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Best Foods at Reading Terminal Market

My husband and I are planning on a 2 hour extended lunch food tour at Reading Terminal next Friday, meaning that we get one dish from one vendor to share, go to the next vendor for one shared dish, and so on. So far I have on our list:

Roast pork sandwich at Dinics
Pancakes and apple dumplings (and maybe scrapple) at Dutch Eating Place (I know this is more than one dish but I can't decide which is best)
Pretzel from ??

We will also want to buy some food/snacks to take home to NYC and/or to eat while we explore philly.

Any suggestions on the best foods at Reading Terminal Market? I know that when we get there we will be overwhelmed with all the selection, so appreciate your help in narrowing it down.

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  1. Chicken wings from the PA Dutch folks in the corner behind the Dutch Eating Place. Strawberry Lemonade from the PA Dutch right next door to the chicken wings. Check out the snacks at the PA General store - Keystone Crunch, chocolate covered potato chips, but don't get the pretzel there. I'd send you to Herschel's but you get good deli I am sure.

    1. Ah, reading terminal market, only my favorite topic. No,seriously.

      Dutch Eating Place I guess is a must see, but I didn't love it there.
      DiNic's is a for sure must eat.
      Bassett's is tasty, but it depends if you really want some ice cream or if you'd like to go for something more along the lines of Termini (cannoli! Carrot cake!) or metropolitan bakery or a cookie from the cookie place.
      The soft pretzels (not philly style, but Amish style) and assorted baked goods from the Amish stands are good and the baked goods are wrapped for easy transport.
      Delilah's is home to the famous Mac and Cheese, but in my opinion not the end all be all.
      Also, I'm a big lover of the Fair Food Stand near the Metropolitan Bakery stand, but if you're not into the whole local sustainability deal, you'll find it ridiculously overpriced (it is pricey, but the baked goods and local dairy products are worth it to me).

      Have fun1

      1. It doesn't sound like much, but my favorite thing in the whole market was always just going to the Korean produce stand in the middle of the market and grabbing some of their home made Kimchee. Then I'd go to the Chinese stand and get some steamed white rice and some chopsticks. After that, I'd just grab a table and eat my rice and kimchee. There are other great things at Reading Terminal to be sure (Cinnamon ice cream at Bassets, hoe cakes with turkey sausage at the Down Home Diner, hoagies at Salumeria, among others). Still, that kimchee with rice made me happier than anything else in the place.

        Sarah M.

        3 Replies
        1. re: StrandedYankee

          who sells homemade kimchi in the market and how do i not know about it???

          1. re: mazza3

            There is a Korean produce stand nearish to the center of the market, a bit nearer the east side. A friend of mine tipped me off to their Kimchi and I fell in love with it. Now a few times I went and they didn't have it (they may have run out, they might just have not made any...there was a bit of a language barrier), but it was usually there. I remember having to ask them for it as they usually didn't have it out. Which always confused the heck out of me, but okay.

            Sarah M.

            1. re: StrandedYankee

              thank you!!!! i just bought some jarred kimchi from the asian supermarket on 4th and spring garden since you gave me such a woolie. :) i may have to sneak an rtm lunch in this week though....

        2. If it were me...
          1. Pancakes from the Dutch Eating Place
          2. A roast pork sandwich with provolone and broccoli rabe from DiNic's
          3. A soft pretzel from Miller's Twist (the cinnamon pretzel sticks there are pretty good too)
          4. A double chocolate cookie from Fourth St. Cookies
          5. A warm cinnamon bun (without icing) from Beiler's
          6. Milk chocolate peanut butter covered pretzels from Mueller's (unless it's really warm they would survive a trip back to NYC)
          7. A cannoli or slice of raspberry pound cake from Termini's
          8. Peanut butter, cinnamon, or mint chip ice cream from Bassett's
          9. Fresh squeezed orange juice at the dairy place behind the Dutch Eating Place (ask them to squeeze it up fresh)
          10. Regular or toffee covered cashews from the Society Hill Nut Co. at the PA General Store (they travel really well too)

          9 Replies
          1. re: bluehensfan

            I went onto the Termini Bros. website and didn't see any raspberry pound cakes. I thought I read in another thread that you actually have to order it in advance? They don't sell it by the slice? I hope that's not true, lol - I love raspberries, I love pound cake and the raspberry pound cake sounds fabulous. I guess I could order one to take home - how big is it? Thanks!

