Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Tai Wu Review

Tai Wu is a very big Chinese restaurant in Manchester UK, which was created initially with the chinese student population in mind - Manchester campus represents 1/3 of Manchester in terms of area - but it is also only a few hundred yards from Chinatown, on Oxford Road.
I was fortunate to visit the restaurant before it was finished with a group of architects, I could then see the gigantic kitchen. The ground floor is for proper restaurant food: dim sum and menu (also a special Szichuan menu in the evenings), and downstairs is a decent buffet (but then again just a buffet). Whenever you go you'll find it is packed, so get there before 12h30 during the week if you want to avoid the queues!

Since it opened, I have been many many times, for lunch, and a few times in the evening, since it is a stone throw from my office (yes yes I'm very lucky I know!). It makes a very reasonnable lunch with their half price dim sum from 12-4pm, usually we order 3 dim sum per person and a chinese tea and it comes up to about 6 pounds, a bargain. the more at the table the merrier although 3 is a fab number as the dim sum come in either 3 or 4 dumplings.

They have the classic har kao and sui Mai of course and a few other less commoin dumplings with scallops, cuttlefish, shark fin,
Sui Mai (above)

However, for Xiao Long Bao, you have to get there at the week end:
Xiao Long Bao (above) - soup filled dumpling, mind your shirt! -

Also, the week end lunches are more fun as you get the trolley ladies, who roam amongst the table to propose various dim sum although you can also order from the menu, or whatever is not on the menu either (that's a Chinese thing: even if it's not on the menu, chances are, they'll still have it. crazy and great!)
The trolley ladies

One of my favorites is the steamed chicken feet and minispare ribs on rice, not everybody's taste I know..

Steamed chicken feet and mini spare ribs on rice

I also go mad on the steamed aubergines dumplings and beef dumplings with ginger and spring onions.
steamed aubergines dumplings (filling is fish paste)

Below is the beef and mushroom dumplings:
beef and mushroom dumplings
And to crown the meal, the egg tarts, served warm. they are definitely not as good cold, so make sure you do get them warm. A few times, I could not get them as they ran out and believe me, it is veeeery disappointing...

Egg tarts

Egg tart

Also, I discovered via a friend of mine a great tea that makes a change from the jasmine tea usually served, called shiao mei (it's a more sbtled and perfumed tea), but I can't get it every time due to my pronounciation. Chinese languages are not very forgiving, and depending on the waiter's ears, you might or might not get the name through. but if you can get it, it's well worth it. I bet they have other types of tea, but unless you're chinese, it's hard to know...

Voila. I don't need to convince you, the restaurant is already packed!

Source: me of course!


Christina Kim said...

Beautiful photos, and way to get great shots in a very busy restaurant! I love dim sum. I love the variety.

ICook4Fun said...

I am surprised that you eat chicken feet. It's my fav too. My husband freaks out if he see me eat that. I will order stuff eggplants and egg tarts too. I am going for some dim sum this weekend.

Christelle said...

To Christina: I'm a huge fan of dim sum too, thanks again for dropping in, I'll see you on your blog :)

Christelle said...

To ICook4fun: The French eat chicken feet too! I use to love it in 'pot au feu' my mum used to make! :)
I go often for lunch so I've pretty much tried the whole menu! :)
I really enjoyed taking the photos so I think I'll be back with my cam to take the other dishes :)
Enjoy your meal next week end :)

catherine @ www.unconfidentialcook.com said...

Great dim sum! In LA it's very popular for Sunday brunch.

Chiara said...

Hi! Many compliments for your pictures and your "international" blog! I love food and I'm curious to know and try recipes from all over the world.
I'll visit you soon again :)
Ciao from Italy!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fabulous meal! The egg tarts look scrumptious!

Christelle said...

To Catherine, Chiara and 5 star foodie: Thanks for dropping in, I guess everybody likes a good dim sum meal (Yum Cha) :)

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Wow that looks great Xiao Long Bao are my favourite. It's sad that we can't get descent dim sum in New York City.

Apples and Butter said...

I love Dim Sum! I'm a pretty brave eater, but when we ordered the chicken feet and my boyfriend and I tried to partake, I couldn't handle it. You are definitely braver than I!

mycookinghut said...


I am surprised that you love chicken feet!! Not a lot of people (esp non-Asians) will go for this... I really want to say that you are very very adventurous in food!!!!

Christelle said...

To Catherine: Glad you enjoy it there too :)

To Mark: yes, I definitely love Xiao Long Bao, and my first one ever was my first meal in Hong Kong! :)

To Apples and butter &mycookinghut: No not so brave, in France we eat chicken feet in 'pot au feu' so I've always loved them ;)

Ricardo said...

Those egg tarts are almost like the Portuguese "pasteis de natas" but different, having said that they are lovely and delicious as ever. xxx

Moka said...

Quelle belle idée !

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