Meet the Man serving up Japanese Bento Boxes in a Retail Park in Trafford

Bento Safari is the city's newest must-visit Japanese food destination. In White City Retail Park...

By Ben Brown | 5 October 2021

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There are many things that White City Retail Park in Trafford can provide you with.

Need a new tire on your Corsa? Head to Halfords. Need a new corner sofa because your dog was sick on your old one? Head to DFS. Need 400 Chicken Dippers for £3? That Iceland Food Warehouse is perfect.

But I bet you never thought you’d be going there for some of Manchester’s best Japanese cuisine did you?!

Well, Bento Safari is a brand-new Japanese Street Food concept, serving up amazing homemade Bento Boxes from the car park; bringing a hefty bit of Japanese culture into the most unlikely of places.

Head Chef and Owner Yusuke AKA Whisky (“Like the drink!”) has recently moved to the city from Japan, keen to explore Manchester’s mixing pot of cultures and cuisines, and have a go at promoting some of his outstanding authentic Japanese dishes.

Whisky has crafted a range of four homemade Bento Boxes, a meal that you’ll find being eaten by millions of people over in Japan every single day. Typically eaten at lunch time, Bento Boxes provide the perfect mix of nutrition for the hardworking Japanese employee, with rice, protein, salads, fruits and more – all within one delicious meal.

Whisky’s creations include a perfectly slow-cooked Pork Ginger (£7.50), which is so tender that it simply melts in your mouth, as well as a Salmon Bento (£8.50) which comes topped with his own miso and butter sauce.

Slow-cooked Pork Ginger Bento

There’s also a Vegan Japanese Curry (£7) and my favourite – the Japanese Pancake Bento (£6) which is Whisky’s homemade okonomiyaki – a very popular savoury pancake that originates from Osaka.

It’s topped with a special homemade okonomiyaki sauce (which tastes like a cross between brown sauce and BBQ) and lashings of Japanese mayonnaise.

Japanese Pancake Okonomiyaki

Each Bento Box is served with Japanese rice, salad and pickles and I have to say – they are absolutely superb.

Whisky has plans to introduce a Katsu Chicken Curry dish in the next few weeks, but before then you should definitely get yourself down to White City to try one of his creations.

Best of luck to Whisky – he’s doing some truly wonderful stuff over there in his tiny horsebox in the car park of the retail park – pop down and see him, say hi and be sure to try that Okonomiyaki!

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