Greater Manchester – home of world-famous music, Corrie, two of the world’s biggest football clubs, and, er, Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls.
We can shout about a lot of things here in the north west, but our local delicacies really are in a league of their own.
Everything from pastry sweets to meaty treats crop up in Greater Manchester’s menu of mouth-watering regional dishes that everyone should try out at least once in their lifetime.
They’re not for everyone, and there’s a good chance that for some of them, the first time you them will be the last, but we’re proud of them all the same.
Here’s some of the best the region has to offer.
A somewhat polarising delicacy, black pudding is a dark sausage made from pig’s blood and fillers such as barley, oats, and suet.
Sure, black pudding may not have wholly originated in Greater Manchester, but there’s definitely a strong argument to be made for Bury black pudding being some of the best, or at least the most celebrated and appreciated, there is out there.
You can get your hands on some hot boiled black pudding from many local markets in the region,
Or you can buy it fresh from the regional produce section at most supermarkets, and you can even eat it locally as a takeaway snack dowsed with malt vinegar.
Something for those with a sweet tooth and an appetite for coconut, Manchester Tart is a traditional English baked tart made up of a shortcrust pastry shell spread with raspberry jam inside, covered with a custard filling, and topped off with flakes of coconut and a cherry.
This was a staple of the 1940s and 50s school dinner, but it’s not as beloved as it once was nowadays.
If you are looking for a blast from the past though, you may be lucky enough to spot it on a specials menu at one of the many British-themed restaurants in the city centre and wider region, or in local supermarkets if you keep your fingers crossed.
It contains the juice of grapes, raspberries and blackcurrants – each in a 3% concentration – which is then flavoured with a selection of delicately-balanced herbs and spices.
It was created by John Noel Nichols in 1908 at 19 Granby Row in Manchester city centre under the name Vim Tonic and even though it’s hard to believe it now, Vimto was originally registered as a health tonic or medicine when it was first created, but was then re-registered as a cordial in 1913.
Nowadays, it’s taken on a life of its own spawning many variations, it’s sold internationally in over 40 countries, and you can get your hands on it at just about any local shop, supermarket, and chippy or takeaway.
Fancy an absolute carb overload?
You can’t go wrong with carbs in the north, and over in Bolton, they’re really taking that statement to heart with this staple delicacy that sees a pasty – preferably meat and potato, and really preferably from the town’s iconic Carr’s Pasties, which’s been “baking perfect pasties since 1938” – and putting it inside a bread roll, also known as a barm cake.
It sounds a lot, but all we can say is just don’t knock it until you’ve tried it – and maybe just make sure you’ve got a glass of Vimto on hand to wash it down with.
Another one for those with a sweet tooth, the Eccles cake – sometimes down as a “squashed fly pie” or “fly cake” – is a centuries-old pastry, of course taking its name from the town of Eccles in Salford, that’s a staple often sold at bakeries and supermarkets around Manchester and Lancashire.
It’s made up of a flaky pastry dough filled with currents, and it’s often topped with a sugary crust.
While it is a sweet pastry, the Eccles cake is actually traditionally eaten with Lancashire cheese to provide a unique sweet and savoury experience, but it’s just as nice however you chose to serve it.
This is probably one of the most famous delicacies on the list.
Mostly associated with the iconic Manchester-based soap Coronation Street, thanks to the fictional Betty Turpin’s hotpot beloved by all the Rovers Return regulars, the Lancashire hotpot remains a hot food staple on tables not just in the region, but right across the UK.
Paying resemblance to a casserole or stew, a Lancashire hotpot is traditionally made with lamb or mutton, onions and stock, and is topped with sliced potatoes, before being cooked low and slow until the potatoes on top go crispy.
If you’re looking for the best hotpot in town, then on over to Annie’s on Old Bank Street.
The rag pudding may have been invented in Oldham, but it’s now considered a specialty all over Greater Manchester, particularly in its hometown, and in Bury and Rochdale
A hearty and meaty dish, with a flavour that’s similar to a meat pie, just minus the crust, a rag pudding is made up of ground beef and onion gravy wrapped in suet, and cooked in a piece of muslin – also known as a rag – to give it its distinct and recognisable shape.
Did you know that the most notable producers of the rag pudding, Jacksons Farm Fayre in Milnrow, still lovingly hand-fold 15,000 of the puddings each week to be dished out to local butchers, delis and chippies across the region?
That’s how popular it is.
