Market Place: Dudley

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The Independent Culture
You don't need Brains to work out that the frozen meat-related spheres sold in many supermarkets crumble in comparison to a genuine, offal-packed faggot. And without question, the faggot-making art reaches its zenith in the Black Country, where livery balls grace the counter of any butchers worth their salt.

At Dudley market, Spencer's Food Hall is where to make for. Here the pig in its entirety is celebrated. Tails, chitterling and trotters are displayed along with pork scratchings and faggots. As well as the ready-to-bake faggot, you can buy the raw ingredients combined as fry, or consume the finished article with the classic accompaniments of mushy peas and gravy, for pounds 1.85 at the Lunchbox caff in a corner of the hall. Gravy stands up for itself in these parts: it's even sold in a sandwich.

The first record of a market in Dudley dates from 1261, when Lord Dudley accused a rival of setting up a mart in Wolverhampton. These days, competition comes from the Merry Hill shopping complex that has taken 70 per cent of business away from the town centre. Many of the 70 or so stalls on the outside market are empty early in the week, though table lamps, fruit and veg and cheap clothing continue to be sold under the red and white awnings.

Like the gravy in your sandwich, non-comestibles tend to be stolid affairs here. Back indoors, the Scoop stall harbours such diverse goods as Christmas cake mix and powdered tandoori spice. Another highlight is Tastees, a West Indian food stall.

Alternatively, take your red-necked American friends to the Lunchbox caff. They might find eating a faggot an enlightening experience.

Dudley Market, West Midlands, Mon-Sat 8am-5.30pm

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