For years and years, you could barely move at the Manchester Christmas Markets for swing grills filled with bratwurst and bars selling gluhwein, but the festive event’s food scene has changed somewhat of late.
As time has gone on, the markets have started to show off a lot more local talent, and now you can buy everything from dumplings to croissants to Brazilian stews to patatas bravas here.
It’s exactly what people have been calling for for years, with Mancs always complaining that the Christmas Markets were too repetitive or slamming ‘overpriced hot dogs’.
Now it’s on to the more traditional fare. Here’s where you can still find a taste of a classic German Christmas market here in Manchester, along with prices…
The best traditional food at Manchester Christmas Markets 2023
Yorkshire pudding wrap
It looks like the viral crazy of the Yorkshire pudding wrap is here to stay. Far from being a one-year wonder, the stalls selling these incredibly British concoctions are consistently the busiest at the markets every year.
It’s basically a carvery dinner but instead of a plate you get a giant Yorkshire pudding.
Porky Pig are the most famous by far but there’s another stall selling the same in Cathedral Gardens.
Price: £8.50 from Porky Pig
A classic bratwurst at the Manchester Christmas Markets. Credit: The Manc GroupA classic bratwurst at the Manchester Christmas Markets. Credit: The Manc Group
It’s a uniquely Christmassy experience to accidentally make eye contact with someone while sinking your teeth into a bratwurst.
And while the swing grills that used to dominate the markets are dying out, you’ll still find yourself a sausage at most sites around town.
The classic is the one from the Witch House, home of the giant sausage statue, on New Cathedral Street, where you can also get a great warming currywurst.
There’s even a stall this year selling vegan bratwursts so plant-based elves can still enjoy a treat.
Price: £7.50 from The Witch House (£8 on Exchange Square, £7 on St Ann’s Square)
Garlic potatoes with mustard chickenGarlic potatoes with mustard chicken
You’ll smell them coming before you see them, and based on the queues every single lunchtime, the garlic potatoes are a fan favourite still.
It’s hard to imagine the markets without this stand on King Street, where absolutely massive pans of traditional French winter warmers are cooked up all day long.
You can go for garlic mushrooms, mustard chicken, or provencale chicken, served with either rice or garlic potatoes.
The potatoes are the correct choice…
Price: Mustard chicken with garlic potatoes, £7.50 for regular or £9.50 for large
Hog roast sandwich with apple sauceHog roast sandwich with apple sauce
Is there a greater, more nostalgic butty than a hog roast roll, dripping in apple sauce? Nah, don’t think so.
The Pig & Barrel at the Winter Gardens (aka Piccadilly Gardens) keeps it simple, as it should be, and although it’s a little on the expensive side it’s a seriously filling lunch.
As traditional Christmas Markets food goes, this is up there.
Gluhwein, or mulled wine, at the Manchester Christmas Markets 2023. Gluhwein, or mulled wine, at the Manchester Christmas Markets 2023.
Wasn’t sure anyone actually liked mulled wine in all seriousness, but judging by the number of navy blue Nutcracker mugs getting about town, warm spicy wine is still the drink of winter.
You don’t have to look far to find yourself a mulled wine at the Manchester Christmas Markets – most bars are selling some variation of gluhwein, mulled cider, or hot toddy.
Nothing screams Christmas quite like a face full of clove-scented steam, does it?
Price: The cheapest is £5 from the Apres Ski Bar at Winter Gardens – most others £5.50 or £6
Dutch mini pancakes
Is it the satisfying way these tiny sweet treats are flipped over in their special pan, is it the way they blow icing sugar up your nose as you eat them, is it that one bite transports you straight to a snowy mountain?
Whatever it is that wins us all over with a good mini pancake (Poffertjes, to give them their proper name), we’re glad to see them back for another year.
The best stall is over on New Cathedral Street, where pancakes start from £5 but go up in price as you add toppings.
A ‘sexy’ bottomless brunch with endless sushi is coming to Manchester
A ‘sexy’ bottomless brunch is launching in Manchester next month, where the sushi will be bottomless and you can ring a bell for champagne.
The lavish new Sunday offering comes from the ultra-glamorous Sexy Fish in Spinningfields – that restaurant where giant blue mermaids, a sparkly octopus, and an aquarium full of real fish watch over the colourful dining room.
The Sexy Sunday Brunch might also be the most expensive in the city, costing a cool £52 per person… without drinks.
But for that price you do get a lot of Sexy Fish’s acclaimed food, including a bottomless sushi station.
Diners at the Manchester restaurant will be able to tuck into signature dishes served sharing-style, no limit on how many you order.
Starters will include smoked salmon bao, chicken karaage, crispy duck watermelon salad, milk buns with miso butter, and crudites with kimchi.
The Sexy Fish ‘Sexy Sunday Brunch’ spread. Credit: Supplied
Then you can make your way up to the bottomless Sushi Station, where freshly-prepared sashimi, nigiri, maki and tartares will be on display.
There’ll also be a ‘theatrical flying table service’, which sounds just like waiters carrying food around (?).
Sexy Fish says there’ll be platters of freshly prepared tempura, croquettes and more being circulated by their waiters.
Then as if that’s not enough fancy food, your booking includes a main course and side, which can include grilled seabass with shiso miso pesto, crispy pork belly, caramelised black cod (for a supplement) and sides of kimchi fried rice and spicy miso tenderstem.
Sexy Fish Manchester is launching a lavish bottomless brunch
Finally, there are sharing desserts of cinnamon doughnuts, soft serve ice cream, and chocolate fondant.
And although drinks aren’t included in the bottomless brunch deal, each table is given a ‘Ring for Ruinart’ bell – ding it, and the sommelier will bring you a £64 bottle of fizz.
Special Sexy Brunch cocktails will include the mimosa thyme and the Sanguine Maria.
The whole thing will be soundtracked by ‘low-key entertainment’ from Sexy Fish’s signature DJs and live musicians.
The Sexy Fish Sexy Sunday Brunch will kick off on Sunday 10 March and run every Sunday between 12pm and 5pm.
Factory Bake shared on Instagram this week: “We’ve officially made it guys! Our first 1 star review!
“And to the customer in question all we can say is unfortunately we can’t apologise for selling out cause as a new little bakery this is the best thing ever!
“Though we do hope in the future for other amazing businesses you visit, you at least try their goods before reviewing. Cause our baker has a deep hatred for anything dry, which is why she usually slices up everything even when it’s still hot.”
The one-star review said: “They could also rename it as pointless baker.
“I went there three times, and they never had anything decent available. Just 2-3 types of pastries that looked as dry as desert sand. Caffé Nero’s pastries look more inviting than theirs…and also has a better choice.