Whilst we know Manchester’s Chinatown isn’t short of great restaurants, there’s a (relative) newcomer in the city centre that hasn’t quite been shouted about as much as it deserves.
We’re talking about Yum Cha, the Liverpool-born eatery quickly building a reputation for its quality bite-sized dim sum, affordable large plates and beautiful roast meats.
First opened by brothers Adam and Neil Wan in July 2020, (in the midst of what was an all-around terrible year for hospitality, might we add) Yum Cha has become quite the happy success story.
First taking over the former Meat Factory unit on Liverpool’s Lark Lane, it’s since expanded into Manchester with a second site at Kampus – and has been busy tempting diners across from nearby Chinatown favourites ever since.
Part of a new generation of Chinese dining spots, eschewing family-style banquets in favour of comfy booths, trendy neons and graffiti, the restaurant itself is deceptively large.
Much more important, though, is the food, which happens to be both cheap and delicious. A hard thing to find of late.
As the name suggests, dim sum is a big seller here. Unlike many of its competitors, Yum Cha sells its bite-size dim sum (which loosely translates to “touching the heart”) all day and all night – and has built up quite a following as a result.
Made by a specialist chef who trained in Hong Kong (under two top-class dim sum chefs who later went on to be awarded Michelin stars in Singapore, no less), all dim sum here is the creation of the wonderful Jack, who has himself spent the best part of thirty years perfecting his recipes.
Here you’ll find traditional soft dumpling favourites like Har Gau, Sui Mai and Xiao Long Bao, alongside its famous Cheung Fun rice rolls and some Insta-worthy ‘Traffic Light Dumplings’ (a mixture of har gau, jiaozi and so choi), from £5.
Split into two sections, the menu focuses on texture with soft bao, gelatinous dumplings and steamed parcels separated from crispy morsels like Sesame Xia Qiu (sesame-rolled prawn balls), crispy belly pork and spiced pork spring rolls.
Served in stacks of bamboo baskets or glazed ceramic plates, the hand-folded parcels at Yum Cha are a revelation – especially with many places increasingly choosing to switch to factory-made dim sum in order to save money.
Elsewhere, large plates (and trust us, they really are large) can be bought for around a tenner. Fiery dishes like Singapore vermicelli and king prawn or char siu firecracker sit alongside the likes of sweet and sour chicken,, dan dan noodles and grilled chicken satay.
The prices are good, and the meat content is generous too – with plump, meaty prawns, large chunks of chicken and stacked slices of char siu proving that you really do get your money’s worth.
The bustling kitchen is packed out with specialist equipment ordered especially from China so that the team can roast their own meats and steam dim sum to their heart’s content on site.
Duck, char sui, belly pork and chicken are freshly roasted each day in a custom-made oven, and can be ordered with a choice of either rice or noodles and pak choi , with a choice of classic soy, BBQ or curry sauce on the side.
Roasted meats can also be enjoyed loaded on top of noodle soup, thinly sliced and served over a meat or vegetable broth with noodles, wontons and pak choi – another dish that has earnt a special place in our heart on our visit.
Comforting and delicious, we’ll be back here again soon – no doubt about it.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
The Makers Market is coming back to Cutting Room Square every month as of this Sunday
The North West’s hugely popular Makers Market is returning to Ancoat’s Cutting Room Square as of this weekend, marking the start of a monthly community staple.
While Makers Markets have been popping up around the region for years now — Stockport, Cheadle, Salford and Media City; Knutsford, Northern Quarter, Didsbury, Congleton and countless other locations — it’s only ever been at Cutting Room Square just the once as part of a trial run back in November 2022.
However, after going down an absolute treat and just as popular as all the others around Greater Manchester and beyond, the organisers have decided to bring it back on a permanent basis from this weekend onwards. Ancoats just got even better.
Now, as of Sunday, 2 April, city centre residents and those travelling into town will be able to enjoy a regular community market packed with local traders from all over every month. Wonderful stuff.
If for some reason you’ve never come across a Makers Market before, the concept is pretty simple: local businesses and indie traders of all different kinds gather in public spaces like Cutting Room Square, setting up pop-up stalls to sell their wares, whatever they may be.
Whether it’d be homemade food and bakery items, handcrafted prints and textiles, or homeware, second-hand records, flowers and everything in between, there is literally always something for everyone.
More importantly, though, these monthly markets aren’t just another place to shop locally and responsibly, but they genuinely provide a wonderful sense of community, quickly cementing themselves as a regular staple for everyone to look forward to and socialise at.
Typically taking place on the second Sunday of every month and with Cutting Room Square and Ancoats already a popular district for locals and tourists alike, we’re sure the atmosphere is going to be great.
You’ve also got the successful Ancoats Pop Up events scattered throughout the rest of the 2023 calendar too — happy days.
We look forward to a year filled with plenty more markets all around Greater Manchester!
You can check out the full list of traders that will be appearing at this weekend’s Makers Market at Cutting Room Square HERE.
Graeme Park thanks fans for ‘valued support’ and launches fundraiser in memory of late son
Graeme Park has thanked fans for their “valued support” following the devastating passing of his teenage son last week.
The former Hacienda legend and his family have also set up a fundraiser in his memory.
The DJ took to social media last week to share the heartbreaking news that his “true warrior” son Oliver had passed away at the age of 18 after a year-long battle with a rare cancer.
In a tribute to the late teenager, Graeme described his son as a “kind, loving, and beautiful soul” who “fought so hard until the very end” but was sadly taken “far too soon” when he “had so much more love to offer to this world”.
Graeme’s initial post drew in thousands of messages of love and support from the Greater Manchestermusic and entertainment community and beyond, as well as from famous name including from Vernon Kay, Sacha Lord, and DJ Paulette.
He asked fans to “bear with me” and confirmed that he will not be performing DJ sets or appearing on the radio for the time being.
Now, a week after sharing the news of Oliver’s passing, Graeme, his wife Jen, and son Ben have taken the time to thank everyone for their “wonderful and valued support” – adding that the family is “heartbroken” to have lost a son, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend.
“Your messages and kind words have been well received and have offered us all some much needed strength and hope at what has been a very difficult time,” Graeme continued.
“Friends, colleagues, fans, followers and complete strangers have all been in touch in person, via phone, email and social media offering support and more, and it really has been heartwarming to read all the messages and to listen to everyone who’s called.
“Apologies if I’ve not responded to everyone, but rest assured we all really do appreciate the sentiment.
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Graeme also confirmed that, after lots of discussion following so many reaching out and asking if there’s anything they can do to help, the family has decided to set up a JustGiving page in Oliver’s memory to help raise “much needed funds and awareness” for Sarcoma UK.
Sarcoma UK is a national charity that funds vital research, offers support for anyone affected by sarcoma cancer, and campaigns for better treatments.
“After complaining of leg pain over a long period, Oliver was eventually diagnosed as having a malignant nerve sheath tumour that was a type of sarcoma, hence our decision to help Sarcoma UK,” Graeme explained.
Sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the bone and soft tissue. It is difficult to diagnose and one of the hardest to treat – “but by donating in memory of Oliver, you can help change this.”
“Your donation will help researchers find answers, keep the specialist Support Line open, and raise awareness to improve treatment and standards of care,” Graeme concluded, “Your donations go so far in helping the sarcoma community.”
Over 200 people have already donated to the JustGiving fundraiser, with the total now at £6,900 and counting by the minute.