            1. re: Betsypaige

              Sometimes, if you're very lucky, Termini's has the raspberry pound cake by the slice. The cake itself is not overly large and runs around $20. The slices are $2 if you catch them and 12 make a whole cake. Not to discourage you in any way if you are looking for whole raspberries, but it's a vanilla pound cake with raspberry flavor (i.e. no raspberries per se in the cake) with a pink raspberry/vanilla tasting icing. I'm sure you could order it ahead of time...that and their lemon cooler cake are their popular summer cakes and they are not sold year-round (Termini's serves some things only in the summer, others only in the winter, and other things year round, and some specialty items (like the "dead bones" at halloween and the bunny cakes at Easter.)

              1. re: bluehensfan

                No, I'm not discouraged at all - I love whole raspberries, but I also love raspberry flavor and that cake sounds amazing (I also love vanilla and vanilla pound cake, lol). I might even order it my first day and enjoy it as a midnight snack in my hotel - it sounds that good (and I'd probably do it, too). I'm glad I'm coming during the summer - the lemon cooler cake sounds good and I would try it if they sold it buy the slice. What is dead bones? It sounds fun...and funky.

                Thanks for the info!

                1. re: Betsypaige

                  Dead bones (or technically "ossi di morti" meaning "bones of the dead" are cookies that Termini's only make up in October for Halloween. They are very hard and shaped like bones or other designs. They taste a bit like cloves and are meant to be dipped in coffee to soften them up...although I just crunch them like there's no tomorrow...

                  The raspberry cake is worth it and then some. Termini's never sells the lemon cooler cake by the slice but sometimes they will slice it up and put it out for samples...enjoy!

                  1. re: bluehensfan

                    yum, those dead bones sound delish - I don't drink coffee, so I'd have to crunch them like you.

                    Ok, I am definitely ordering a raspberry cake - if it tastes as good as it sounds......

                    Thanks for all of your help!

                    1. re: Betsypaige

                      You're more than welcome! Let me know if you try the cake. And the chocolate raspberry covered bananas (with a long macaroon cookie inside) at Termini's are good too.

                      I can't wait to hear what you eat...with all of the food choices at the market you both may want to take more than two hours...the pancakes and dumplings are enough food for a whole day.

                      1. re: bluehensfan

                        lol, there's a macaroon inside? I can't wait to try this thing. Too bad my eyes are bigger than my stomach - I know I will not be able to try everything that I want to, lol. My co-worker just spent a half day in Philly and had the pancakes at the Dutch Eating Place. He said they were fantastic - very thin, almost crepe-like. I love crepes, so that's good news... I may have to keep a journal on this trip of everything I eat, lol.

                        I will definitely report back -you guys have been a great help. Thanks so much!

              2. re: Betsypaige

                Try the chocolate-raspberry covered bananas at Termini's!

                1. re: xtian

                  chocolate-raspberry covered bananas? Wow, what a combination - I will definitely try one. I love anything with a chocolate-raspberry combo - they go so well together - but over bananas? Fantastic, lol..thanks for the tip!

            2. I love the terminal!! If it were me (not in any certain order):

              "Roast pork sandwich at Dinics
              Pancakes and apple dumplings (and maybe scrapple) at Dutch Eating Place (I know this is more than one dish but I can't decide which is best)
              Pretzel from ??"
              ...pretzel from Fishers Amish Stand
              *Gadzooks ice cream from Bassetts
              *dumplings from Sang Kee Duck House
              *salmon with broccoli OR chicken spring roll from Little Thai House
              *iced coffee from Old City
              *canolli from Terminis

              Take Home:
              *chocolate chip cookies from 4th St Cookie Co
              *Chocolate covered pretzels from PA General Store
              *baked cookes from Beilers Bakery

              1 Reply
              1. re: jessicheese

                Gadzooks! yes, definitely gadzooks. turned me on to peanut butter in ice cream.

              2. No one has mentioned the Italian hoagie from Salumeria. It's one of the city's great hoagies, I think.

                Pastrami at Hershel's is also excellent, it almost rivals Katz' in NYC.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                  I always take 1st timers to the terminal and get and DiNic's pulled pork with provey/greens and a Hershel's Hot Cornbeef sandwich. Cut them in half and try both. Probably my two favorite sandwiches in the city. Shortly after I go into a meat coma and have someone hit me with a defibrillator to ensure my heart keeps beating.

                  1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                    The pastrami and corned beef sandwiches kick the sh¡t out of DiNic's pork sandwiches. I'd go for Hershel's instead.

                    Avoid the oyster bar like the plague. Tasteless, badly shucked oysters (lotsa shell), and the clam bisque or whatever it was my poor man was subjected to tasted like flour. Ugh.

