Wontons & Dancing Dragons: Chinese New Year in Manchester

The Chinese Lanterns in St Ann’s Square

It’s become something of tradition now to attend the Dragon Parade in Manchester’s China Town. It’s event I look forward to each year. I love the hustle and bustle (though not always the prams, sorry) and come rain or shine there’s always a fantastic atmosphere surrounding the whole event.

This year I started off at St Anne’s Square where there was a small selection of street food vendors selling Asian food. I had expected there to be more stands and based on the long lines on Sunday the organisers should certainly consider adding extra next year.

The choice was relatively limited but what they did have, was done well.  I particularly fell in love with the steamed buns. I’m not quite sure how I managed to reach my 30’s having never tasted a steamed bun, but I more than made up for that on Sunday.

One of the three choices of food stalls on offer
Not sure about the tomato ketchup but the buns were delicious

Of the two stalls, I chose Dim Sum Su purely because it had a much larger selection to chose from as you can see from one of the two menu boards below:

The mouth-watering options available
Chinese street food

I opted for the Beef Wantons (left), the Crispy Shredded Beef Bao (middle above) and the boyfriend had the veggie option, a mixture of peppers, cashew nuts and spicy sauce in a steamed bun.

The beef wantons were my favourite of the three although as I mentioned, I’ve found a new favourite in the steamed buns which were surprisingly light and not stodgy at all. The wantons were lovely and crispy and when I bit into them there was a slight warming kick of spice from the beef balls inside.

The boyfriend loved the veggie choice and my only regret was that we didn’t try more on offer. The Taiwanese Chicken Bao seemed to a particularly popular choice.

Luckily, the weather held out and we were able to sit outside and enjoy the food and by the time we’d finished, quite a crowd of people had formed. 
Unlike some food events I’ve been to there was plenty of seating including a covered area which meant you didn’t have to loiter nearby trying juggling multiple cardboard contains of food as was the case for the Christmas Markets.   
The giant golden dragon looked very impressive in St Ann’s Square and it wasn’t short of a few selfie takers. As I said, they really could have made more of this area, specially since it was away from the main crowds in China Town area and seemed to attract a lot of families as well as people seemingly chancing upon it, who weren’t in town just for the dragon parade.
However, the main event of the day was the Dragon Parade. It started its journey in Albert Square and headed from the Town Hall through to China Town.
We arrived just as the 175-foot dragon was making it’s way towards the golden archway in China Town, with huge crowds lining the streets to catch a glimpse of the dancing dragons.

It’s always a great little parade to watch and there’s plenty for families to do with rides and fun-fair-style stands and food stands dotted around.

Despite all the Asian-style food on offer (as well as burger stands) I headed for the Churros stand. If you’ve never had them before they’re a Spanish-style donut that are long and thin and you dip them in chocolate sauce. Whilst it did seem a bit odd having a Churros stand in the middle of a Chinese New Year parade, they smelt and looked delicious and again like the steamed buns, I’d never actually tried them before. So Sunday proved to be a day of new culinary delights for me.

If you missed out this year then do make a note in your diaries for February next year as this is always a must-see event and Happy Year of the Dog everyone!

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