Shabu-Shabu in Philadelphia?
Banh Mi is easy. Look here:
(the map is missing several locations noted in the chowhound thead, and be advised that O Sandwiches has closed).
Xiao long bao is not abundant, but available. Look into Sakura Mandarin, Dim Sum House, and Red Kings, all in Chinatown. The link below has some info, and there are threads about if you search for XLB or soup dumplings:
There is a real ramen shortage here. A number of Japanese and sushi restaurants serve it (the ramen served at Morimoto for lunch is killer), but I only know of one noodle house that does--the Tampopo in West Philly, and it's just ok. Hopefully you've discovered that Vietnamese and Chinese noodle soups are very easy to find.
The Mexicans around here don't know how to make burritos; every tacqueria does something different and most are not that great IMO (stick with tacos and platters), with the exception of Jose's Tacos at 10th & Buttonwood. Maybe you'll get lucky and find a place that makes one you like, but for California-style burritos I think the best are at the gringo places like El Fuego and Chipotle. I've heard good things about Mexicali in West Philly. QDobas are around but I think they're pretty bad. There's also Santa Fe Burrito Co which I have never tried.
Shabu Shabu I have not seen. If I had to take a guess, one of the Korean restaurants in North Philly might do it (I know Shabu Shabu is Japanese but in other areas I've seen it popular at restaurants run by Koreans).
fuji mountain on chestnut street does shabu shabu. but i have never been. am itching to try it out though, LOVED eating shabu shabu in japan.
and i agree with pretty much everything barryg said, and will say that mexicali's buritos are v good, but definitely more californian than mexican.
and ramen is almost as scarce as good soba soups. le sigh. :(
Their food is awesome but no burritos on the last menu I saw.
The burritos OP gets in California are not really Mexican food and I don't think they exist in any form in Puebla, where most of the Mexican immigrants here seem to be from, which I think is why it's hard to find a good burrito. Getting burritos at the taquerias is sort of like getting General Tso's Chicken in Chinatown.
I love California burritos btw.
Maralyn - I also lived in the Bay Area and have trouble finding the same foods I was used to in CA here in PA! With that said there is a great food culture here in Philly, albeit different than the Bay Area.
Years ago, our favorite place for shabu shabu was in Carmel (at the Flying Fish). Great ingredients and dipping sauces........ Wow, good memories. Anyway, we have found that we can recreate the dish fairly well here - everything from the little stove, various ingredients, and dipping sauces can all be found at HMart. Not exactly the same sensation, but still a quality meal!