Thursday, 24 April 2008


As a film historian, Tampopo has a special place in my heart. This pan-Asian noodle bar is named after the 1986 Juzo Itami film, 'Tampopo', an extraordinary Zen hymn to soup and sex. To those of you who haven't seen it, see it; to those of you who have seen it, see it again! Sorry, I digress. I went to Tampopo in search of the ever elusive bowl of Pho. Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup usually associated with breakfast, but is , as they say, a movable feast. Anthony Bourdain asked "Is there anything better to eat on this planet than a properly made bowl of Pho?". I can't answer that as there is precious little to compare it with in Manchester, which is notoriously short of Vietnamese restaurants. This Pho was wonderful.

It was fragrent, soothing and restorative, and just what I needed after an encounter with the pure Kurtzian evil that manifests itself as my boss. Manchester....I'm still only in Manchester!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008


With Tibet in the news, I had a brainstorm and headed to the Manchester Buddhist Centre in search of sustenance, if not enlightenment. I know Tibet is not a country but it is 'an ethnic autonomous region' and that's close enough, as is the Buddhist Centre being its representative in Manchester. The attached cafe is called 'Earth' and sells reasonable vegetarian food at reasonable prices. Not being of the Buddhist or vegetarian faith, I felt like the Devil taking Mass and ordered the Lentil and Veg stew.

If the Chinese Authorities recently described the protesting monks as 'the scum of Buddhism', then the stew could equally be described as 'the gruel of Buddhism'. If I had to eat this everyday, I would protest too. It was as bland as Kundun. No wonder I once witnessed a Buddhist monk, in his full robes, tuck into a hearty plateful of roast beef and yorkshire pud.