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Releases: Expanded View

Jun 27 2017

Philadelphia Food Trucks Satisfy

The Mobile Food Movement Flourishes Around Many Philly 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 flourishes. If an eater craves something, chances are they can source it on wheels: brick-oven soppressata pizza (Pitruco Pizza), green tea macaroons (Sugar Philly), banh mi and pho (iPho), sweet-cream ice cream (Zsa’s Ice Cream), poke burritos (Hai Street Kitchen). That’s not even mentioning staples such as soul food, cheesesteaks, tacos, 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:

University City:

  • Rio Brazilian Steak – Grilled skewers of churrasco are tucked into neat sandwiches at this fiery Brazilian meat mobile. Diners make like the girl from Ipanema and go with the namesake sandwich of flame-grilled top sirloin and pineapple, washed down with fizzy can of caffeinated Guaraná Antarctica. Monday through Friday. 3400 Market Street, riobrasiliansteak.com, @riobrazilsteak
  • Cucina Zapata – Thai meets Mexican in this whimsical offering near Drexel’s campus. On offer: cereal-crusted tofu or tilapia tacos, daily changing curries and lemongrass tea. Weekdays. 31st & Ludlow Streets, @cucina_zapata
  • Denise’s – Soul and Caribbean foods mix and mingle on the giant platters dished out at this 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
  • Gigi and Big R – This long-established operation serves up down-home Jamaican and soul 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
  • iPho – This sleek new addition to the University City truck scene dishes out banh mi (Vietnamese hoagies), barbecued pork rice plates and steamy bowls of ready-to-go pho. Weekdays. 33rd & Market Streets, @ipho.sonskitchen
  • Kung Fu Hoagies – Specializing in vegetarian and vegan fare, Kung Fu’s Clark Park and South Philly carts woo the meat-free set on weekends with tofu banh mi, BBQ “beef” hoagies and cold sesame peanut “chicken” noodles. Most Saturdays. 43rd Street & Chester Avenue; E. Passyunk Avenue & Dickinson Street, (267) 344-6259, kungfuhoagies.com
  • Magic Carpet – Catering to budget-minded vegetarian eaters since 1984—long before it was trendy—this Penn staple (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. 34th & Walnut Streets and Spruce Street between 35th & 36th Streets, (215) 334-0948, magiccarpetfoods.com
  • Royal Tea – Nobody can resist bubble teas, especially not honeydew or yogurt mango. Add in tasty snacks like braised pork belly dumplings and fried fish balls, and Royal is a must-try truck. Closed Sunday. 40th Street & Locust Streets; 33rd & Market Streets, @royalteatruck
  • Tacos Don Memo – The wait for lunch can be long here, thanks to a passionate University City fan base who swears by the generous tacos al pastor, vegetarian burritos and gigantic tortas layered with mayo, cheese and pickled jalapeños. Weekdays. 3800 Sansom Street
  • Yue Kee – Since 1983 this West Philly stop has charmed 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

Temple University:

  • Cloud Coffee – A pair of grads from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art use ReAnimator beans and careful effort to create marvelous beverages at this cool spot. Bonus: The owners screen films and curate art shows right out of their truck. Monday through Friday. Norris Street between 12th & 13th Streets. cloudcoffeephilly.com
  • The Creperie – Classic (Nutella, banana, berries) and not-so-classic (pepperoni, ranch dressing, barbecue ribs, tuna salad) fillings stuff the crepes at this longtime campus favorite. Monday through Saturday. 13th & W. Norris Streets, (215) 778-4771, facebook.com/crepetruck
  • Temple Teppanyaki Japanese and Korean Food – Serving students for years this truck pleases with cheap, consistently tasty fare. Favorites on the expansive menu include chicken wings, dumplings and noodles. Weekdays. 12th & Norris Streets, facebook.com/templeteppanyaki

Other Neighborhoods:

  • Banging Franklin Curry – The border of Point Breeze and Graduate Hospital seems an unlikely locale for a Japanese street food setup, but this curry cart has won a fast following. Choose from crisp chicken or pork katsu topped with a rich carrot- and potato-studded curry and served on a scoop of white rice with some shredded cabbage for crunch. Weekends. 18th Street & Washington Avenue, bangincurryfranklin.com
  • Boba & Co. – On a South Philly corner, potted palms and wooden tables create an outdoor cafe feel at this Cambodian snack stand. Bubble teas, fruity shaved ice and fresh pressed sugar cane juices complement smoky sate skewers and sticky rice. Tuesday through Sunday. 6th Street & Moyamensing Avenue, @boba_and_company
  • Calle del Sabor – Open nights through late night in Fishtown, this truck feeds the taco-craving masses with inventive combinations. Among the highlights are Korean smoked pork, bacon and chorizo (3 Little Pigs) and tequila-marinated brisket (El Toro). Monday through Saturday. Frankford & Girard Avenues, calledelsabor.com
  • Jamaican D’s – Fans line up for the brown stew chicken, curry goat and oxtails at this 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
  • Octopus Falafel Truck – Famous for its heftily portioned fried chickpea balls, Center City’s boisterous outpost 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
  • Tacos El Rodeo – Decked out in colorful Mexican murals, this Washington Avenue staple keeps convenient noon to midnight hours on the regular. Inside, a slowly spinning trompa of pineapple-y al pastor makes for killer avocado-topped tacos and chubby burritos served with homemade red and green salsas. Daily. 10th Street & Washington Avenue, (267) 997-3415
  • Taco Loco – The tacos at this Pennsport truck have pastor, chicken, tripe, tongue or 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, 4th Street & Washington Avenue, (215) 883-9191

Roving:

  • The Cow and The Curd – Philly had no idea it was even missing fried cheese curds until this truck rolled into town. The dairy-celebrating truck makes serious tracks, spreading the creamy gospel of Wisconsin. Locations vary. thecowandthecurd.com, @cowandthecurd
  • Dump-N-Roll – The dumplings and spring rolls served from this anime-illustrated truck are vessels for some truly out-there creations. Perfect post-party, Dump’s handheld fare includes cheesy margherita pizza rolls, tempura-fried bacon cheeseburger wontons and sides of smoked truffle edamame. Locations vary. dumpnroll.com
  • Farm Truck – This artsy, rustic and eco-friendly self-proclaimed food truck and gallery partners with regional farm to create seasonal fare that might include a chopped apple salad or Sriracha sausage on a long roll. The truck occasionally vends fresh produce too. Locations vary. farmtruckphilly.com, @farm_truck
  • Foolish Waffles – Unafraid to think outside the syrup bottle, the women behind this batter-centric truck use waffles as the base for a menu that ranges from egg sandwiches to Southeast Asian-inspired banh mi. Belgian-style sugar waffles are given the sundae treatment with toppings like Nutella, sweetened condensed milk and seasonal fruit. Locations vary. foolishwaffles.com, @foolishwaffles
  • Hai Street Kitchen Truck – Philly’s sushi burrito specialist hits the road to bring mega maki rolls to the masses. An Asian-accented menu makes for all sorts of customizable bowls, rolls and salads topped with everything from tuna tartare with pickled jicama to shrimp tempura finished with spicy jalapeno aioli. Locations vary. haistreetkitchen.com, @haistkitchenus
  • HEARTFood Truck – This regular at farmers’ markets around the region dedicates 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. @heartfoodtruck
  • Local 215 – 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 here sound more like gastropub fare, well, that’s exactly the point. Named for Philadelphia’s original area code. Locations vary. (215) 970-0024, local215foodtruck.com, @local215
  • Ka’Chi – This truck explores the endless creative possibilities of Pan-Asian cooking. The Chester County-based operation travels to area festivals and peddles street eats like kimchi rice balls, bibimbap sliders and Spam rice bowls. Locations vary. kachitruck.com, @kachiphilly
  • Mama’s Meatballs – Headquartered in Fishtown, Mama’s traverses the city to sell its Italian delights. Eaters can find specials like Rocky Ball Boa (sweet sausage, sauteed peppers and onions) and Raba Father (turkey and broccoli rabe meatball) at festivals and events across the region. mamasmeatballs.com, @mamasballs
  • Mom-Mom’s Polish Food Cart – This colorfully festooned vehicle delivers what its name promises: inventive pierogies and other Polish specialties that do Port Richmond proud. Find them on Sundays at Headhouse Farmers’ Market and at city festivals. @mommomnomnom
  • Pitruco Pizza – A mobile wood-fired oven bakes the charred-crust,eggplant, sausage, soppressata, spicy garlic, margherita and radicchio pies at one of the most reliably everywhere trucks on this list. 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, @pitrucopizza
  • Poi Dog Snack Shop – A few intellectuals run 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. Poi Dog also has a brick-and-mortar location at 100 ½ S. 21st Street. Locations vary. poidogphilly.com
  • Say Cheese – The grilled-cheese sandwich, described by its makers as “brown-bagged meltyness,” is the raison d’être here; 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 vary. @saycheesephilly
  • Schmear It – The city’s one and only bagel-mobile gives guests a chance to customize their schmears with a rainbow of cream cheese mix-ins. Traditionalists can opt for classics—scallions and lox—while the more adventurous members of the bagel brigade mix mango and Sriracha into their spread. The Schmear crew’s charitable business model includes bimonthly fundraising campaigns benefiting local nonprofits. Locations vary. @schmearit
  • Sugar Philly – A patisserie on wheels 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, @sugarphilly
  • Sweet Lavender – Appropriately purple-painted, this 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 35th and Market Streets and at summer festivals. sweet-lavender.com
  • Zsa’s Ice Cream – A retro van serves artisanal ice creams and sorbets in flavors like salted caramel, peppermint bark and cinnamon—between two cookies, including chocolate chip oatmeal, salted toffee almond and double chocolate chip. Locations vary. zsasicecream.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.
 

Contact(s):
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