Har Gau


Monday, 3 November 2008

Manchester weekend

This is the lasagne that greeted us upon our arrival in Manchester (cold, dark and windy). Manchester, that is. Not the lasagne.

While the rest of the world are grappling with global warming, Manchester is on full-freeze mode. The milk keeps better on the window sill than it does in the fridge.

Heck, penguins are leaving the North Pole in hordes, all rushing to be on the first express train to Manchester. Seen a polar bear in the park? Yes, he got on the same train. Seen some baby seals in your local chippie? Now you know why.

Anyhow, it may be Arctic-like up North, but looking at the pictures, you wouldn’t believe it was that cold. I mean, look at that.

We were in Manchester for the weekend, catching up with some old friends. Having left from London at 7.30pm on the Friday, we arrived in Manchester at about 11pm which is quite good, considering the traffic and all that.
For those who don’t know, as soon as the congestion zone restrictions stop (6pm), London roads become like hamsters diving into a bowl of feed.


From above, the highways and town roads look as though there are many little ants, holding torchlights, at a party.

So, a journey from London to Manchester consists of:

2 hours getting out of London
1 hour on the motorway
1 hour getting into Manchester

When we made our way to Manchester town on Saturday, around lunchtime, the birds were singing (pop classics), the sun was shining, and the air smelt like autumn. Leaves on the trees were a bright shade of orange.

There are 3 main roads which lead from South Manchester (Fallowfield, Rusholme, Didsbury) into town. More on that in the next instalment of ‘Interesting things to chat about at parties’.

For now, please make do with interesting sights around Manchester.

The town hall

In case you don't have a map

The Manchester wheel

Hot dog stand in town

Market St. (main shopping street)

Shopping in town

Due to this post being quite long, I’ve divided it into sections.

Curry – Episode One (Luke Skywalker, I had your curry)

On Saturday, we went to This’n’That for lunch. This (pun intended ha ha) is actually a little shop located off a main street in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. The shop is on Soap Street, it has a little sign saying This’n’That, and a red door shows the spot.

It looks something like this (because this is not it)

The name of the street

You may be wondering what the big deal is about this place. Well, the big deal is that you don’t find many cafĂ©-style curry restaurants like this in Manchester, or any other town. The chairs and tables in this place are similar to those you use at picnics, i.e. yellow, plastic and the chairs and tables are joined. There aren’t fancy accolades on the walls, no TimeOut awards for ambience, but why on earth would any restaurant need that when it has

Lots and lots of curry.
3 meat curries and rice for £4. The menu changes daily, and on the Saturday that we went, it was lamb, chicken, spinach, potato curry, and some other curries which I didn’t try. The guy takes a plate, scoops rice on, and you pick which curry gets on your rice.

If you’re greedy like us, you’re likely to say ‘Could I have a bit of everything?’ at which point the niceness of the guy is tested, really tested, and he says ‘No.’

Never hurts to try. Especially if you’re a cheapskate.

3 curry plates later, and we’re off to have some popcorn in the cinema.

Curry – Episode 2 (Luke Skywalker, you shouldn’t have had ordered more curry)

Variety is the spice of life, as they say. If you’ve had one curry, you’ve not had them all.

So, we ordered more curry as we sat in front of the telly, watching X Factor and South Park. This time, the curry was from Moon, a curry restaurant which also delivers based in Withington. Back when we used to have Moon’s on a weekly basis, the standard of the food was very high. I also used to know which curry it was that I liked, which explains why I ordered something completely wrong this time around.

Curry comes in plastic bags, as opposed to the idea that they have to be cooked from scratch

Chicken tikka masala

Medium prawn curry

Bombay Potato
Dim Sum – Pearl City

Finding a parking space in Chinatown on Sunday is kinda like queuing for the lobster at a buffet – time-consuming, not very satisfying, and someone always gets there before you.

However, this time, it was easy (only 10 rounds of Chinatown).

The restaurant in which we were going to have our Dim Sum was Pearl City.
There is a 50% off offer on the Dim Sum items, although you might need someone to tell you about this (me, in this case). This is because it’s not on the menu, it’s not on the signs outside the shop, and in fact, no one mentions this to you at any time during the ordering, eating or paying. However, this seems to be the way Chinese restaurants work in Chinatown.

You have to have contacts who know people who recommend people who tell you which shops are best to go to.

If you have the cheek to go into an unrecommended restaurant, you may very well end up paying full price for the meal.
For our group of six, we had:

Chicken wings in BBQ sauce

Cheong fun 'tai pai tong'

Carrot cake

Chicken feet and ribs with rice

Fried squid

Beef fried hor fun

Siew mai

Lotus leaf glutinous rice

Char siu pau
All this totalled £42, cheap by Manchester standards.

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