For the past few years I have visited the Education Show held in Birmingham’s NEC. On previous visits I’ve made do with food from the motorway services or the coffee shops within the exhibition centre. This year, I thought I’d treat myself to something better… much better!
Having never eaten in Birmingham before my first thought was to book one of the city’s 3 Michelin starred establishments. My first choice, Purnell’s was closed for Saturday lunch but I managed to secure a late lunch at Simpsons (blog post to follow).
Wanting to check out a little of what else the city had to offer, I asked Twitter were else I should try – I received a lot of recommendations for `Loves restaurants and the city’s curry houses but in the end it was a suggestion from Manchester/Birmingham based blogging duo ‘Pretty and Tasty’ (@Prettyandtasty on twitter) that piqued my interest.
Min Min Noodle Bar, opened in June 2012 by a Vietnamese / Chinese family. Judging from online reviews and sites such as Urbanspoon and Trip Advisor (not that I usually take much heed of the latter), it has quickly built up a good reputation for serving tasty and great value food.
There are two menus - one that seemed to feature a selection of dishes commonly found as part of the majority of ‘westernised’ noodle bar repertoires.
Whereas the accompanying menu insert showcased a myriad of wonderful sounding authentic dishes such as: ‘Salt and pepper chicken gizzard’ ‘Pipa tofu’ ‘Shredded ox tripe in Thai sauce’ and ‘Jelly fish in mustard and scallion.’
Pleasingly, they also sell Bubble Tea – I fell in love with this on my travels in South East Asia and plumped for the traditional chilled, sweet milk tea with black tapioca peals or ‘boba’.
Salt & pepper soft shell crabs - If I see soft shell crabs on a menu, it’s pretty much a given that I’m going to order them; add salt and pepper seasoning and it’s a dead cert! These were deliciously prepared – crispy, meaty with a good chilli kick.
Pork trotters with sweet vinaigrette – these were sensational! The combination of the subtly sweet sour sauce with the fatty, porky goodness and Chinese leaf was absolutely bang on! Since eating, I’ve hardly stopped thinking about how good it was… it’s got to be worth the 3 hour round trip to Birmingham alone.
The soft noodles were also good and the portions were huge and keenly priced – this was just a flying visit but I’d definitely return to try more of the menu (and more trotters) next time I’m in town.