When I visited Hong Kong during my travels last year, I was overwhelmed by the energy and buzz of the city, its people and of course, the incredible food. Authentic and delicious Chinese food is kind of hard to come by in Leeds however, with the majority of Chinese restaurants being tacky takeaways or dated restaurants adorned with crappy silk and dragon motifs.
For someone so keen on being healthy, Chinese food has always been a big No-No for me as it’s famously laden with additives and colourings such as MSG.
MSG, is a flavour enhancer (mono-sodium glutamate) but it causes you to feel really sluggish, dehydrated and tired, as well as not filling you up so you end up craving another meal an hour later.
So although I actually like the taste of Chinese food, it’s something i’ve always avoided because it never leaves me feeling satisfied and like I need to down three pints of water to feel normal again afterwards. That was until this week, when I went down to Wellington Street, Leeds to try out Man’s Markets – a quirky new Chinese restaurant that opened in Leeds just last month.
As a brand new concept for Chinese dining in Leeds, Man’s Markets not only looks different with its Hong Kong inspired decor, but they also use absolutely no MSG in any of the food… hallelujah!
When you enter the restaurant, it’s like walking into a Chinese Narnia. You’re literally transported as if by magic to the streets of Hong Kong, with everything at Man’s Markets being entirely authentic thanks to owner, Ray Chan’s family heritage.
He’s really nailed attention to detail with the decor, and I especially loved these leaning seats in the bar area. The restaurant itself is awesome too and when you feel like ordering your food, you don’t have to hail a waiter either; you simply write your order on a card that says ‘Feed Me’ and hang it from a peg above your table. This is pretty genius and unique, especially as it means you can continue chatting with your friends rather than constantly trying to make eye contact with your waiter to order your food or another drink.
Speaking of the food, it’s pretty spectacular.
I ordered Firecracker King Prawns, Har Gao Dim Sum (prawns!), Sweet and Sour Chicken and Broccoli, Chilli and Garlic. I was hungry, ok!
And thank god I was, because when I arrived I never wanted to stop eating…
If you order one thing that I did, make sure it’s the firecracker prawns. They’re like tempura battered King Prawns smothered in the most beautiful, delectable spicy, creamy sauce.
Another special mention goes to the sweet and sour chicken, which is served on a dangly skewer so that you can pour the sweet and sour sauce over the chicken and it drips stickily down onto your plate.
Man’s Markets wants to re-energise Chinese food and make it more accessible for modern day diners. I believe they’ve achieved this with a creative menu and food that’s rich in flavour, culture and style.
Come and join the adventure…
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