                    1. re: linguafood

                      I have to put a word in for the Dinics/Hershel's sharing scheme Juice mentioned. But maybe bring two more friends and share the wealth. Both sandwiches are HUGE! They are ridiculously good, but it's summer. Who needs the meat sweats?

                  2. A few of my faves, most of which were already repeated on here:

                    roast pork at DiNics
                    Amish pretzel at ?? (It used to be called Fishers, I don't know the name of it now)
                    grilled salmon at Little Thai House
                    roasted chicken at Dienner's BBQ
                    tacos at 12th St. Cantina
                    burgers at Down Home Diner
                    corned beef at Herschel's
                    choc chip and white choc macadamia cookies at Famous 4th St Cookies

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lawgirl3278

                      Dienner's! That's the name of the place (I get their roasted wings, not a whole chicken)

                    2. All good suggestions. I prefer the Down Home Diner for breakfast to the Dutch Eating Place, though both are good. To my taste, the scrapple is better at the DHD, though my standard non-egg breakfast there is the plate with sausage, gravy, and biscuits.

                      Hershel's pastrami and corned beef are cured in-house, and they do a fine job. It's also one of the few establishments in town where you can get belly lox (i.e., salty, unsmoked) which is the REAL lox; all the others are smoked, including salmon. It's available both pre-sliced and hand-sliced; go for the latter.

                      For sweets, there's also Flying Monkey in center court. The cupcakes are excellent. I'm not a fan of Bieler's, the Pennsylvania Dutch bakery; they are representative of Amish baked goods, but much too sweet for me.

                      If you don't have access to decent South Asian food at home, you might want to try Nanee's Kitchen for pakoras and various Indian-Pakistani type fritters.

                      Although DiNic's is most known for its roast pork, all the other sandwiches are excellent, too: brisket, roast beef, veal, sausage. I've attached a photo of Tommy and one of his goodies in pre-sliced form.

                      To keep up to date on the Reading Terminal Market and find out what's happening there, go to its website -- http://www.readingterminalmarket.org -- or a blog I maintain about the market at http://www.bookschlepper.com/marketblog.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: rlibkind

                        I think I'd add the Chicken a la Rocco from Carmen's (across from where Rick's steaks used to be) the list as well.

                        1. re: rlibkind

                          Bob, you don't like Beiler's strawberry cream donuts?

                          1. re: rlibkind

                            Personally, I always thought that the Down Home Diner kicked the butt off of the Dutch Eating Place for breakfast or lunch. I'm very partial to the hoe cakes with turkey sausage and the eggs with scrapple BUT you have to have them make the eggs over easy instead of poached!!! Otherwise, the water that clings to the eggs makes the scrapple soggy (which is a real pity because they use about the best scrapple I've ever tasted). I also love their skillet fried chicken and their turkey platter. I seem to recall also loving their turkey club.

                            God, I miss Philly!

                            Sarah M.

                          2. Yo!

                            For the vegetarians amongst y'all you can get a vegan(!) cheesesteak from a little stall in the middle somewhere. And, yes, pre veg days I've had em all, being from a Pat's family...and this vegan one ain't bad if you're not eating critters and wanna taste of Philly.

                            1. Change the DiNics sandwich to a brisket, wet. No cheese. Very good brisket sandwich. JMO

                              1. There are two places I really like to get lunch when I go to RTM; Mezze, which is a Meditteranean restaurant,, I had an excellant piece of salmon with great vegetables the last time I ate there, and the Greek place, which I can't recall the name of, but great gyros.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: enchanted

                                  Mezze has pretty good bruschetta and they also have great salmon at the Thai place. Olympic Gyro is the Greek place and they do have some of the best gyros around in my opinion. Now if I could only get them to do lamb on a spit or grilled octopus...

                                2. Not best food at the RTM - because they aren't open yet - but there is a new stand opening called Cajun Kitchen. My NOLA food cravings have peaked!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Bigley9

                                    I know- I'm so excited for that!!!

                                  2. I'd love to hear a recap! Please let us know what you ended up doing!

                                    1. Had a turkey hoagie at Salumeria. Asked for mayo but they gave me their house spread which was quite interesting. Good count of turkey, excellent toppings, stomach was very happy. I passed Dinics and saw a customer devouring a roast pork with Broccoli Rabe which looked amazing. That's my next stop,

                                      one small edit: This place was recently voted #3 by WIP radio recently as part of their Hoagie Contest. I would not place this in my top 10, for the record. Good, just not great.

                                      1. i usually like to balance out a buttery amish pretzel with the juice bar's (across from le bus) orange + banana + strawberry smoothie. then my world is balanced and delicious and i don't feel too guilty. :)