Harley Young bites into a bánh mì bursting with fragrant veggies

What: HOP Vietnamese

Where: The Orient, 2 Lower Level, The Trafford Centre, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 8AA

Food/ Drink type: Vietnamese street food, sundaes and bubble tea

When: Monday to Saturday 11am - 10pm, Sunday 12pm - 8pm

Independent or chain: Medium independent

2024 06 18 Hop Vietnamese
HOP Vietnamese Image: Confidentials


Adding a pop of colour to The Orient’s ground floor food court, Vietnamese street food restaurant HOP chose the Trafford Centre as its first shopping centre location. Its signage is bright and inviting, with a large LED screen spanning the length of the concession, promoting lunch time deals and special offers. 

There’s an adorable neon lucky cat on the wall alongside light boxes that highlight the drinks and sweet treats served here; bubble tea, soft serve, lemonade and iced Viet coffee. 

With this HOP being a ‘grab and go’ style vendor, there’s ordering screens for efficiency and an image of each dish is neatly displayed so you know what you’re getting. 

2024 06 18 Hop Vietnamese Neon
HOP's neon lucky cat Image: Confidentials

The Main Event

Our order was ready impressively quickly and we headed over to the food court seating area to find a free table. 

The colourful packaging that the food is served in alone is enough to stir excitement with its swirly patterns and floral prints. Far more interesting than a red pouch of fries with a yellow ‘M’ on the front, don’t you agree?

2024 06 18 Hop Vietnamese Food
Pretty packaging Image: Confidentials

Opening the boxes, we were hit with the unmistakable waft of fragrant ingredients used in Vietnamese cooking. Our mouths were already salivating, so we wasted no time before digging in. 

I decided on the banh mi meal deal; a crispy chicken banh mi with pickled carrot, salad, sriracha mayo and HOP ‘secret sauce’, a side of veg dumplings and the peach tea with mango boba.

I unwrapped my banh mi and revealed a large sub-style baguette overflowing with pickled red and white onions and coriander. I took a bite and the bread made me work for it, but the fragrant, fresh flavours that hit me once I’d gotten past it was worth the battle. The crispy chicken tender to salad ratio could’ve been a little more even, but as a tasty alternative to a meal deal wrap I’ll take this banh mi any day.

2024 06 18 Hop Vietnamese Banh Mi
Crispy chicken banh mi Image: Confidentials

My vegetable dumplings (a portion of four) came in their own nifty little cardboard box with a pot of my choice of sauce on the side - I went for sriracha mayo.  Well sealed and that signature half moon shape, these veggie dumplings looked and tasted the part but could have done with crisping up a short while longer to save them from having a soggy bottom. 

2024 06 18 Hop Vietnamese Dumplings
Veg dumplings Image: Confidentials

Never one to turn a bubble tea down, I slammed my straw into the lid and slurped up the mango boba peach tea. It was nice and sweet with an extra refreshing hit from the bursting mango bubbles. 

Dave ordered the pho meal deal; beef brisket pho with flat rice noodles, red onions and spring onion, a side of pork ribs and HOP’s raspberry lemonade drink. 

The pho came in a fair sized tub and was full to the brim with plenty of spring onions bobbing around on the surface - a generous helping indeed. He said that the pho broth was quite watery but rich in umami flavour and filling. 

2024 06 18 Hop Vietnamese Pho
Dave's pho and ribs Image: Confidentials

His pork ribs came in a portion of four and even to me, someone who doesn’t particularly care for meat on the bone, looked pretty damn tasty with charred and sticky sauce dripping off them. The meat peeled right off the bone and he described them as the best fast food ribs he’s had in a while. They came with a lime wedge but didn’t really need it as the coating was flavour enough. 

As for his drink, the raspberry lemonade was everything a proper lemonade should be; refreshing, sweet but not sickly, more tart like a sour sweet that makes your mouth water a little bit. Proper homemade front-porch-style lemonade. Sprite can kiss this lemonade’s ass. I’d probably order this next time as I’m a sucker for those kinds of drinks. 

Judgement Day

HOP is a flavourful and vibrant addition to the Trafford Centre’s often chaotic food hall. These guys have got the act of whizzing out good quality dishes down to a fine art. Plus, they must be doing something right as they’ll soon open a second Manchester site on Market Street. 

If you’re looking for a quick and affordable lunch without compromising on taste, give it a go. 

HOP Vietnamese, The Orient, 2 Lower Level, The Trafford Centre, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 8AA

Follow Harley Young on X @Harley__Young

  • Food 7/10

    Banh mi 7, veg dumplings 5.5, peach tea with mango boba 7, beef pho 6.5, pork ribs 8, raspberry lemonade 8

  • Ambience 3/5

  • Service 4/5