Also known as black peas, black eyed peas (no, not the music group), dapple peas, maple peas, and probably more depending on where you come from, parched peas are dried and cooked purple podded peas, which are then soaked overnight and simmered to produce a type of mushy pea.
It’s a delicacy often served with lashings of malt vinegar, and most-commonly served in autumn and winter time, especially known to be a staple on or around Bonfire night.
The dish is popular in Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Wigan, Bolton, Tyldesley and Heywood.
Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls
Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls are (sort of) spherical mints produced by Wm Santus & Co. Ltd in Wigan, which are made from pure cane sugar, oil of peppermint and cream of tartar.
Originally made for miners and ideal for “coughs and sniffles”, they have remained one of the region’s pride and joys for years on end, helping to keep the population “all aglow” since 1898, with it said that around 160,000 mint balls are still made every day, which is around 35 million per year.
They also have their own catchy jingle, which, if you say the name of them to a Mancunian, you’ll likely get a dodgy rendition of sang back to you.
“Suck em’ and see, you’ll agree, they’re the best in all the land”.
The new restaurants and bars opening in Manchester this month | April 2023
Spring has arrived, and with it, Manchester has ushered in a whole host of new restaurant and bar openings in April.
From a new pasta concept over on Peter Street from the brains behind Gooey to whole loaves of sourdough filled with Full English fry ups in Ancoats, plus a stunning new contemporary Chinese restaurant on the edge of the Gay Village, there are so many new places popping up in the city centre to try this month.
Further afield, Hatch on Oxford Road welcomes three new traders whilst in Chorlton the family behind Barlow Moor Road’s Progress Convenience expand to open their first cafe, and over in Didsbury Village the former Botanist site reopens as new gastro pub The Wishing Well.
Keep reading to discover the best new restaurants and bars opening in Manchester this April.
Bread and Bowl at Ancoats General Store
This week Ancoats General Store has welcomed a new kitchen takeover from Bread and Bowl – home of one of Manchester’s naughtiest fry-ups.
Filled with fry-up favourites like high-grade local sausages, crispy streaky bacon, beans, cheese, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and hash browns, they are seriously impressive.
Alongside Charlotte’s famous Full English bread bowls, you’ll also find a brand new sandwich menu featuring breakfast burritos and all-day butties like the brilliantly-named ‘Meat Sweats’.
Onda at Exhibition
From the team behind Gooey and Michelin-trained chef Sam Astley-Dean (formerly of Rise pizza), new pasta concept Onda arrives inside Exhibition – taking over the space left empty by Great British Menu chef Caroline Martin’s recent departure.
Serving up a core menu of pasta small plates from £6 alongside starters of arancini, mixed vegetable fritti, and proper crunchy garlic bread with parsley butter, you’ll also find some giant family-style sharers on the menu here – not least, a huge plate of lumache alla vodka.
Onda’s arrival heralds an overturn to the dining concept at Exhibition, with new ‘approachable’ revised menus also on offer from neighbouring kitchens Baratxuri and Osma. Food is served until 9pm.
Read more:The team behind Gooey has launched a new pasta concept on Peter Street
Rio Mex at Hatch
Having previously wowed Mancs with her fine-dining Sao Paulo Project menus at Blossom Street Social, not to mention starring in the north west heat of the BBC show Great British Menu, Martins is now also dabbling – eloquently, might we add – in the world of street food.
Inspired by her passion for the food of her home country of Brazil, combined with the time she spent living in Texas, Rio Mex sees one of Manchester’s most exciting chefs reflecting two of her favourite cuisines.
Must-try taco fillings include baja fish with biquinho pepper mayo and lime sour cream, ground pork al pastor with pineapple salsa, a five-hour chilli con carne with beef and black beans, and a melt-in-the-mouth barbacoa with cheddar sauce and house pickles.
Home Contemporary Chinese
Newly opened on the edge of Manchester’s Gay Village, Home Contemporary Chinese takes over the old Jasmine Lebanses restaurant space and is serving up exactly what its name suggests.
The menu is large, with a strong focus on Cantonese dishes. Think roasted meats, plenty of dim sum (all freshly-made on site), plus heaps of congee, soups and hot pot, and some interesting twists such as a ‘volcano omlette’.
On the bar, meanwhile, you’ll find a strong wine list featuring several Chinese bottles alongside crowd pleasing favourites, plus a mix of softs and other beverages.
