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Philadelphia Food Trucks Satisfy
The Mobile Food Movement Flourishes In Many City Neighborhoods Via Classic, Casual & Contemporary Cuisine
Say it five times fast: Philly’s fallen for food trucks. From Temple University’s campus to South Philly, the beyond-fun dining craze continues to rage. If a diner craves something, chances are he or she can source it on wheels: brick-oven soppressata pizza (Pitruco Pizza), green-tea macaroons (Sugar Philly), gourmet mac and cheese (Mac Mart), sweet-cream ice cream (Zsa’s Ice Cream), pour-over coffee (Cloud Coffee). That’s not even mentioning staples such as soul food, cheesesteaks, crepes and falafel.
Lunch seekers can find trucks all over the city, especially near universities, but in some cases it’s wise to check Twitter before making a trip. These trucks have wheels and often use them to feed new audiences, which is exactly what they do during The Food Trusts’ Night Markets, music festivals, arts events, craft fairs and other gatherings, attracting enormous crowds eager to get their mobile-food fix.
Here’s a look at some of the city’s tastiest trucks:
- The city’s first and only Brazilian rotisserie, BrazBQ dishes out spit-roasted fare. There’s a steak sandwich with chimichurri sauce and potato sticks, chicken tacos and grilled pineapple dusted with cinnamon and sugar. Monday through Friday. 3500 Market Street, brazbq.com, twitter.com/brazbq
- Thai meets Mexican at Cucina Zapata, a whimsical offering near Drexel’s campus. On offer: cereal-crusted tofu or tilapia tacos, daily changing curries and lemongrass tea. Weekdays. 31st & Ludlow Streets, twitter.com/cucina_zapata
- Soul and Caribbean foods mix and mingle on the giant platters dished out at Denise’s, a 30th Street Station landmark that specializes in jerk chicken, cornbread, mac and cheese and candied yams—all easily sopped up with slices of Wonder bread. Weekdays. 30th & Chestnut Streets
- The winners of Philly’s first-ever Vendy Awards, the long-established Gigi and Big R serves up down-home Caribbean fare such as fried whiting and curried chicken, along with generous portions of greens, beans, rice and mac and cheese. The outfit’s bricks-and-mortar location resides in West Philly. Daily. 38th & Spruce Streets
- Specializing in vegetarian and vegan fare, Kung Fu Hoagies has wooed the meat-free set with tofu banh mi, BBQ “beef” hoagies and cold sesame peanut “chicken” noodles. Most Saturdays. Clark Park, 43rd Street & Chester Avenue, (267) 344-6259, twitter.com/kungfuhoagies
- Catering to budget-minded vegetarian eaters since 1984—long before it was trendy—Penn staple Magic Carpet (with two trucks) has a slew of meat-free options, from the Smurf ’n Turf platter (tofu meatballs, rice, veggies and cheese) to the Sloppy Jason pita sandwiches and the exquisitely light spinach pies. Weekdays. Spruce Street between 35th & 36th and 34th & Walnut Streets, (215) 334-0948, magiccarpetfoods.com
- Specialty sirloin burgers, hand-cut fries, hand-butchered cheesesteaks, roast pork loin sandwiches and creative concoctions like meatballs stuffed with sharp provolone have made Spot, owned and operated by a former butcher, a highly sought-after lunch stop on Drexel’s campus. A bricks-and- mortar location on Girard Avenue in Brewerytown offers sit-down service. Weekdays. 33rd & Market Streets, twitter.com/spotburgers
- The wait for lunch can be long at Tacos Don Memo, whose passionate University City fan base swears by the generous tacos al pastor, vegetarian burritos and gigantic tortas layered with mayo, cheese and pickled jalapeños. Weekdays. 3800 Sansom Street
- Since 1983, Yue Kee has been charming visitors with its no-nonsense proprietress and cheap, authentic Chinese- and Hong Kong-style eats such as sesame chicken, fried fish in garlic sauce and stewed pork ribs with rice. Monday through Saturday. 238 S. 38th Street, (610) 812-7189
- A pair of grads from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art run Cloud Coffee, using ReAnimator beans and careful effort to create marvelous beverages. Bonus: The owners screen films and curate art shows right out of their truck. Monday through Friday. 2001 N. 13th Street, cloudcoffeephilly.com
- Classic (Nutella, banana, berries) and not-so-classic (pepperoni, ranch dressing, barbecue ribs, tuna salad) fillings stuff the crepes at The Creperie, a longtime campus favorite. Monday through Saturday. 13th & W. Norris Streets, (215) 778-4771, facebook.com/crepetruck
