Roast Pork Bun: £1.20
Char Siu King Bun: £1.30
Three mini buns for £1.20
Ho's is a Chinatown institution. Up a short and grubby flight of stairs, the roomy bakery serves a variety of sweet and savoury, Chinese and Western cakes, buns, dumplings and pastries, with soups and soft drinks also available.
A helpful sign taped to one of the pillars explains why their prices have risen fairly dramatically (although they remain on a par with Wong Wong, Manchester's other Chinese bakery) in recent times - a combination of worldwide food shortages and increasing millers' costs has resulted in more expensive ingredients with the cost being passed onto the customer.
I, for one, am still willing to pay £1.20 for a roast pork bun, or between 50-80p for a sweet pastry or dumpling. The pork buns and redbean dumplings, especially, are worth the cost. Roast pork and onions in a thick, but not cloying, red sauce enveloped by a densely fluffy white bun makes a tasty lunch for those who venture up the steps. Similarly, the glutinous bite of the sesame-encrusted dumplings filled with a creamy red bean are always top of my list when I visit. Other favourites are the custard tarts, honey buns, curry buns, and melon pastries, all of which are handed over by the cheerful staff. The soups, while hot and satisfying, are often overstuffed with peas and contain enough MSG to make you guzzle water until bedtime. But as every Chinese cafe and restaurant heaps on the MSG like it's going out of fashion, it's hard to hold this against Ho's.