Manchester restaurant and food hall Hello Oriental has introduced a new dessert dish to its menu this month, and it’s been steadily dividing opinions since.
Comprised of a large bowl of salt and pepper chips, topped with piped-on vanilla ice cream, crispy onions and multicoloured party sprinkles, it takes inspiration from a cult McDonald’s trend that sees customers dip fries into their McFlurries or milkshakes.
Yes, that is (apparently) a real thing that people enjoy, so much so that McDonald’s even spoofed its customers with an April Fool’s advert in 2019 promising the introduction of a new series of banana, chocolate and strawberry ‘milkshake dips’.
Now, the bizarre fast food craze has taken an even stranger turn as Hello Oriental co-owners Ricky Yip and Azim Kourah introduce their own Eastern-inspired twist at their Oxford Road side.
Priced at £6.95 a tub, owners said that staff were initially divided over the concept but came soon round when they had tried it for themselves.
Now, it appears that the salty-sweet fast food treat is taking Manchester by storm with people flocking down to Hello Oriental to get their hands on a tub.
It’s not the first time that the food hall has divided opinions with its desserts. Earlier this summer, operators started mixing up ice cream made from durian, widely known as the world’s stinkiest fruit.
Famous for having a truly terrible smell that’s been unfavourably compared to cat p*ss, it’s so pungent that it’s actually been made illegal to eat it on the subway in Singapore.
Served in cute little bear and taiyaki fish-shaped cones, alongside typical soft serve flavours like ube (purple yam), pandan leaf, charcoal, mango and vanilla, on weekends you will also find a limited amount of durian ice cream here.
Managing to be sweet, creamy and savoury all at once, some say it tastes like “diced garlic and caramel poured into whipped cream”.
Niko said: “As one of my first acts as noodle union president, I’m proud to announce free katsu to mark National Katsu Curry Day – a day to celebrate across the nation as we come together in honour of all things katsu.
“Make sure to sign up to the noodle union so that you don’t miss out on a free katsu curry and other epic prizes throughout the year!”
Wagamama will give away 50 free katsu dishes per restaurant for dine-in, and diners can choose from chicken, yasai, vegatsu or hot.
On Monday night, the Manchester Food and Drink FestivaL (MFDF) celebrated 25 years in the city at its annual awards gala dinner.
17 award winners were announced across the Greater Manchester region, recognised in a range of different categories including Restaurant of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, Bar of the Year and Neighbourhood Venue of the Year.
Designed to showcase the amazing talent within the region’s dining community, this year’s categories were jam packed with individuals and stand-out food and drink businesses who have given their all to industry over the past year.
Keep reading to discover who took home what at last night’s event.
Awards categories and nominations:
Restaurant of the Year
Winner: Where The Light Gets In
Shortlised: 10 Tib Lane, Erst, The Sparrows, Another Hand, Mana, The Firehouse, Where The Light Gets
Bar of the Year
Winner: Speak In Code
Shortlisted: Blinker Bar, Flawd, Henry C, Ramona, Schofield’s Bar, 10 Tib Lane, Speak In Code
Chef of the Year
Winner: Eddie Shepherd (The Walled Gardens)
Shortlisted: Caroline Martins (Sao Paulo Project), Joseph Otway (Flawd), Sam Buckley (Where The Light Gets In), Patrick Withington (Erst), Adam Reid (The French), Julian Pizer (Another Hand), Eddie Shepherd (The Walled Gardens)
Pub or Beer bar of the Year
Winner: The Kings Arms, Salford
Shortlisted: Bridge Beers, Heaton Hops, House of Hops, The Kings Arms, Nordie, Track Taproom, Station Hop
Food and Drink Retailer of The Year
Winner: Chorlton Cheesemongers
Shortlisted: Ad Hoc, Chorlton Cheesemongers, Hello Oriental, Coopers Lets Fress Deli, Le Social, Out of the Blue, Wandering Palate
Independent Food Producer of the Year
Winner: Dormouse Chocolates
Shortlisted: Great North Pie Co, La Chouquette, Holy Grain, Long Bois Bakehouse, Polyspore, Yellowhammer, Dormouse Chocolates
Coffee Shop of the Year
