We are spoiled for choice when it comes to Caribbean cuisine in Manchester. Here are some of the classic spots to pick it up.
Probably the most famous food truck – of all kinds – in town, Aval Saunders has been serving Caribbean soul food since the 90s, and when the plumes of smoke roll down Upper Chorlton Road, there will be a queue in the street for it in five minutes flat. He nurtured generations from his place outside the Pentecostal church, and his testimony of those lamb chops, the half-chickens slathered in jerk sauce, and the salty, irresistible fried chicken.
118 Chorlton Road, Old Trafford, Stretford, Manchester M15 4AN
Siobhan Sewell was general manager of Mary-Ellen McTague’s famed restaurant Aumbry before establishing Blackbird Pantry in 2019 at Radcliffe Market. But while there are a few refinements to this Anglo-Caribbean menu, it’s still throat-worthy gravy-type food, from jerk roast to scruffy chicken curry with bread of coco, while the accompanying freshly made scotch bonnet jam is fruity, fierce and fantastical. And as for the crispy jerk pork belly bites… well. This is material from Last Meal on Earth.
Radcliffe Market, Dale Street, Radcliffe, Manchester M26
Old Trafford Bakery
Founded in 1960, Old Trafford Bakery is first and foremost, of course, a traditional Jamaican bakery serving everything from irresistible hard breads you can smell baking on the street to sweet bulla cakes. But it also offers a slew of daily specials to take away, from fresh escovitch fish to oxtail and lamb chops. And obviously, being a bakery, the pineapple and banana cakes are also worth a look.
126 Shrewsbury Street, Old Trafford, Stretford, Manchester M16 7NY
An all-vegan take on Caribbean cuisine, owner and chef Raph offers a small but perfectly formed menu that changes daily at the ARMR store. And while everything is healthy, it’s also delicious, from the punchy jackfruit burgers to the coconut sweet potato curries. The patties are serious too, and her mom even makes the dumplings, so you know they’re going to be good.
2 Polygon Street, Manchester M13 9SG
A bona fide institution, Buzzrocks has been keeping bellies full, as their tagline goes, since 1990, but started long before that as a humble food trailer, stepping up like a superhero wherever an asshole was needed, be it the Notting Hill or Glastonbury Carnival. Now queues form at its location in Hulme from mid-morning, for everything from its ‘tasty fried chicken’ (a favorite of Ian Brown, a connoisseur of Caribbean cuisine) to its lamb with special curry. It even has its own merchandising and hot sauces. May his reign continue long.
166 Stretford Road, Manchester M15 5TL
Tucked away off the beaten track in Ancoats, between New Islington and stylish Cutting Room Square, Rad’s is little more than a doorway on Jersey Street, but inside the magic happens. From flaming salt fish, house stewed chicken and warming mutton curry, you can grab a box (takeout only) and head to the marina to shovel it all up.
Rad’s, 62 Jersey Street, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AY
The Pull Up has a pretty decent lineage. It is run by Ez Saunders, formerly of The Drop in Chorlton (also to be discovered), and son of Aval Saunders, who founded Kool Runnings, one of the benchmarks for Caribbean cuisine in Manchester. It’s had its share of soap stars and famous faces, but it’s all a distraction. The jerk here is superbly good. If you’re visiting on a Sunday, Reggae Roast should be your go-to, with lemon-thyme roasted jerk chicken, macaroni and cheese, rice and peas, plantain, all.
14-16 Swan Street, Manchester M4 5JN
at mum Flo
Worth a trip out of town, Florence Coke’s Caribbean home cooking is a little eye-opener. From his shop near Hazel Grove come tangy oxtail curries, a soothing peppercorn steak and goat curry that’s as good an example of Jamaican standard as you’re likely to taste. You are greeted with a smile as wide as the A6 and you feel like family as soon as you walk through the door, which makes the food even more delicious. He may have celebrity clients (Kyle Walker, Ian Brown), but Flo makes everyone feel special.
314 Buxton Road, Stockport SK2 7DD
The standard Chicken Run Chicken Split at Moss Side is legendary, and for good reason. A long fried “festival” dumpling, sliced down the middle, wedged until it bursts with fried chicken, then topped with old-fashioned salad cream. Not mayonnaise. Salad cream. If the last bit puts you off, try it once, because chances are you’ll be converted. For God’s sake, don’t tell the cardiologist.
6 Yarburgh Street, Moss Side, Manchester M16 7FJ
Another long-established spot – well three in fact, there are places in Salford, Old Trafford and Bolton – Sunrise is reliable wherever you are, with BBQ wings, oxtail and Italian options vegetarian, as well as a medium callaloo and saltfish.
120 Broughton Ln, Salford M7 1UF
Chorlton’s Jerk Junction is another must-stop for Jamaican classics, which they serve from their longstanding location on Manchester Road, with its stylish terrace, or at Altrincham Market. Courtesy of the ‘dream team’ in the kitchen – meaning Miss Ivy, Miss Lola and Chef Aidy – the drum grilled chicken is easily one of the best in town. And the Guinness Punch is no exception either.
170 Manchester Road, Firswood, Manchester M16 0DZ
Get the latest What’s On news – from food and drink to music and nightlife – straight to your inbox with our daily newsletter.