Not exactly a new opening but certainly a new look, Archie’s has just reopened after revamping its Oxford Road restaurant to include an all-pink subway carriage.
The beloved burger and shake bar has just unveiled a ‘subway station’ in the basement as part of the Oxford Road site’s £1m transformation.
Diners can now tuck into their smashed burgers, wings and tater tots from their own train booth.
Progress Caribbean, Chorlton
Chorlton’s Afro Caribbean and European convenience store Progress has just opened its own takeaway shop and cafe, building on the success of its popular in-house hot food offering.
Locals are already raving about the dishes, which include plates of oxtail, fried chicken and curried chicken from £5.50 and patties from £2.
Crumbled at Hatch
Crumbled has opened at Hatch underneath the Mancunian Way selling pots of apple and rhubarb crumble with unlimited custard.
Opened by Manchester-born fashion model Chloe Peers, the stall offers two different types of crumbles with some eye-popping toppings including edible glitter, rose petals, Biscoff crumb and huge scoops of ice cream.
Customers can also opt to pay an additional £1 to enjoy unlimited custard refills, something that is well worth it when you find yourself halfway down the pot.
Suki Sukiat Great Northern Warehouse
A new pan-Asian eatery and bar has opened inside the Great Northern Warehouse from the same family behind Manchester restaurant Namaste Nepal serving up bao, dumplings and steaming bowls of ramen noodles alongside fun cocktails and a selection of craft beer.
Called Suki Suki, it is split over three floors: housed within an exposed brick archway and delicately decked with Herringbone booth seating, high bar stools, ambient lighting and rattan finishings.
The Wishing Well
Taking over the former Botanist site in Didsbury village, brand new gastro pub The Wishing Well is bringing traditional British classics to the neighbourhood.
Think big plates of fish and chips, ham, egg and chips, and a steak pie with proper mash, plus traditional roasts every Sunday in cosy settings with big wooden tables and industrial fittings.
Manchester brewery Squawk has opened a new bar in the Northern Quarter this week, taking over the former Beatnikz taproom site.
Called Pelican, it is the first bricks-and-mortar site for the indie brewery favourite which first launched in Manchester ten years ago.
Now, fans of Squawk’s locally-brewed beers will be able to head down to Dale Street for a taste of its famous fruity IPAs, light lagers and punchy sours.
Phukt at Hatch
Phukt completes the lineup of new food traders at Hatch this March, promising a ‘feast from the East’ with its tandoori gyros and biryani burritos, chaats, salads, dirty burgers and more.
Must-tries at Pakistani and Indian fusion spot Phukt include the butter chicken burger (served with its own pot of incredible ‘secret’ sauce) and loaded masala fries.
Featured image – The Manc Eats
This tiny hole in a wall is home to Greater Manchester’s best smashed burgers
Bob over Salford way, and any burger fan worth their salt will tell you that there’s only one place to go for a smashed burger in this neck of the woods. Yes, we’re talking about Burgerism.
First founded in 2018, Burgerism has been quietly setting the standard for dark kitchens way before the pandemic made them so popular.
For years, it has been delivery only – drawing regular queues outside its Salford site and churning out thousands of its popular smashed patty burgers a day. More recently, the kitchen has gone exclusive on Deliveroo and is slowly expanding its empire across the UK with further sites in Liverpool and Leeds.
This year, the team also opened a second site on the other side of Manchester in Gatley.
As a result, Stockport locals can now enjoy their smashed patties, perfect potato buns and crunchy fried chicken without having to make the drive across town (once a regular occurrence, or so we’re told).
Serving up a range of stacked burgers, chicken wings and others sides, alongside Burgerism’s award-winning mains takeaway fans will find a whole host of other treats including lemon pepper, BBQ and buffalo wings.
Fries come with the skin on, tossed in a signature house spice mix, whilst burgers are pressed down onto a hot grill using a super-secret smashing tool that the team will not reveal on camera for love nor money.
As for the main event, smashed burgers can be ordered as singles or doubles with optional extras like cheese and bacon.
There’s also the slawed-up Freebird chicken burger, which is deep fried and then dipped back into spicy oil for an extra kick.
Non-meat eaters are also well catered for, with ‘Veggied’ and ‘Veganed’ options both made using Moving Mountains ‘bleeding’ plant-based patties.
Last but not least, we have to give a shout out to Burgerism’s new dessert offering which sees the team partner with Leeds favourite Get Baked to serve up some of the fudgiest, gooey brownies we’ve had the pleasure of tasting.