut sauce.
There are at least four vegan options on the menu for mains, and I’m always impressed by this one: tamarind “duck” tofu. It was absolute perfection: the tofu was really well prepared, the fried onions on top were delicious and the greens were perfectly wilted. The real highlight was the tamarind sauce: so flavoursome and delicious.
After we’d been to the cinema (just like the old days) and got the tram home, I snaffled a kiss from Dr HH and he said: “Your mouth is still smelly.” Apparently this was a compliment meaning that I still tasted delicious from the tamarind sauce. Hmm. I feel like he might have phrased that differently back in the early days!