The Manchester Egg: A Manchester Food Innovation
At Manchester Bites, we naturally like to talk about Mancunian food innovations. One such dish is, of course, the Manchester Egg. Never one to be left on the sidelines when something good happens, Manchester has developed its own savoury egg snack, a spin-off of the more famous Scotch egg.
If you like learning about the origins of different foods and the various cultural influences that impact our cuisine, you would love our Manchester food tours! Come join us for a walking tour of the city. You’ll learn about the different people and places that have helped create the eclectic food scene we enjoy today.
What exactly is a Manchester egg?
Let’s just jump right into it: A Manchester egg is a pickled egg wrapped in pork meat and black pudding (another Manchester favourite!). The egg is then dipped in breadcrumbs and fried. It’s served warm, generally as a pub snack.
If you haven’t yet tried a Manchester egg, then you’ll need to seek one out during your visit to our fun city! You’ll find them quite easily. But if you want to know where to find the best Manchester egg, then you really do have to ask the locals.
When we get talking about local foodie favourites, we just don’t stop! So come join one of our tours to learn more about the city and to ask our expert foodie guides about the best places to try a Manchester egg…or any other foods you want to try here in the city!
The Story Behind the Egg
As with many great foodstuffs, the story of the Manchester egg begins in a pub.
A Mancunian called Ben Holden was enjoying a few pints with his mates in The Castle Hotel pub on Oldham Street. As we all often do, Ben enjoyed a few snacks to go along with his pint. His choice on this occasion: a pickled egg, a scotch egg, and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps.
It was then that the (glorious) idea hit Ben. What if he could create a hybrid of his three favourite snacks?
Well, Ben being true to his roots and being an industrious sort of lad, took off to the kitchen, and before long, he had perfected the original Manchester Egg.
We like to imagine Ben shed a prideful tear when he hit upon the recipe, then took himself out for a few celebratory pints.
A few weeks later, the egg was introduced to the regulars at The Castle. The dish was an instant success (Mancunians being people of discerning taste). Ben was quickly selling no fewer than 30 eggs a week. He knew he needed to get some help to satisfy demand.
At this point, Ben persuaded a local chef to lend him some kitchen space, and the eggs began to be made in larger and larger batches. Ben had cemented his place in the prestigious ranks of great Manchester innovators. And we certainly have our fair share since the industrial revolution started in Manchester!
How to Make a Manchester Egg
While we do claim to be experts in all things Manchester food scene, that doesn’t mean that we ourselves are chefs. In fact, we have great respect for the art and science that go into excellent cooking!
That said, we all like to dabble in the kitchen. So here’s a Manchester egg recipe we found in The Independent that looks to hold fairly true. Of course, you’ll have to be the judge yourself after you make it!
Mr Holden’s Famous Manchester Egg
- 300g premium sausage meat
- 200g Bury black pudding
- 5 free-range pickled eggs (ideally pickle your own, but shop-bought work just fine)
- Japanese panko breadcrumbs (from the Chinese supermarket or easily ordered online)
- Salt and pepper
- Beaten egg
- Vegetable oil for frying
First, take the Bury black pudding and the premium sausage meat and remove the skin. Mix them together at a ratio of 60-40 (as per measurements above) with your hands (you have to boil the black pudding for a minute to soften it up; alternatively, ask your friendly local butcher to grind them together for you).
Next, wrap the mix around a pickled egg. The best technique is to flatten the mixture into a patty about 12cm in diameter and place the egg in the middle. Then fold the mix up around the egg.
I find Pandora’s is the best pickled egg brand you can get from the supermarket – and the right amount of mix is around 100g per egg. Roll the mix into a perfect ball around the egg.
You then dip into the egg mix and roll it in the breadcrumb. (I also add a secret blend of my own Mr Holden’s spice mix into the crumb. I can’t tell you what the ingredients are, but have an experiment with spicing it up a bit. You can’t go too wrong by just making sure the crumb has a good amount of top-quality sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper added).
Press down to make sure as much crumb is coating the egg as possible. For extra crunch, try double-dipping in egg and crumb for a really substantial bite.
Deep fry at 170C for 7-8 minutes and give it a moment or two to cool before tucking in.
Learn Manchester’s Story Through Food
The Manchester egg is just one example of the many culinary delights you can thank our fine city for sharing with the world. There are plenty of things Manchester is famous for, including being a leader in the UK vegetarianism movement!
We love the Manchester egg, but our diversity of tastes and culinary preferences is as wide as the diversity of our people.
If you’d like to learn more about Manchester and its fantastic food scene, join us on a food tour. We love to share the hidden Manchester that’s too often overlooked. We showcase our local food heroes and the stories behind the people that feed the city. Come join us!
This article was originally written in August 2020 and updated in February 2022.