Manchester is such a bustling and diverse city, full of little hidden treasures that any visitor will be delighted to discover. My favourite hidden treasure in the culinary department is the food market in Manchester's brilliant Arndale shopping centre. For food lovers, and those who celebrate Manchester's cultural diversity: this is the spot for you.
A collaboration of food stalls from all around the world, you are guaranteed to find something to satisfy your hunger at the market. Take your time exploring the different stalls and trying to make your mind up (it can be difficult with so many exciting choices).
My favourite stall is Cafe Greco, which I was introduced to by a friend about four years ago. Offering a selection of baguettes and paninis, prices vary: a falafal and cheese baguette costs £2.90, while the cheese and tomato option is only £1.80. My panini of choice is the halal chicken, which is £2.70 and consists only of marinated chicken and salad, no cheese.
Head to Smoothielicious for a selection of energising, healthy drinks, made right before your eyes. They also use only natural ingredients such as whole fruit and low-fat greek yoghurt. Choose from the fresh juice or smoothie selection, and despite the price being on a par with Costa or Starbucks, the drinks at Smoothielicious are better value for money and a lot tastier too!
A banana, passion fruit and peach smoothie from the Smoothielicious stand
For those who want something a little stronger than a healthy smoothie, head to Microbar, for a selection of British and European beers and ciders (always a favourite with the older generation of Mancunians). The bottled selections on sale also make great presents for those who an appreciate a good drink. Other stalls include Wings noodles, Hansford bakers, a fishmonger and a large fruit stall. Look out for Caribbean, Greek and Polish food stalls too.
Pizza and noodle stalls, just some of the many options available
The only downside of the market is the lack of seating space. I recommend avoiding eating at the market at peak lunch time (between 11am-2pm), so as to get a better chance of finding a seat. However, if your hunger pangs are just too much, and you are happy to stand or walk around the Arndale, eating your food, then that is fine.