June 18, 2012
Philadelphia is full of moveable feasts, with the mobile food trend hitting the streets with fuller force than ever before.
Food trucks have been popular for the past few years, but of late you’d be hard-pressed to find an outdoor event that doesn’t include food trucks. And with the new Philly Mobile Food Association, last year’s Philadelphia Vendy Awards and the astronomic growth of the Night Market food truck bazaars, we don’t see that stopping any time soon.
From delicious farm-to-truck burgers to spicy Asian fare to summer-perfect ice cream, food trucks are fueling Philadelphia right now.
Our top picks for Philadelphia food trucks, below:
• Yumtown: Local and humane farm products are the foundation for Yumtown’s creative cookery. Menu items include the PB&J, a hearty concoction made with pork belly, pumpkin butter and chile jam served on tostones, and the Bat out of Hell, a meatloaf sandwich with carrots, spinach, horseradish cream and spicy ketchup. 13th & W. Norris Streets.
• Kung Fu Hoagies: Specializing in vegetarian and vegan fare, Kung Fu Hoagies has wooed the meat-free set with tofu banh mi, BBQ “beef” hoagies and sesame peanut “chicken” noodles. Roaming on weekdays and at Clark Park on Sundays. 43rd Street & Baltimore Avenue.
• Cucina Zapata: Captain Crunch-crusted tilapia tacos. Need we say more? Thai food and tacos are a beautiful mix, and Cucina Zapata does it right. There, we said more. 31st & Ludlow Streets.
• The Dapper Dog: The Dolce Vita (provolone, pepperoni and tomato sauce) and the Mack (macaroni and cheese) are just a couple of the hot dog-topping options at The Dapper Dog, parked during lunch hours at Temple University (13th & Norris Streets) and during late-night hours in Northern Liberties (2nd & Poplar Streets).
• Lucky Old Souls: You must try this truck. A jazz radio show and a concert series were the earliest ventures for Lucky Old Souls, which has since expanded into a burger truck, emphasizing farm-to-truck goodies like grass-fed beef burgers, hand-cut fries (oohhhhh the fries), thick milkshakes and freshly made condiments. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Love Park, 16th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard; Wednesdays, 33rd & Arch Streets; Second and Fourth Saturdays, Chestnut Hill Farmers’ Market, Germantown Avenue & Winston Road; Sundays, Clark Park, 43rd Street & Baltimore Avenue.
Coffee & Dessert
• HubBub Coffee: The shiny red caffeine truck known as HubBub Coffee purveys Stumptown espresso drinks drawn out of swank La Marzocco machines, as well as muffin tops, cinnamon rolls and cookies. 38th & Spruce Streets.
• Call Me Cupcake: Among the goodies on offer at the Call Me Cupcake truck are carrot cake, red velvet and seasonal strawberry variations. The roaming truck is in the process of establishing a new schedule.
• Buttercream: From Love Park to South Philly and back again, Buttercream brings cupcakes to the masses, in tempting flavors like banana with Nutella buttercream and yellow cake with peanut-butter buttercream.
Read on for food trucks serving global fare, ice cream and more.
• Sugar Philly: A patisserie on wheels, Sugar Philly offers a seasonal menu of treats like peanut panna cotta with Concord grape sauce, spicy Mexican-layered chocolate cake and mango rice pudding with basil syrup and coconut meringue. 38th Street between Walnut & Sansom Streets.
• Melange Tea Cart: The brewed beverages of University City’s Melange Tea Cart can be ordered iced or hot, and options range from rosehip hibiscus tisane to genmaicha and traditional black teas, all served in compostable corn cups. When possible, the cart appears at local farmers’ markets and other locations to bring tea to the masses. 33rd & Market Streets.
• Rival Bros: An espresso bar on wheels, Rival Bros’ truck, from Damien Pileggi and his childhood friend Pub & Kitchen Chef Jonathan Adams, serves up lattes, pour-overs and drip-brewed cups. It also sells fresh-roasted beans by the bag. 33rd & Arch Streets.
• Gozen Yogurt: It’s frozen yogurt on the go. Find it, if you didn’t try it at the last Night Market, at varying Center City spots for a refreshing summer treat.
• Little Baby’s Ice Cream Truck: It’s really a cart, but it’s too delicious to leave off. Little Baby’s produces handmade ice cream, offering a rotating menu of surprising and unusual flavors, including non-dairy options, crafted in small batches. Find them at Morgan’s Pier, Union Transfer and other places around town.
