23 Sunderland foods, drinks and dishes everyone in the city should have tried at least once

We may not have any Michelin stars, but Sunderland has many delicacies on offer - admittedly not all of them healthy, or vegan-friendly.

Monday, 29th April 2019, 10:38 am
Updated Monday, 29th April 2019, 10:45 am
Sunderland has a wealth of wonderful foods

From guilty pleasures to seaside classics, here's a look at 22 foodstuffs almost everyone in Sunderland should have tried at some point:

A jammy shortbread sandwich topped with the most amazing pink icing. They are so wondrous, some have suggested they must contain some sort of addictive special ingredient - yet they are little heard of outside Sunderland.
Did you know Sunderland has its own namesake fish? Roker ray (or thornback ray or thornback skate) is a highly prized catch, and recently featured on Saturday Kitchen, where it was praised by Michelin Star-chef Tommy Banks
The legendary sausage is already a favourite. Stick it between two slices of bread with stuffing, pease pudding, perhaps some mustard, and the dip (a kind of gravy?) and youve got a classic dish.

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Every culture has its own bread. This is ours. The heavy, stodgy wonder stuff is far more than just a big bread bun, and is used as a vehicle for all manner of weird and wonderful fillings.
A traditional one-pot wonder from the Sunderland and Durham area. Recipes vary, but corned beef or sausage with potatoes, onions and carrots tend to be the mainstay ingredients of the dish.
Never was there a better time to be a coffee drinker in Sunderland, with venues across the city striving to serve you the perfect brew. Try Holmeside Coffee, Pop Recs, Fausto, Sues cafe, Cole Cafe, the list goes on...
Amazing continental cakes and treats at this little piece of Switzerland on Blandford Street. It was opened by Max Muller, a Swiss master baker, who moved to Sunderland from St Gallen in the 1950s.
Distilled in small batches at the Roker Hotel on our seafront, this spirit has become a popular drink in the city and elsewhere - including occupying a prime spot on the shelves of Fenwicks in Newcastle.
As a city by the sea, we get some of the most amazing fresh fish brought in to the Wear, and we are lucky to have the traditional Fish Quay Shop, Latimers and other great fishmongers selling the best of the catch right here.
With Maxim Brewery and Darwin Brewery crafting quality ales, Brewlab encouraging new brewers for the future, and even the Vaux name returning, Sunderland is a good place to be a beer drinker. We will raise a glass to that.
Another one only those of a certain age will have been lucky enough to sample. Was there ever a better pie?
Probably served to you by an older relative who bought it from the doorstep delivery service - maybe with a Tunnocks tea cake or caramel wafer.
Or seafood sticks or whatever it is were supposed to call them now. Fishy, rubbery, and containing absolutely no crab (though they are designed to look like a little crabby). They are a guilty pleasure of many a Mackem.
The real deal - though some can be a bit squeamish about this seaside classic. Its basically all the meat from the crab, prepared and presented back in its shell.
Controversial, perhaps, but we host the region's biggest vegan festival, NevFest, and many Sunderland businesses now offer plant-based options, making us a very vegan-friendly city.
The happy medium between an ice lolly and a drink. Perfect on a day out at seafront, whether its baking hot or sub zero.
If you are lucky youll remember the wonderful dandelion & burdock, sarsaparilla and cream soda, and the beloved delivery vans. Villa was taken over in 2009, but the name lives on and now bottles spring water and other drinks.
Something of a curiosity for visitors. It is a popular traditional lunch stop by day, but by night its a dream for weekend drinkers in the city centre looking for something different to the usual takeaways.
You will have had it, even if you werent sure what it was. This thick, earthy foodstuff - made from split yellow peas - is a go-to sandwich filling, most often to accompany ham. Perhaps in a stottie?
As a seaside city, where would we be without our chippies? We have got some great ones, and everyone has their favourite.
A bit of a cliche, perhaps, but we couldnt leave them out. The wonderful combination of two of lifes great comfort foods, particularly well-loved here in Sunderland when we want to indulge ourselves.
The North East-based bakery chain has diversified into all manner of options these days, but its humble pasty remains a classic. Clean eating gurus may recoil in horror, but weve all treated ourselves at some point.
Whatever your poison, the surroundings of our wonderful historic pubs add flavour, zest and character. The locally brewed beers available do come highly recommended, and you may even chance a pickled egg if you are feeling brave...