6 Things You Need To Know About Food In The North

Bit o' scran?

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The North/South divide is probably at its most prominent when it comes to whether your lunchtime Greggs is stuffed with chorizo and rocket or cheese and onion...

Here's your beginners’ guide to navigating the food of the North.

1. Gravy is god

2. Know what you’re having

Before choosing WHAT to eat you need to be clear on WHICH meal it is you’re eating. Breakfast is pretty simple. Lunch is lunch in the South, lunch or dinner in the North, or a “bit o’ scran” if you’re en route to Scotland (which has all its own rules). 

The evening meal was known as dinner in the South but as you move North the kaleidoscope of terms broadens to include tea (not the drink) and supper (as in the kind eaten at supper bars, and supper bars being the only bars in the North that do not have alcohol.)

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3. Carbs are different

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The humble chip has found new levels of social mobility over recent years. In the North we still love a good ol' chip balm (chip butty, to those not in-the-know) But depending where you are chips can come in all different shapes and sizes...

Chips stacked like Jenga blocks – you often dine with aristocracy.

Served in a miniature plant pot – still in the South, but could be as far “North” as Birmingham.

Smothered in cheese/ chilli/ gravy – you're a wannabe Canadian.

Smothered in organic goat’s cheese and vegan chilli – you're most definitely in the South. Probably Guildford.

Gently sleeping on a chunk of white buttered bread and snuggled under a blanket of gravy – you’re in Manchester, it’s 3am on a Sunday and you still have to walk home.

4. Your daily bread is not the same

White or brown, bread can be soft and doughy wherever you are and it’s hard for geography alone to ruin it - although if you're 'right posh' you probably take yours sprinkled with chia seeds. But local custom may get in the way...so here's how to handle each region when you want a chip butty:

Manchester – “couple o' chip barms please love”

London – *order chips and bread roll and scurry off shamefully with your carbs wrapped in newspaper - resolve to go to that 6am yoga class*

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5. The price of a pint

While the price of anything (from houses to Sunday roasts) varies greatly between the North and the South, the price of a pint is the barometer to estimate how far North you are. In the North beer generally sets you back just a couple of quid while watching the footy while in the South it’s not unheard of for a round of two beers to cost a tenner (more if you're wearing chinos.)

6. The tea debate

The Brexit of the beverage world and the drink that can divide even the most united of nations. You run the risk of tea being chai latte or a lurid shade of green (that's matcha, darling) if you’re in the South, but in the North tea (the hot drink not the evening meal) comes in your nan's extra large mug – the milk isn’t organic and the sugar isn’t raw and every cup says “welcome home."

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Loves eating cake and baking (skilled at the former, not so great at the latter.) Discovering the vibrant city that is Manchester one burrito at a time.