Tuesday 23 April 2013

Manchester: Shopping

Whilst in Manchester I ate out a lot but I also fitted in a few trips to food stores. I love looking around food stores, from supermarkets in new countries to health food stores in every city I pass through, I love them all. I almost always find something new and exciting and the stores on this trip were no exception. The first place on my list was Unicorn Grocery.

Unicorn is a workers co-op and it's entirely vegan, no label reading needed! Rad! As I was travelling on a budget I couldn't buy every new and exciting vegan product I laid my eyes upon but I took pictures.

I love to make my own seitan but it would be super convenient if you could get ready prepared seitan from shops down here. It would certainly up my laziness a little though. The sausages looked great too.

I was very tempted by these little tempeh & tofu salad tubs. They'd be perfect for turning a mini baguette into a meal whilst travelling.

I also spotted the new Melty Sheese! I tried them at a vegan fair about two years ago and I haven't seen them since. I assumed they'd sold the melty formula to Tesco for their free from range (which I was a little angry about!) but it seems that the melty just hasn't made it's way down south yet.

As well as being entirely vegan Unicorn is also refined sugar free. I was super apprehensive about this but as you can see I found some good stuff and the store certainly doesn't shy away from products containing oil, phew!

These Garlic sticks from the savoury snack section were amazing, super crunchy and very heavy on the garlic. I loved that they came in a ziplock baggie so that I could re-seal them to enjoy another day.

Unicorn also have a little deli where you can pick up all sorts of savory pies, pasties and pastries. I wasn't super impressed with this tofu and broccoli parcel, despite containing three of my favourite things it was a little bland.

On the other hand the Ganmodoki Tofu & Veg balls were perfect. These little fried balls are stuffed full of carrot, onion, hijiki seaweed, sesame seeds, garlic and herbs and they only cost 79p!

I really, really wished that I'd bought more than one.

The next store I checked out was Eighth Day, this veggie store is right opposite the university library and the Eighth Day cafe is underneath it. I didn't get a chance to eat there but it looked like they served cheapish canteen style food. I just grabbed a piece of the vegan lemon, almond and poppy cake from the deli counter.

Everything in this section is vegan!

It was the first sunny day of the year so I took my cake across to the lawns in front of the university library.

This piece of cake was the perfect spring day treat, the light and fluffy almond filled and lemon infused sponge was topped with a lemon sugar glaze and decorated with poppyseeds. It was super delicious, I never really make lemon cake but I should because it's pretty much my favourite.

Lastly on my stores-of-Manchester expedition I popped to Wing Fat in Chinatown. I picked up some preserved beans (anyone have any recipe suggestions for these?), noodles for 50p and some Peanut Butter Mochi.

Nick and I have plans to visit Japan in the not too distant future and I am determined to make myself like Mochi (and tea) before we go. This is the closest I've gotten to enjoying mochi! Peanut butter was always going to be the best possible filling for my tastes and I definitely prefer the kind coated in coconut over the cornstarch covered kind. I would say that the mochi love is coming to me faster than a love for tea. I just hate it all. I've never discovered a tea that I can even deal with drinking let alone actually enjoy but I have hope, a few years ago I also hated hot chocolate and coffee so ya never know!

My next blog post is going to be about the wonderful Ms Cupcake's upcoming cookbook, it includes a giveaway so stay tuned...


  1. Hi, good review but have to point out Unicorn isn't gluten free at all it sells wheat products. You could be misleading coeliacs here.

    1. Oh no! I don't know why I thought it was gluten free, I've updated the post!

  2. Mochi - is that the stuff that looks like dead hamsters that I avoid in Moshi Moshi?

    I am glad I don't live near that shop, I'd be broke. And fatter.

  3. Great review! I love exploring new grocery stores when I travel too. In fact, it's one of my most favorite things to do when I'm out of town. I love lemon cake too! When I was a little girl, I always asked for a lemon cake for my birthday. :) Maybe I'll make myself one for my birthday this year. Also, I'm with you on the tea thing. There are some herbal teas that I can drink, but not really enjoy. As for black tea/green tea: no no and no. :)

  4. You are having the most wonderful trip. You have inspired me to go into those little stores when I am traveling. Great reviews too!

  5. Oooh, Manchester sounds great. I really need to see more of the UK. I'm also such a vegan food tourist- restaurants, cafés, supermarkets and health food shops I always went to check out what new to me places have to offer. In fact I was in Berlin a few weeks ago and wanted to check out a vegan café and my travelling companion got cross with me asking if I wanted to see the Reichstag or cake! Oops..
    Oh and lemon cake is the best!

  6. OMG, a place called Unicorn Grocery that's all vegan and sells products by a brand called Hobbit!!!!!! Almost too good to be true.

    Also, I'm a hot tea hater for the most part. I can do hot chai with plant milk and agave. But I really am not that into hot tea. Love sweet iced tea and kombucha. But not the hot stuff. I'll take my coffee, thanks. :-)

  7. Not liking tea?! Those mochi look like they were made for a good cuppa.

    I've heard about both those groceries (all good stuff) but have never got to go! I love the sound of Knacker Diabolique though - I'd have to buy it for the name alone!

  8. Unicorn looks rad! I'd love a shop like that nearby, to able to wander in and not worry so much about checking ingredients! That lemon, almond and poppy cake looks so good, I might have to see if I can make something similar :) The garlic sticks sounds yum too, can't beat garlic!!

  9. I really love shopping at Unicorn when in Manchester as there are so many things I've never seen elsewhere there. I love knowing that anything I pick up is okay for vegans.

    Interesting to see the De Hobbit stuff is rebranded as Hobbit with new labels. I am totally in love their tofu broccoli and the seitan is handy but I wish it was chunks rather than thin slices.

    The Kato brand stuff is interesting too, I got some great chickpea cutlets before but they weren't in stock on my last visit. Compared to London and Brighton there are so many pasties on offer (some of which you can also get at 8th Day) plus several flavours of falafels from The Naked Kitchen in Bristol which I've never seen elsewhere - not even in Bristol! - and a big range of Paul's stuff too.

    One of my favourite things to bring back to London is the Chat Moss Herb dips, especially the coriander, lemongrass & chilli one.

  10. Melty Sheese! We used to be able to get red cheddar melty Sheese that was amazing and melted so wonderfully, and then it just vanished. I long for it to return.


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