What Is The North’s Obsession With The Parmo?

If you live anywhere in the south of England then, like me you will be wondering ‘What on earth is a Parmo?’. Before I went to University in Carlisle I had no idea what this Italian sounding northern delicacy was, and I can safely say that after 7 months, I wish still didn’t know.

For those of you who are still blissfully unaware, a Parmo is a deep fried chicken which is coated in a bechamel (white to you and me) sauce and then topped with a mind boggling amount of cheese. A dish which originated in the north east, it is essentially a posh chicken escalope, and not a particularly tasty one at that.

On a night out you would normally expect to finish with some form of diet destroying takeaway, be it an extra large pizza or a greasy burger, but ironically, the Parmo not only outsells the traditional takeaway fare, it also manages to end up containing on average 2600 calories and 150g of fat in a large portion. Described as ‘The Antichrist of cooking’ on national television by Ruth Watson the Parmo has taken on a new lease of life over the past decade.

The adaptation of the original WW2 recipe to include almost every pizza topping under the Sun has made it a hit with students in the north who are looking for the end of night fix, from chicken to chilli, from pepperoni to peppers you can truly let your imagination run wild, though running your belt out another couple of notches is a distinct possibility.

After a particularly dull night out I decided that i would give the Parmo a chance, a chance for it to win me over and save the night out. I handed over £7, and about 15 minutes later was handed back something that could only be described as an abomination. I had a box filled with what looked like a lasagne, except this was a lasagne that was oddly proportioned and oozing a sickly looking white slime from the cheese on top. I remember thinking to myself that it was something that would not have looked amiss on the menu of the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, though admittedly the calorie count would not be quite so horrific.

All in all the Parmo for me was something that should not be see the light of day, let alone the neon lights of a takeaway board, I will never eat one again for as long as I live, and yet still it has a huge cult following. A quick search on Twitter led me to numerous accounts, with thousands of followers all devoted to the self proclaimed ‘culinary delight’, swearing by it, eating it at any time of the day, not just when it’s so dark that no one can see what it is, saving you the embarrassment of explaining.

Don’t let me put you off the Parmo though. If you are ever near a takeaway anywhere from Manchester upwards, check the boards and pluck up the courage to try the tasty delicacy. After all, the whole of the North East can’t be wrong. Can they?

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