A Hidden Gem: (Idiom) – Anything that has been undiscovered for a long period of time that, upon discovery, is found to be of great value ( It also means places I like to go to but don’t tell that many people or you’ll ruin it …Seriously)
‘I wouldn’t feed my cat English food’ and ‘Eating English food is like kissing an old racist wall’ These are two real things people have said to me about English cuisine and for the most part those IELTS students were absolutely right. It’s a very old joke that the English have terrible food and awful teeth and luckily only half of that is true now. Manchester is a truly modern city, full of food from all over the world!
Far Far Away
The first place you should try is a beautiful Ethiopian spot hidden above a chicken shop in the heart of the Gay Village called ‘Habesha’. This is a truly magical restaurant that I love and you should really love too or we probably can’t be friends. Habesha’s food is served on an injera (a large pancake-style bread that absorbs all the juices and deliciousness). Bring as many people as you can, eat with your hands and dig into the Ethiopian delicacies of Klitfo and Doro Wot. Now, if you’re Ethiopian you probably know what that is but if not you’ll just have to head down to Habesha to find out.
The next stop on our journey is Vietnam! ‘Pho Cue’ serves Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) until 4 everyday and if it’s not too busy you might be able to eat six or seven in your lunch break as it’s walking distance from EC Manchester. Located in Manchester’s famous Chinatown, Pho Cue sounds super-offensive but the staff seem lovely. Also, if you’re wondering why you couldn’t get a table it’s because someone like you told too many people – I literally warned you in the first paragraph.
The Sparrows is a continental European pasta place truly hidden away in Manchester’s Green Quarter. The owners are really amazing people who are more than happy to go through the menu with you. Look out for their Spätzle and Russian-Style dumplings!
Home Sweet Home
Finally, let’s talk about Siop Siop (pronounced ‘shop shop’). So good they named it twice and weird, Siop Siop is a beautiful Welsh-donut café found half-way down the quiet Tib street, deep in the Northern Quarter. You can spend hours there pretending to be a hipster, drinking excessive amounts of coffee and feeding very sweet pastries to tiny dogs who wished they were taller. However, the cinnamon donuts should never be shared as they taste too damn good and also I’ve been reliably told by a close friend of mine that cinnamon makes dogs explode.
All these restaurants and cafes are amazing places to practise your functional language skills and really get a feel for the city. Remember, if you’re still curious about these wonders dotted around town make sure you check back onto this blog soon and look out for this city’s real hidden gem: the wonderful and incredibly orange English language school that is EC Manchester!
Unfortunately, I can’t just tell you where this marvel of modern learning is located, you’ll just have to find that treasure for yourselves.