If you follow my blog, you will be aware that I spend a good number of days each year – almost every year – in Birmingham, UK. My love for the city, which is often underrated and overlooked, has developed over decades, from a time when everything would shut down on the weekends to a hustling bustling multicultural town that is full of activities and entertainment.
Birmingham has gone through a major food revolution over the last decade and the foodie-culture of the city reflects the diversity of the people that inhabit it. From the Caribbean food festival to the German Market and being famous for its Balti Triangle to being the home of quirky establishments like Jake’s Coffee Box (sadly now closed), Birmingham has it all in abundance.
Thinking back, I realized that often my travel memories revolve around food, and the one from Birmingham is of eating a jacket potato at the newly opened Pavilions center – sadly the last time I was in Birmingham, the very same Pavilions was shutting down.
My love for jacket potatoes has only grown over the years as there is something very comforting about eating a warm half-cut potato – with skin, always – filled up with fillings of your choice – cottage cheese with fresh pepper sprinkled on top is my favorite, but baked beans, chicken curry, corn, all add a very distinctive taste to a perfectly baked potato.
On top of that, a jacket potato is a healthier option since the potatoes are baked, not fried, and you can choose whether you want to butter it up or not depending on your lifestyle preference.
Over the last few years, another establishment in Birmingham has taken over the jacket potato business in a big way. Right opposite one of my favourite streets – Needless Alley, so Harry Potter-esq – and bang opposite a Tesco is where you are more than likely to find long lines of people – around lunch time – culminating into a bright red food trailer, The Potato Man.
It’s a “little” trailer that I pass by on most days when going shopping in the center but around lunch is when it gets really active and noticeable. What started as a small “stand” – humble beginnings – has developed into a full-blown truck now, and while in the early days, if you were late, you would miss out on the food, there is a good probability now that you can still find them open after the rush of the lunch hour.
The Potato Man quite simply serves the best jacket potatoes I have ever come across. The potatoes are of a good size, freshly baked, sometimes having a hint of char, with crispy crunchy skin and soft warmed interiors.
Moreover, there are a good variety of choices when it comes to the fillings, and you can probably go on for a couple of weeks trying all the variations available – Tuna, Low-fat cottage cheese, baked beans, curry, with healthy condiments such as low-fat mayonnaise.
They butter up the potatoes (if asked) quite well – not at all stingy about it – and always provide service with a smile. The best part of all this is that you get pretty much get a filling meal for about £2.50 (without drinks).
So, the next time you are in Birmingham city-centre, and have a yearning for a heart-warming meal, grab a scrumptious bite at The Potato Man and you shall not be disappointed.