Side Dish: The treasure troves of Jewish delis

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Growing up as a Jewish adolescent in Manchester means that food is the epicentre of your world as soon as you’re old enough to ingest solids. Judaism has had a deep-rooted connection within Manchester’s heritage thanks to the influx of Jewish refugees after World War II. G is as proud to say she’s as much Jewish as she is Mancunion. After her family fled during the pogroms of modern day Lithuania, her ancestors docked in Liverpool, to Southport and eventually settled in this glorious city that both G and T call home for a little over seventy years… and counting. Not occasionally giving homage to Jewish food on the blog would serve as an injustice to where G’s true love of food began.

As in so many religions, food is the crux of Jewish traditions and celebrations; from Friday night dinners (made famous by the popular Channel 4 satire show with that bloke from the Inbetweeners) to traditional delicacies made at festivals like Chanukah, Rosh Hashanah and even Purim which we covered on the blog some months ago. But when T asked G what her favourite celebration was, she replied with the humblest of gatherings; Sunday morning brunch.

Sunday morning brunches are the holiest of holidays in the Glass household; made infamous by early morning outings to Hyman’s Jewish Delicatessen in Cheadle, which unfortunately no longer exists. G remembers the wafts of freshly baked bagels on a Sunday morning as she would run in to collect her family’s order from the slightly frightening elderly lady who would serve from behind the counter.

Sometimes delis of foreign denominations can seem scary; you don’t know what to order, who to ask and you certainly wouldn’t want to mispronounce anything at risk of being insulting. However, we urge you to step put your comfort zone. Why miss all this great culture and cuisine that’s right on your doorstep just for the fear of being ignorant? Especially when the staff are usually so welcoming towards people of other faiths. Just go in, say you’re a deli-virgin, and let them guide you on a journey of smells and senses.

If you’re not quite ready to delve completely into the unknown, we can try and guide you in the right direction. Below is what you should look out for at any Jewish Deli. So, whether you’re living in Manchester, the UK, or even reading this from the other side of the world you’ll be able to walk in with our hand-picked list of goodies, and you’ll be away.

  1. Bagels – okay yes, you can buy them from Sainsbury’s, but don’t. There’s so many freshly baked different kinds at any deli from wholemeal, to poppy seed, raison filled or even gluten-free. They will be better than any supermarket bought bagel you have ever tasted.
  2. Chopped boiled & chopped fried fish – made from haddock and hake chopped together with onion, it does exactly what it says on the tin. If we could blindfold you, feed it you without you actually seeing it, then we would. But we can’t; so you’re going to have to just trust us on this one.
  3. Chopped liver and chopped herring -The best bagel toppings you will ever eat, but we’re not exactly selling this one to you are we? Alas, they are hardly dressed swans either, but if you have a penchant for pâté you won’t be disappointed.
  4. Challah – Traditionally bought freshly baked the morning of and served as the centre piece at Friday Night dinner prayers, Challah is G’s most cherished gift to you. Save some leftovers for brunch and slather some of the above chopped liver over the top with a few pickled gherkins; you’ll be living the dream.
  5. Hummus – again, skip the supermarkets and just go straight to the deli. If you’re going anyway you might as well, the homemade Israeli stuff is always better.

Convinced? You should be.

See you on Thursday, where there may be some more Jewish-inspired treats in store…


Delicatessen recommendations in Manchester:

North Manchester – State Fayre – 77 Middleton Road, Crumpsall, Manchester, M8 4JY
South Manchester – Boykos Deli – 315 Hale Road, Hale Barns, Cheshire, WA15 8SS
South Manchester – Lulu’s Kitchen (replaced Hyman’s in Cheadle) – 41 Wilmslow Rd, Cheadle SK8 1DR



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Hello! We are Ginseng & Thyme, two friends and work colleagues from Manchester with a passionate affinity for food, drink and lifestyle. Here’s our food story, what’s yours? Twitter: @ginsengandthyme Instagram: @ginsengandthyme

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