I feel like every year Ramadhan becomes more and more special. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older? Appreciating the beauty and benefits of the blessed month more? Or maybe because I’m getting used to the long fasts and knowing how to handle them better?
Whatever it is, this year was wonderful but of course it felt like it went really fast and I wish I had done more. Nevertheless Eid arrived on Tuesday and Mo and I spent the day visiting and enjoying the company of our family and friends.
Wednesday, back at work and then our usual Eid tradition after catching up with loved ones is complete, is to visit intu Trafford Centre. It’s a mere ten minutes from our house, so we do tend to go quite often anyway, and I know some people have mixed feelings about the commercialisation of religious holidays – however I have always loved that shopping centres and many other places in the UK recognise our Eid and appreciate that this is a special day.
And that aside, Eid is a time for CELEBRATION!
It’s supposed to be a happy event, one where we smile and laugh and enjoy each others company. So long as you are being respectful and kind hearted then go and have fun!
The majority of intu Trafford Centre dwellers around the Greater Manchester area are of Asian decent – so there are usually a number of pop up performances from local artists around the centre such as Bollywood music and dancers. This year was no different, except the performances were very different – very cool! And you can watch some of them on my insta stories – although I’d recommend seeing them in real life too! (not everything has to happen on the screen).
There’s also a henna workshop that’s due to start this evening and continues over the weekend (I love having henna done this time of year! I got so desperate I ended up putting on my own earlier this week) and many other activities at the centre which you should check out if you’re looking for something to do with the family over the weekend.
My mum and dad have been in Manchester, spending time with my beautiful sister and her even more beautiful son and after mum had cooked not one, but two amazing meals for us on Eid, we wanted to treat her to her favourite restaurant so she could sit back and enjoy.
intu Trafford Centre kindly gifted me my very own Eid gift card this year to treat my mum, so Mo and I hopped over to the centre after work to have a mini shop and and then meet the familia for some good quality nosh.
We also took advantage of being able to eat and drink during the day time again, trying all the things we craved whilst we were fasting. Smoothies, ice cream, chocolates… There are so many great snack places around whilst you shop! We also loved how many stores were doing Eid packages. Our favourite was Molton Brown. Mo, a perfume and scent expert, fell in love with their new Geranium Nefertum – a lovely refreshing spray that he doused himself in (one I’ll probably have to add to his anniversary present list) and there were a number of other great scents in their collection and their Eid packaging was beautiful!!
There’s also a new store called Typo which is possibly one of my new favourites as it’s full of quirky gifts and random stationery bits and pieces (I have already bought multiple items from there over the last few weeks). And I love their new superhero collection! Hotel Chocolat and Lush are our usual firm favourites – both amazing brands with the kindest and loveliest staff in the whole world (When Mo and I visited hotel chocolat whilst we were fasting they always gave us samples to take home to enjoy later).
Now. Back to the main event.
We were here to enjoy each others company and to EAT.
One of my favourite things about intu Trafford Centre is that there are SO many brilliant food options for halal eaters!!!! You can check the site here for the full list, but I’m going to take you through my faves and if you haven’t tried them, add them to your list…
Ok so this is an obvious one. The queues and popularity of it speaks volumes, surely I don’t need to tell you much about this place. They’ve recently had a refurb and the new reveal looks spectacular! Always quite busy, but the queue moves super fast and if you are in need of some good peri peri chicken this is your place.
2. Las Iguanas
A firm favourite for the Fab Four. We came here last month to enjoy Iftar, another tradition. Service – impeccable. Food quality – brilliant. You need to try the empanadas and there are so many options for all types of eaters here: gluten free, vegan, halal. They are super accommodating and also do a great range of non-alcoholic cocktails! (which are available during evening happy hour).
Confession: I used to never bother with Tampopo. Then one day we were invited to a tasting menu evening and it was AMAZING!!!! (you can read more about it if you click here) Turns out I just wasn’t ordering the right thing. Since that day, we’ve visited multiple times and I’ve ordered all sorts from the menu and never been disappointed. What I love about this place is they totally understand halal – always explaining exactly what is and isn’t suitable, especially if a sauce may contain something that we never would have thought. Shows they know they’re stuff and if you leave without having a roti pancake you are a fool. It’s the BOMB.
4. Gourmet Burger Kitchen
I used to always walk past this place, glancing longingly at it, wishing we could enjoy a meal there…. and then one day the lovely team at intu Trafford Centre alerted me that there were halal options! Well it didn’t take long for Mo and I to visit, and indulge in a hearty chicken burger. They do have other vegetarian options which are pretty great too. Winner!
But of course, tonights destination of choice was mums favourite.
It’s one we all love to be honest, and we’ve been time and time again as a family.
5. Yang Sing
Discovering Yang Sing was halal was a hallelujah moment for us all. Growing up in Saudi Arabia, going for a Chinese meal was one of the regular things we used to do as a family. We went so often it did almost become a family tradition. So to finally have a place in the UK where we can do that, well it feels great not just to have that family memory reignited, but we also get to enjoy the same dishes we used to have out there and relive that foodie experience.
There are many, many halal options on the Yang Sing menu. You will be spoilt for choice! To be honest, we’re a family of habit so we have standard dishes that we can’t live without: Chicken toast, vegetable spring rolls, har gau, soft noodles, sweet and sour chicken, sizzling cantonese style beef… but then every so often we try new things and they get added – such as crisp fried beef fillet steak and crispy duck and pancakes.
I don’t think we’ve ever been and not had an enjoyable experience. The food is always spot on, the service is fast, efficient and they are so accommodating. Last nights meal was exactly what we needed. We were able to sit back and enjoy each others company, engage in conversation and really tuck into a meal that was delicious dish after dish. My mum is infamous for having eyes bigger than her stomach and filling her plate… but not quite finishing it. However last night, and every time we come here, there was not a single thing she ordered that she didn’t finish. There ware clean plates all round from us.
One of the things I should point out about everywhere you eat at intu Trafford Centre – every single restaurant is family friendly. Whenever we have gone and explained we have a pram there’s always a suitable area to sit for us. If Baby H gets a bit bored, it’s so easy to just take him for a scenic mini walk without having to venture anywhere to far. There are baby changing facilities, and so many other things for mums, kids and adults, I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s struggled with bringing young or old family to this place. If you didn’t know, there’s also a prayer room open to everyone and so handy for Muslims who are trying to keep up their daily prayers.
I often talk about the Trafford Centre, but it’s purely because there is just so much to do there! Our dinner last night was gifted, but let’s be honest, we all would have ended up there anyway. The parking is free, there’s something for everyone and we just enjoy the atmosphere in general. Yesterdays was particularly lovely, as there were many other families there dressed up for Eid doing exactly as we were.
The events are taking place all over the weekend (you may see Mo and I back there on Saturday!) and it’s perfect timing for sale season too!! There are plenty of good deals to be had. If shopping isn’t you’re thing there’s arcades, cinema, VR gaming (review for that here) bowling… the list goes on and on and on!!
Whatever you do, make sure you time your visit around meal time… it’s totally worth it.
Eid Mubarak everyone!!!
*** Thank you to the Trafford Centre for giving us an Eid gift voucher to spend in the centre. We had a lovely evening, as usual, and of course all opinions and thoughts on here are my own and all images are unedited by me 🙂 As I said check out my insta stories for more on our evening! ***