- Serving students for years, Temple Teppanyaki Japanese and Korean Food pleases with cheap, consistently tasty fare. Favorites on the expansive menu include chicken wings, dumplings and noodles. Weekdays. 12th & Norris Streets, facebook.com/templeteppanyaki
- Nobody can resist bubble teas, and Royal Tea has them in flavors like honeydew and yogurt mango. Add in tasty snacks like braised pork belly dumplings and fried fish balls, and it’s a must-try truck. Monday through Saturday. Norris Street between 12th & 13th Streets, twitter.com/royalteatruck
- Touting itself as Philly’s first mobile Indian restaurant, Samosa Deb spoons up well spiced dishes. The most popular items include the titular pastries, saag paneer and mango lassis. Weekdays. Norris Street between 12th & 13th Streets, samosadeb.com
- Open late nights in Fishtown, Calle del Sabor feeds the taco-craving masses with inventive combinations. Among the highlights are smoked pork, bacon and chorizo (3 Little Pigs) and tequila-marinated brisket (El Toro). Monday through Saturday. Frankford & E. Girard Avenues, calledelsabor.com
- Fans line up for the brown stew chicken, curry goat and oxtails at Jamaican D’s, a friendly jerk-centric truck, which has become a mainstay of the Community College of Philadelphia campus. Their storefront is 1265 E. Chelten Avenue. Weekdays (closed Fridays in summer).
17th & Spring Garden Streets, (215) 668-5909
- Famous for its heftily portioned fried chickpea balls, Center City’s boisterous Octopus Falafel Truck also distinguishes itself with charcoal-grilled chicken and an array of accompanying tastily spiced treats (beet hummus, fresh grapes, salads) that changes daily. Weekdays. 20th & Ludlow Streets
- The tacos on offer at Pennsport’s Taco Loco include pastor, chicken, tripe, tongue and chorizo fillings. Sold three for $7.50, all are delicately seasoned with chopped onions and cilantro—and are best washed down with a bottle of Jarritos soda. Daily. Jefferson Square Park between 3rd & 4th Streets and Federal Street & Washington Avenue, (215) 883-9191
- Philly had no idea it was even missing fried cheese curds until The Cow and The Curd rolled into town. The dairy-celebrating truck makes serious tracks, spreading the creamy gospel of Wisconsin. Locations vary. thecowandthecurd.com, twitter.com/cowandthecurd
- Calling itself a “food truck” and “gallery,” the artsy, rustic and eco-friendly Farm Truck prepares seasonal fare that might include a chopped apple salad or a Sriracha sausage on a long roll. The truck occasionally vends fresh produce too. Locations vary. farmtruckphilly.com, twitter.com/farm_truck
- Stationed at farmers’ markets around the region, HEARTFood Truck has dedicated itself to local, sustainable and seasonal fare. Yet the food, whipped up by a former restaurant chef is anything but simple: mushroom deviled eggs, griddled pork belly and escargot. Locations vary. twitter.com/heartfoodtruck
- HubBub Coffee maintains not just a truck with a full-service coffee bar but also a Cold Brew truck. Both vehicles roam Philly’s streets in the summertime, stopping at playgrounds and special events. Locations vary. hubbubcoffee.com, twitter.com/hubbubcoffee
- Pork fritters stuffed with capers, pistachios and whole-grain mustard and served with hoisin sriracha dipping sauce. Braised duck with fresh cucumber, pickled onions and sesame chili aioli rolled in laffa. If the meals at Local 215 sound more like gastropub fare, well, that’s exactly the point. Locations vary. (215) 970-0024, local215foodtruck.com, twitter.com/local215
- The Ka’Chi truck explores the endless creative possibilities of Pan-Asian cooking. The Main Line-based operation travels to area festivals and peddles street eats like kimchi rice balls, bibimbap sliders and Spam rice bowls. Locations vary. kachitruck.com, twitter.com/kachiphilly
- The nail-polish pink Mac Mart truck turns America’s favorite side (macaroni and cheese) into a main course by mixing in barbecue chicken, homemade garlic croutons, bacon bits and more into five-cheese pasta. Locations and times vary, but include festivals and events. The new storefront (104 S. 18th Street) means mac is available all day every day. macmartcart.com, twitter.com/macmarttruck
