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Jul 23, 2010 12:35 PM

Philadelphia is the 4th best city in the entire world for street food according to Budget Travel!

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  1. Hehehahahahaaa.. I mean come on now, I love our restaurant scene but our street food scene sucks.

    "and, of course, cheesesteaks, now being reimagined in Vietnamese and Mexican versions."

    ??? Are they talking about banh mi? A banh mi isn't a "reimagined" cheesesteak. What Mexican versions?

    10 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead

      That whole "reimagined" cheesesteaks is ridiculous, much like this list. Philly's restaurant scene is fab, but our street food isn't on the level of a Singaphore or Hanoi (and Hanoi over Saigon???). And I love the Italian Market, but I think of street food more in terms of something like Red Hook's vendors or 38th St. in UCity more than what's going on at the Italian Market.

      And I still want to know what a reimagined Vietnamese or Mexican cheesesteak looks and taste like!

      1. re: Ali

        Speaking of which - are the trucks on 38th St around on Saturday? What about the felafel nazi on 20th and Market, does he sling them on the weekend?

        1. re: AgentRed

          The trucks around 38th are rarely but sometimes available on Saturdays. It depends on the truck you're looking for. The sweets one and the coffee are both available on Saturdays (or at least, according to their schedule on the web), but the others, that's always iffy. The thing about those trucks is that they're catering toward the Penn population in general and students in particular. It's why some of the trucks have erratic schedules during the summer and why some of the trucks just aren't open on Saturdays. (I was a Penn student, so that was my scene, but if you're into food trucks, I hear that Drexel & Temple areas both have good ones.)

          The falafel nazi is definitely not a Saturday guy or at least he never had been before. Christos does M-F only, and even then, no one really knows his schedule (like when he disappeared for a vacation just a month or two ago).

          1. re: Ali

            Thanks for the detailed reply Ali!

        2. re: Ali

          Not really sold on the street, but I do believe that the "peasant food" we originated--cheesesteaks, hoagies, roast pork sandwiches--is among the best junk food in the world.

          1. re: barryg

            I disagree with categorizing it as "junk food". To me, junk food is something like McDonald's and the sandwiches you mention are light years away from that (when done properly). Sure, they are high in fat and calories and you probably should not be eating them every day, but the quality of ingredients and the care of preparation are not in the same league.

            1. re: Philly Ray

              That's all I meant by junk food and I wasn't using it as a pejoratively. The best sandwich shops definitely put a lot of care into ingredient selection and preparation.

              1. re: barryg

                That's... an interesting pedagogical question though - I'd say your average "junk food" has a huge amount of care going in to ingredient selection and preparation.

                For instance, McDonalds will pay food science experts millions of dollars to test literally test a hundred different blends of spices/chemicals to go in to their burger sauce. And the care of preparation also applies, the machines used to bake, fill and pack a Tastykake are lightyears ahead of anything your average hoagie joint is using.

                Instead, I would say junk food is any food that's unhealthy and high in cholestrol, fat, salt etc - so cheesesteaks definitely fall under the same "junk food" category as McDonalds. Gourmet junk food is still junk food. That doesn't mean I don't love cheesesteaks or a roast pork sandwich (I'll spend $25 on Village Whiskey's foie gras burger) but it's still junk food, call a spade a spade.

                1. re: AgentRed

                  Ok, I'll call a spade a spade...That's ridiculous!!!

                  So, flipping Grade D beef at McDonald's is the same care of ingredients and preparation as a slow-roasted roast pork sandwich at DiNic's or John's? And how is a machine cranking out Tastykakes ahead of a human being making a hoagie (not an assembly-line Subway or Quizno's, but something where everything is sliced and made to order)?

                  1. re: Philly Ray

                    Junk food is defined by the nutritional value not by the preparation.

                    Lifted from Wikipedia:

                    "Junk food is an informal term applied to some foods which are perceived to have little or no nutritional value, or to products with nutritional value but which also have ingredients considered unhealthy when regularly eaten, or to those considered unhealthy to consume at all. The term was coined by Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, in 1972."