Winner: Pollen (Cottonfield Wharf)
Shortlisted: Cafe Sanjuan, Factory Coffee, Grind and Tamp, Grapefruit, Just Between Friends, Station South, Pollen
Food Trader of the Year
Shortlisted: House of Habesha, The Little Sri Lankan, Loveingly Artisan, Mira, New Wave Ramen, Pico’s Tacos, Burgerism
Plant Based Offering of the Year
Winner: Wholseome Junkies
Shortlisted: Four Side Pizza, Herbivorous, Otto Vegan Empire, Ruyi Vegetarian House, Sanskruti, The Walled Gardens, Wholseome Junkies
Affordable Eats Venue of the Year
Winner: Salt & Pepper
Shortlisted: Aunty Ji’s, Bahn Mi Co Ba, Cafe Sanjuan, Levenshulme Bakery, Go Falafel, Mama Flo’s, Sat & Pepper
Foodie Neighbourhood of the Year
Shortlisted: Monton, Prestwich, Sale, Stockport, Ramsbottom, Ancoats, Chapel Street, Salford
Pop Up or Project of the Year
Winner: Platt Fields Market Garden
Shortlisted: The Sao Paulo Project, Suppher, Eat Well Spring Festival, Bungalow at Kampus, Heart and Parcel, Stockport Foodie Friday
Independent Drinks Producer of the Year
Winner: Hip Pop
Shortlisted: Bundobust Brewery, Cloudwater, Hip Pop, Intro The Gathering Dusk, Stockport Gin, Steep Soda, Track Brewing
Neighbourhood Venue of the Year
Winner: Bar San Juan
Shortlisted: Baratxuri, The Easy Fish Co, Nila’s Burmese Kitchen, Ornella’s Kitchen, Osma, The Perfect Match, Bar San Juan
Newcomer of the Year
Winner: Another Hand
Shortlisted: Flawd, The Alan, The Black Friar, Bundobust (Oxford Street), Yellowhammer, 10 Tib Lane
Great Service Award
Shortlisted: Bull & Bear, Dishoom, Hawksmoor, Flawd, Schofield’s Bar, Speak In Code, 10 Tib Lane
The Howard and Ruth Award for Outstanding Achievement
Winner: John and Rosemary Barratt, Stockport Foodie Friday
The Howard and Ruth Award for Outstanding Achievement
Recognising people who have contributed something outstanding to the hospitality industry in Greater Manchester.
How the votes were cast
The shortlists were compiled by the MFDF judging panel, with all categories carefully considered and created to reflect an innovative, diverse, and inspiring food and drink industry.
The shortlisted venues were put to the public vote via the MFDF website where food and drink fans voted for their hospitality heroes.
For some of the awards, the public votes were combined with a mystery shopping visit from members of the judging panel. Others were decided entirely by public vote.
The Independent Drinks Producer of the Year and the Independent Food Producer of the Year Awards were judged by a panel taste test during the MFDF opening weekend.
The awards were presented in partnership with MFDF Awards headline sponsors Bruntwood, and commemorated a year of ongoing innovation and success to further establish Greater Manchester’s importance on the national food and drink scene.
The Manchester Food and Drink Festival continues this weekend, having been postponed for a week following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Read more: Manchester Food and Drink Festival unveils full 25th anniversary programme
Speaking on the 2022 awards,s Alexa Stratton-Powell, Director of Manchester Food and Drink Festival said: “The strength of this year’s awards are testament to the hard work and dedication of all the nominees. As ever, the awards put the spotlight on the incredible talent and resilience of our brilliant hospitality industry.
“Despite hugely challenging times for the industry, we’ve celebrated 112 fantastic Greater Manchester businesses this evening as the reputation of the sector continues to go from strength to strength. We’d like to thank the judges, everyone who voted and the nominated businesses who took part in this year’s awards, as well as our hosts at Escape to Freight Island for a wonderful night of celebrations.”
James Tootle, Head of Retail and Leisure, added: “We’re thrilled to have supported the MFDF Awards this year and proud to have been part of celebrating such a fantastic year for hospitality.
“Great restaurants, bars, cafes as well as talented chefs and entrepreneurs are at the heart of thriving towns and cities, and recognising the best in class is a fantastic way of celebrating the importance of this industry to the region as a whole. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated tonight!”