- Headquartered in Fishtown, Mama’s Meatballs traverses the city to sell its Italian delights. Eaters can find specials like Rocky Ball Boa (sweet sausage, sautéed peppers and onions) and Raba Father (turkey and broccoli rabe meatball) at LOVE Park, The Navy Yard and festivals and events across the region. mamasmeatballs.com, twitter.com/mamasballs
- The colorfully festooned Mom-Mom’s Polish Food Cart delivers what its name promises: inventive pierogies and other Polish specialties that do Port Richmond proud. Find them in Northern Liberties, Clark Park and other locations. twitter.com/mommomnomnom
- With the mathematical symbol as its logo, Pie-Stand makes deep-fried hand pies disappear by the dozen. The homey-looking truck, which appears at various locations each week, sells wondrous stuffed pastries. Think coq au vin, smoked almond and ganache and fluffer nutter. Locations vary. facebook.com/piestand
- A mobile wood-fired oven bakes the charred-crusted,eggplant, sausage, soppressata, spicy garlic, margherita and radicchio pies at Pitruco Pizza, one of the most reliably everywhere trucks on this list. Monday, LOVE Park, 16th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard; Tuesday,
22nd & Brown Streets; Wednesday evening, Germantown Avenue & Winston Street; Thursday, Market Street between 24th & 33rd Streets; Thursday evening, 10th & Fitzwater Streets. (484) 602-5454, pitrucopizza.com, twitter.com/pitrucopizza
- A few intellectuals run Poi Dog Snack Shop, the only Hawaiian truck in town. The menu lists tacos, musubi and sweets. Ingredients include fried Spam, Kalua pork, small-batch tofu “poke” and mochiko- and furikake-battered chicken. Locations vary. poidogphilly.com
- The grilled-cheese sandwich, described by its makers as “brown-bagged meltyness,” is the raison d’être of Say Cheese, whose variations include a grown-up version featuring house-cured meats. The truck also serves up hand-butchered cheesesteaks, buffalo chicken sandwiches and sandwiches featuring homemade mozzarella. Locations include Drexel University’s campus and The Navy Yard. twitter.com/saycheesephilly
- Haute cuisine in a decidedly non-haute atmosphere is the idea beyond Street Food, where truffle parmesan fries, brisket with housemade gnocchi and salted brownies have made appearances on the seasonal menu. Changing locations include The Porch at 30th Street Station and The Navy Yard. streetfoodphilly.com, twitter.com/stfoodphilly
- A patisserie on wheels, Sugar Philly operates out of a truck named Sheila, vending perfectly engineered treats like crème fraîche cheesecake with blueberry compote, along with green-tea macaroons and classic crème brûlée. Locations and times vary, but the truck is often found in University City on 38th Street between Walnut and Sansom Streets and at city festivals. sugarphillytruck.com, twitter.com/sugarphilly
- The appropriately purple-painted Sweet Lavender truck tempts its patrons with desserts like champagne cupcakes, mason jar tiramisu and chocolate espresso pot de crème. The truck can be found variously at The Porch at 30th Street Station, The Navy Yard, Lankenau Hospital and at summer festivals. sweet-lavender.com
- The Mexican-inspired mashup menu at Taco Mondo might include spring lamb with romesco sauce and feta cheese; sweet and sour Korean-fried chicken; and smoked mushroom with avocado chimichurri sauce. The tacos are available at the bricks-and-mortar Revolution Taco (2015 Walnut Street) or at The Porch at 30th Street Station and various festivals and events through the season. twitter.com/tacomondo
- When the craving is for something decadent yet quirky, like, say, donuts topped with chocolate bacon chunks or Cap’N Crunch cereal, Undrgrnd Donuts is the truck to find. In addition to a steady Wednesday engagement at LOVE Park (16th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard), the truck appears at events around the region. undrgrnddonuts.com, twitter.com/undrgrnddonuts
- The Chipwich, taken up several notches, is the star of Zsa’s Ice Cream, a retro van serving artisanal ice creams and sorbets in flavors like salted caramel, maple toffee graham and cinnamon. Cookies include cinnamon chocolate chip oatmeal, dulce de leche and double chocolate chip. Various locations. zsasicecream.com, twitter.com/zsas_ice_cream
VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.
On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
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