David Adamson searches out some of the strangest dishes on offer in the city

There's probably more food on offer in Manchester than ever before, with cuisines of all types taking up spots across the city and foods from all over the world finding themselves on peoples' list of things to eat. 

But there's also a raft of more rare and unusual, or just plain weird, dishes out there as well, so here's our list of some of the weird and wonderful foods on offer across Manchester. Remember, you taste with your eyes and imagination as well. 

2023 10 31 Weird Foods Manchester Pig Head Madre
The Half Pig's Head Chicharron from Madre Image: @thisismadre / Instagram

1. Half pig's head chicharron, Madre, Kampus

£24pp (min. four people)

There's no escaping it - it's a pig's head. 

This may not be mouthwatering for everyone, but there's something deeply appealing about the prospect of meat and crackling from one of the tastiest, but often most avoided, parts of a pig. 

From trendy Mexican restaurant Madre's new Feast Day on Sundays, the Half Pig's Head Chicharron is recommended for four people to tuck into, and you can't doubt the sight of four friends dressed like vegetarians tearing apart a pig's face is a little odd.

2. Duck blood curd in chilli sauce, Spice City, Chinatown


When you search the term 'duck blood curd', it is helpfully and unforgettably described as 'blood tofu', which should give you some idea of the texture.

One of those dishes that are harsher on the imagination than the pallet, it is noted for its soft, smooth taste and bullion weight of iron, which can only be a good thing. When Confidentials editor Jonathan Schofield visited Spice City in Chinatown he noted that "the food is delicious and generous" but did "eshew the delights of 'duck blood curd in chilli sauce' or the 'mutton offal soup in a pot". You eschew if you want to you, but someone out there will develop a taste for duck blood curd I'm sure.

3. Okra Ogbono Special, Imooluwa Restaurant, Moss Side


Described as "an exotic trademark soup, cooked with chopped okra, Ogbono with assorted dried fish, beef, tripe, cow foot and smoked turkey", there's plenty to like in that list, but sticking out like a sore thumb - or hoof - is the prosaically put "cow foot".

My stomach imagines a soup made all the richer by the inclusion of offal and fat, but my mind just pictures a foot sticking out of a soup bowl.

4. Beef Dripping Candle, WOOD Manchester, First Street

Surely awaiting a collaboration with Yankee Candle, WOOD Restaurant launched this luminous treat back in May.

To be filed under 'dishes designed for Instagram', this beef fat, thyme and wild garlic caper candle is explained by chef Simon Wood, who said: "You can sit by the ambient candlelight and then dip your bread in it, and you can actually eat your own candle", which clearly needs no more explanation.

5. Old skool dinner pizza, Pixel Bar, NQ


One for the Turkey Twizzler generation here. 

Described as "Pizza topped with potato smiley faces, diced chicken nuggets, tomato sauce base, baked beans and brown sauce", it should in reality also be served by your mum's mate Linda before you run around a playground for an hour and lose your tamagotchi. 

6. Chegora or stewed stomach, Savanna Eritrean and Ethiopian Restaurant, Rusholme


Sometimes it's just how you describe it.

2023 10 31 Weird Dishes Cow Heel Pie Copy
Steak and cow heel pie from Bradley's Bakery Image: Bradley's Bakery

7. Cow heel pie, Bradley's Bakery, Ashton-under-Lyne 


Yes you guessed correctly - it's the cartilage around the cow's heel. 

Sending up strong connotations of David Beckham missing the 2010 World Cup - heel cartilage might not spring to mind as a delightful dish to try, but this gelatinous treat is boiled until it takes on a sweet taste, which makes the likes of steak pies just that extra bit tastier. 

8. Braised Frog's Legs in Brown Sauce, Red Chilli, Oxford Road

Any mention of frog's legs and many might think back to a geriatric family member turning their nose up at 'that French muck'. "They eat frogs legs and snails over there!" All very Brexit Britain. 

Described with the simplicity of a Michelin menu as "Frog's Leg, Ginger, Mushroom, Brown Sauce", I'm very intrigued by them, and will be paying a visit to Red Chilli to give them a whirl. 

2023 09 29 Dotm Neil Century Eggs
Century old eggs from Noodle Alley Image: Confidentials

9. Century old eggs, Noodle Alley, Chinatown


The stuff of 'weird foods' legend, and no doubt in many people's minds as 'those eggs you put underground then eat'. 

One disciple of this divisive dish is Confidentials regular Neil Sowerby, who actually chose them as his Dish of the Month for September.

Here's Neil to describe just what you're seeing:

"That look is the result of several weeks’ fermentation. Traditionally this consisted of pickling duck eggs in brine and then burying them in a mixture of coals, chalk, mud and alkaline clay. Result – they can last unrefrigerated for months. Bite through the gelatinous coating and the taste is uncompromisingly ripe. Think blue cheese on steroids."

2023 10 31 Weird Foods Manchester Hot Dog Utd
Foot long hot dog with Xbox code in edible spray paint Image: @footyscran / X

10. Foot long hotdog with edible Xbox code spray paint, Grill Shed burger van outside Old Trafford.


United fans may feel they're forced to swallow far worse every week, so what's a footlong hotdog with a bit of spray paint on? And what exactly does the Xbox code get you?  

Not weird food, but just plain weird.

Spotted any weird and wonderful dishes on your travels around Manchester's food scene? Leave a comment with what you ate, where and - crucially - what it tasted like.

Header image credit: @thisismadre / Instagram

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