Mélange of Cuisines and Culture in Philadelphia
Cheese steak reigns supreme in Philadelphia. However, there is a lot more to this city’s lively culinary scene than opting between ‘provi widdout’ and ‘Whiz wit’ (steak sandwich tucked with Cheese Whiz and brown fried onions). You will find taco galore and also Chinese food trucks, falafel carts and soul food takeaway counters at strategic points across the length and breadth Philadelphia-making it the food capital of the nation -in the right sense of the words.
But what makes local food truly unique here is the amazing collision of two absolute disparate groups-the sausage-makers and rowdy butchers from the Italian immigrant sector and the more pious Amish traders’ busily ferrying traditional pastries to the city markets from their farmhouse kitchens. For delicious gastronomic pleasures, you need to sample their signature dishes at the time-tested food stands dotting the town. Read on for some of the most interesting items to savor on your trip to Philadelphia.
A perfect hot-weather treat – this sugary, icy hybrid of Sorbet, smoothie and Italian ice – boasts of being a Philadelphia invention with its roots in Italy. Water ice is traditionally prepared by using classic fruit flavors such as lemon or cherry, and the servings are ladled into paper cups. If you looking for quality and taste alike, then head towards the city’s oldest purveyors of this sticky-sweet dessert doled out by John’s Water Ice Counter-he has been in the trade since 1945 and has four simple varieties to his name. Get yourself into the summery spirit by taking a water ice tour of southern Philly and then move on to yet another local favorite at Italiano’s Water Ice situated near 2551 South 12th Street.
The rolling and lush hilly terrains of Lancaster County, located just off the city of Philadelphia, boasts of a thriving Amish population. This small community is known for leading a hard-working but peaceful life: they trill their lands with horse-drawn tractors; milk cows; churn butter in farmhouse kitchens to manufacture regional time-honored dishes that are attributed to Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country and more.
Interestingly, in spite of valuing their privacy and choosing to live away from the modern world around them; some families are now bringing their traditional delicacies to the vendors’ booths situated at Reading Terminal Market. From farm fresh apple fritters, homemade breads, sticky buns and delightful to the molasses-rich shoo-fly pie-the products displayed at their Amish-run stands are a must-sample!
In Philadelphia, where cheese steak has always dominated the sandwich scene, the Italian hoagie inspires its fair share of fanatical devotion to neighborhood delis and are oft associated with heated debates as to who makes it best. Locals swear by the ones offered by Primo Hoagies and the hoagies of Chickie’s Italian Deli–both in South Philly; with Sarcone’s Deli at Italian Market at a close second.
Are you ready to indulge? Enjoy!