If you have grown up in Manly you should know Mr How, he used to have the most awesome hipster, odd un -matching cutlery and random crockery, in an old unit block Chinese restaurant in Manly, it was an institution of growing up and drinking from a mug while eating some decent Chinese food, god I loved that place. I do believe he moved to the beachfront and got some nicer digs and the old memories faded. I have never ventured to the beachfront digs but while looking for it I have been unable to locate it online – not sure what it is called these days or as with many a Manly venue, it has probably shut down.
Mr How started a salad bar at the wharf end of the Corso right opposite The Hot Dog Man called (you guessed it) MINT ASIAN SALAD BAR. It is a simple and small venue and it offers Asian salads and Curries. It is literally 50m from Banana Blossom, it offers a little less than Banana Blossom and it has less than half the crowds and is a little less funky and “health marketed” than Banana Blossom but I just love it – it easily makes my favourite salads on the beaches and is in my Top 10 Northern Beaches Cheap Gems of 2015.
I discovered this a bit over a year ago when in the midst of paleo madness and I had worked all day across the road for a charity set up, it was late in the afternoon, I was bloody exhausted and my friend, Carrie and I walked across the road and settled on a salad from them. We both fell in love with the place and the generous mammoth sized fresh salads that we washed down with coconut water. The staff were lovely and efficient and the absolute clincher for me – the only place in Manly you can buy the proper rooster Sriracha over the counter to take home, I now had my supplier :). My stepdad has been to the place half a dozen times but never eaten, he just visits for the hot sauce.
I wanted to write a review about six months ago but I was stuck on one problem since my first visit, I only ever ordered the Satay Chicken Salad ($12-). The first time is the only time I have eaten with someone else but that satay is too good to pass up hence my photos for a review would always be limited. Well I finally caved last week and ordered a different salad (SHOCK HORROR) and surprised myself to discover I loved it as much as the satay. I tried out the Dumpling Salad (also $12-) on the recommendation of one of the staff.
The bowls are huge and the salads are so light and fluffy but at the same time satisfying and filled with flavour. I always leave smiling knowing I have had something amazing AND healthy.
The Satay Chicken Salad comes with Free-range chicken satay with mixed salad leaves, cucumber, pineapple & a creamy peanut sauce with rice. In fact they only ever use 100% organic chicken and eggs. The Dumpling Salad is succulent pork dumplings with mixed salad leaves, cucumber, tomatoes with a special vinaigrette finished with a sprinkling of crispy noodles. The salad is good enough on its own but those dumplings are like cherry on a chocolate cake. Now I will be tormented on what to order :). I think I will try something new on every visit until I dislike something then back to Chick Satay to start all over again.
They offer about ten different salads, they also do soups, laksas and curries, with nearly twenty items on the menu and pretty much all for $12- I think I can be satisfied living off this place, the bonus is that you can also get them in the Chinese take out boxes to eat at the beach, home or harbour BUT in my humble opinion I think they put more on the bowl than in the box.
Everything is made fresh while you wait and while you wait you can help yourself to a glass of water and or gawk at surfers and tourists coming and going from Manly Beach.
I love this place and ever since my first solo trip I have the one seat I have always sit at to eat (and get photographs), the food is divine, the staff quiet, but efficient and always smiling. Not much more you want in a healthy salad bar. Banana Blossom may be much cooler and busier but I would find it difficult to eat there knowing one of my local faves, Mint, is just around the corner.