One type of food that I really missed out on during my years down south is Asian food, which is easily one of my top choices. I don't mean your typical Chinese takeaway with too-sweet sweet and sour sauce and prawn crackers either. I mean flavourful, spicy and delicious Asian food from different countries and with varied characters.
Over the last six months, I have become completely enamored with Asian cuisine, meaning it has become my go-to when I can't decide what I want to eat and my number one choice when going out with people. There are three places in particular that I really love and that I would sorely miss should we ever go back down to the south west.
Here are my top Asian eateries from those I have tried so far:
Previously, I had been getting my sushi from Wasabi, which is good but not as good as Itsu (although I do like Wasabi for hot food). Not only does Itsu have a greater range of sushi to choose from, it has a lot more flavour. As soon as you walk in the restaurant, you're greeted by rows of colourful sushi to choose from, as well as salads, snacks, drinks and desserts.
One thing that sets Itsu sushi apart from more standard offerings is that it isn't just a case of bits of fish popped on top of rice. They include different sauces, flavours and other tasty stuff that ensures no mouthful is bland. You also have a choice of other foods, with the dumplings and seaweed sheets being two of my favourite options for accompanying my sushi.
The only thing I have against the packed sushi is that the soy sauce that comes with them is far too salty. You're much better off eating in and making the most of the range of sauces you'll find on each table. This also means you get to enjoy the modern and attractive interior of Itsu, although you're better off sitting at a chair rather than perching on one of the fixed stools.
The menu is reasonably small, but there are options for vegetarians and pescatarians (such as myself). If you have a nut allergy though, I'd steer clear as most menu items are served with peanuts or feature nut sauces.
My favourite dish is Bun, usually with king prawns or tofu and with standard heat (I like hot food but I find the spicy version means you lose some of the delicate flavour. This dish is vermicelli noodles with lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts, onion and peanuts all served with a gorgeous sauce, creating a really fresh taste.
I also love the Goi Cuon rice paper wraps, which are crunchy, fresh and really flavourful. I recommend having the peanut sauce with them, which adds a richness to the rolls.
I usually get my food to go when I head to Pho as Trinity Kitchen can be quite loud, especially at peak times.
The place is pretty nondescript. In fact, the restaurant next door has got so much going on in the windows that you probably wouldn't even look at Fuji Hiro. But a restaurant doesn't need to look amazing so long as it serves great food, so you won't be disappointed.
Whether you eat meat, seafood or are totally veggie, there is something for you on the menu. However, I would say to go for the Yaki Soba and the veggie dumplings, especially if you tip the dumpling dipping sauce over the noodles once you're finished with it. The dumplings are so good that I have actually had dreams about them and even my hard-to-please husband was blown away.
If you're going to go for a starter and a main (you can have everything come separately or together), it is worth making the most of the offer they have on. You can get two courses and a Japanese beer for between £15 and £16 (depending on whether you have meat or tofu).
There's a reason Fuji Hiro is a bit of an institution in Leeds, so I'd recommend trying it out for yourself.