• Falafel Truck: Customers of the Falafel Truck know that there are basically two choices at this Greek eatery—the heftily portioned fried chickpea balls come in either sandwich or platter form—but the array of accompanying tastily spiced treats (beet hummus, fresh grapes, salads) changes daily. 20th & Market Streets.
• Koja: The spicy pork bulgogi, soba noodles and tofu stir-fries at the Koja truck (the name stands for “Korean-Japanese”) have been setting West Philly mouths afire for years now. 38th & Sansom Streets.
• Jamaican D’s: Fans line up for the beef patties, curry goat and oxtails at Jamaican D’s, a friendly jerk-centric truck, which has become a mainstay of the Community College of Philadelphia campus. 17th & Spring Garden Streets.
• Gigi’s and Big R: This 2011 Vendy Cup winner delivers fried chicken and fish that are golden and crispy on the outside, moist and flaky on the inside. 38th & Spruce and 30th & Market Streets.
• Denise’s: Soul and Caribbean foods mix and mingle on the giant platters dished out at Denise’s, a 30th Street Station landmark that specializes in jerk chicken, cornbread, mac and cheese and candied yams—all easily sopped up with slices of Wonder bread. 30th & Chestnut Streets.
• Yue Kee: Since 1983, Yue Kee has been charming visitors with its no-nonsense proprietress and cheap, authentic Chinese- and Hong Kong-style eats like sesame chicken, fried fish in garlic sauce and stewed pork ribs with rice. 238 S. 38th Street.
• Taco Loco: The tacos on offer at Pennsport’s Taco Loco include pastor, chicken, tripe, tongue and chorizo fillings, which are delicately seasoned with chopped onions and cilantro and best washed down with a bottle of Jarritos soda. Jefferson Square Park, between 3rd & 4th Streets and Federal Street & Washington Avenue.
• Guapos Tacos: This roving kitchen is Iron Chef Jose Garces’ bottle-cap- bedazzled Guapos Tacos truck. Frequenting neighborhoods like Northern Liberties and Fairmount, Guapos serves up simple Mexican fare like guacamole with cotija cheese, along with pork, duck and vegetarian tacos.
• Chewy’s: From eight delicious breakfast sandwiches to lunch staples like Fried Chicken and Waffles and Bacon Cheeseburgers, Chewy’s is, as one Yelper puts it, “pretty bomb.” Bonus: they recycle their fryer oil for fuel to help reduce pollution. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at Market Street, between 34th and 35th; Wednesdays at Love Park.
• Tacos Don Memo: The wait for lunch can be long, but worth it, at Tacos Don Memo, whose passionate University City fan base swears by the tacos al pastor, vegetarian burritos and gigantic tortas layered with mayo, cheese and pickled jalapeños. 3800 Sansom Street.
• Say Cheese: The grilled cheese sandwich is the raison d’être of Say Cheese, a Temple University favorite, and the variations include The Mary D (meatball grilled cheese), El Duke (Mexican-inspired) and the Frenchy (French onion). Mondays through Thursdays, W. Norris Street between 12th & 13th Streets; Fridays, Love Park, 16th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
• Magic Carpet: Catering to vegetarian eaters long before it was de rigueur, Penn staple Magic Carpet has a slew of meat-free options, from the Smurf ’n Turf platter (tofu meatballs, rice, veggies and cheese) to the Sloppy Jason pita sandwiches and the exquisitely light spinach pies. 36th & Spruce Streets, 34th & Walnut Streets.
• Sexy Green Truck: Temple University’s Sexy Green Truck is equally friendly to vegetarians and meat-eaters, with healthy options like salads and pita sandwiches—and not-so-healthy options like waffle cheese fries. 11th Street & Montgomery Avenue.
• The Spot: Specialty burgers, hand-cut fries, cheesesteaks and creative concoctions like meatballs stuffed with sharp provolone, have made newcomer The Spot a highly sought-after lunch stop on Drexel’s campus. 33rd & Arch Streets.
• Pitruco Pizza: A mobile wood-fired oven bakes the eggplant, sausage and radicchio pies at Pitruco Pizza, which splits its time between Love Park and Drexel’s campus. Mondays and Wednesdays, 16th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 33rd & Arch Streets.
• Creperie truck: The red-and-blue-striped Creperie truck is a Temple University stalwart. Beyond the traditional fillings of ham and cheese and Nutella and banana, there are quirky combos such as gyro meat, pepperoni, cheese, tomato sauce and ranch dressing. 13th & Norris Streets.