We already known that Manchester is one of the frontrunners when it comes to vegan city eating – but how does it fare during the festive season?
So you don’t have to battle the bratwurst, we went to explore what’s on offer…
Right in the middle of the Albert Square section of the markets, Wrap Up serves freshly-made, easy-to-eat burritos from a 19th century circus-styled stall. Peter Slater and his partner Jake Williams, along with a thriving team, have worked hard to provide innovative food that gets heads turning.
“That people have plenty options is a big factor behind what we do,” Peter told us.
“In our tender to the Council to be part of the Christmas Markets – this year is our first time – we wanted to emphasize that the majority of the food is gluten-free and there are choices available which are vegetarian and vegan. I live in Didsbury myself and feel very aware of the rising demand for this type of food.”
Their vegan chilli burrito, brilliant for warming up with on a cold winter’s day, is bursting with homemade five bean chilli served with aromatic rice, homemade salsa (available in hot or mild) and jalapenos. Delicious. And all their burritos come with an ‘explosion’ of nachos, too.
Close to the Town Hall side of the markets, Amsterdam Frites is a bustling stall serving up fries piled with toppings and lashings of sauce. Their vegan option is something special: BBQ jackfruit loaded fries, available with vegan mayo or vegan cheese.
Neil and Ryan are the people behind it. “I’ve been in the catering business for 25 years,” Neil told us.
“People’s eating preferences really have changed. There is so much more demand for vegetarian and vegan food now, so we’ve changed with the times. I can see more and more businesses doing this in the future. Having more vegan options – it makes sense for the world, and makes economic sense for the business, too.
“Our BBQ jackfruit is especially popular. When it comes to our Dutch sauces, we have a full allergen list and will allow customers to see the list before they decide on a sauce that suits them.”
This flavourful Indian and Pakistani food trader has two vegan options for customers to enjoy, close to the middle of the Albert Square section of the markets.
The first is vegetable biryani, the much-loved Indian rice dish packed with spices and fresh vegetables. The second is pav bhaji, a thick vegetable curry fried and served with bread, chilli sauce and chutney.
South African Grill
Over at Cathedral Gardens, under the iconic wooden windmill, you will find South African Grill. Here they are serving up a traditional Bunny Chow: flavourful curry inside a hollowed-out bowl made of bread. Who can resist?
There’s not a rabbit in sight either, as you can chow down on vegetarian and vegan-friendly options.
Clowbeck’s Farmhouse Kitchen
It doesn’t get much more traditional Lancashire than this: a warming pot of black peas. This satisfying seasonal food is available from Clowbeck’s Farmhouse Kitchen stall in Albert Square – and can be served traditionally with lashings of salt and vinegar, if you’re a fan.
An interesting fact: black peas aren’t actually black. The dish is typically made from purple podded peas which have been soaked and boiled down to a mushy pea consistency. And we all know how much Manchester loves mushy peas.
Exciting Mediterranean food has arrived at the King Street section of the market, thanks to Eat GRK – a new trader for this year.
Their Greek gyros – think a stuffed-pitta on steroids – are available with a jackfruit filling. Served with salad, it’s an ideal vegan option.