[Manchester, U.K., city centre] Glamorous

Glamorous is the only Cantonese place that we visit with any degree of regularity and, even then, not that often. It’s a big, overblown tart of a place, easily in excess of 200 covers. Lunchtime sees it packed with Chinese people – I ate there once and was the only Anglo in the place. In the evening, it’s a more diverse customer base.

We like it, although we may not have ordered too well on this trip. I think they still have the dim sum trollies at lunchtime but, in the evening, things are much more restricted and we went for the dim sum platter for two, which seemed like a good idea at the time, by way of getting a variety. It was OK but there was the whiff of the catering wholesaler about it all – perhaps unsurprising when you know that the restaurant sits on top of the enormous Wing Yip supermarket. There’s a couple of steamed items – sui mai and har gau. And three deep fried things – veggie spring roll, wonton and fun gor (?). And “seaweed”. But the problem is that, apart from the spring roll and seaweed, it’s all a bit prawny. And a bit gloopy. And there’s a couple of dipping sauces – a mono-dimensional sweet one and another which seemed to be just soy.

Main courses were better. There was a plate of thick cut char siu, with just a drizzle of a thin sauce that tasted pleasantly of hoisin. And another of stir fried mixed veg with crispy noodles. These were enormous portions. Each easily serving two – and, yes, I managed to finish my pork – it really was nice, with a little bit of sweet fat. Fried rice was fine.

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John, in your European/UK world of dim sum, how would this stack up? The things you described are very much what non-Chinese people tend to go for here on the Left Coast of the US. And I’m betting your Chinese population is minuscule? Just curious about how things differ.

I can’t speak about John’s Manchester dim sum, but there are some excellent dim sum places in London. Being an American, I’ve had dim sum many times and in different cities, particularly in NYC’s Chinatown. It seems to me that the dim sum in London is more varied and more adventurous than what I remember in the States.

I’ve not got the knowledge to really reply, I’m afraid. It’s some years since I’ve had lunch at Glamorous, so can’t even compare the dim sum offerings then with what we ate last night.

The city’s Chinatown is the third largest in the UK. The country has about a quarter of a million people of Chinese ancestry (according to Wikipedia) but there have never really been significant grouped communities - except for the very early days when small communities formed in port cities, mainly London and Liverpool. Manchester’s original community were traders. Iit’s now a very diverse community about 10k strong.

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Thanks. I’m not surprised that London does well.

Wrong, Harters. Just wrong.

Manchester’s Chinatown is third largest in Europe, not the UK. It’s second largest in the UK.

By the by, I understand the Chinese community regard Manchester as a “dragon city” - one of only four in the west, along with Perth, San Francisco and Vancouver. And, no, I’ve no idea at all what that means to the community but I assume it suggests they regard it as a significant place for them (hopefully in a good way).

I wonder what that means. NYC has a lot more Chinese people than SF. So it obviously isn’t based on population. And SF’s population now goes WAY down the peninsula so has no large concentration any longer.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold