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Apr 17, 2007 10:38 AM

Philly street food -- what and where?

Hi all,

Every day I walk past the shiny silver vendor carts (that's probably not the appropriate term, set me straight) and most seem to have good smells coming from inside and lines of patrons waiting at the window.

Does the food vary a lot from place to place? Any street food you think is especially good? Would appreciate any history on these meals on wheels and recs on which ones to try.

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  1. Generically I think many people in Philly call them "Food truck" although the traditional silver ones are actually trailered carts as you've seen. Some are actual trucks or vans serving out from the side with the preparers inside the truck.

    There are of course dozens of the typical breakfast/lunch grill trucks which mostly serve the same menu - eggs and sausage, cheesesteaks, burgers, dogs etc.

    But then there are the ethnic and specialty trucks which shine. The Falafel guy at 20th & Market. Magic Carpet vegetarian. the Korean truck, the Greek truck, the Sushi truck, etc.

    Lots of trucks out by West Philly on or near HUP, Penn's campus, Drexel's campus. The Bride just posted about a new taco truck.

    4 Replies
    1. re: JugglerDave

      and don't forget about the fruit trucks! you get such a nice amt of fruit salad, you can choose which fruits & a banana! I wish these trucks were in the burbs!

      1. re: pamd

        Some unkinder folks refer to them as "Roach Coaches." There are a number of interesting ethnic ones near the Post Office across from 30th Street Station, lots of Carribean stuff !

        I used to get pretty passable Lo Mein from "Elizabeth's Small Kitchen" at 17th between Arch and the Parkway. She has a HUGE menu for a little coach. There are pretty good Fallafel at 16th and JFK. The hot dogs at 18th and Walnut smell and taste great.

        An interesting tidbit ... Mayor John Street used to own and run a Hot Dog cart up at Temple. Legend has it, a Law professor took a liking to him and encouraged him to apply to Law School.

        1. re: phillyjazz

          Elizabeth's small kitchen disappeared when there was some construction, and never came back. Helen and Chung, at 17th and the parkway, disappeared around New Years this year and never came back. Anyone know of any good substitutes?

        2. re: pamd

          I don't know where those fruit trucks get their fruit, but when I worked in University City I used to get the most fantastic fruit ever from the fruit trucks.

          I didn't care much for the Magic Carpet, but it was quite popular. There was a little truck, I think it was called Sal's, on the corner of 36th and Spruce and across from Magic Carpet, that made the *best* breakfast sandwiches.