Philadelphia: Eats and treats

One of the better perks of being a graduate student are funded trips to research conferences. Aside from being able to share your work with other researchers, you also get to explore cities that you might otherwise never think of visiting, such as Philly.

When I say exploring, I really mean eating as much as I can. This week’s post is not a recipe I tried but, instead, it’s all the food I was able to fit into my short trip to Philadelphia.

Reading Terminal Market is a foodie paradise with a mix of fresh produce and meats, plus a wide variety of eateries.


My first stop at the Market was Dinic’s Roast Pork Sandwich with spinach and provolone cheese. This popular sandwich was named best sandwich in the US by the Travel channel. So I had to try it. It didn’t disappoint with the pork not being overly dry and the greens gave the sandwich texture. I wouldn’t say it’s my top sandwich but it comes close to Carnagi Deli’s hot pastrami sandwich in NYC and Electric Mud’s brisket sandwich in Toronto.


Sang Kee’s roasted duck in noodle soup
This was one of two duck dishes I had in Philly. The egg noodles and broth was your standard Asian dish. The duck was good, but, something I can easily get in Toronto. The ratio of fat to meat was also a bit too high for me but, nevertheless, it was some tasty duck.


The Dutch corner in the market has food stalls with baked goods and dishes brought to you by Pennsylvania Dutch vendors. At the Dutch Eating Place, the apple dumpling is a popular item that has been featured on the Food Network. The baked good is reminiscent of an apple crumble but shaped into a ball. I was hoping the pastry part was a bit flakier like an apple pie.

Beiler’s bakery makes fresh donuts at the market and it was quiet a sight to watch them make the sweet pastries by hand. They offer unique flavors such as peanut butter cream (one of my favourites), pumpkin spice, and coconut cream. If you had to pick one desert, I would skip the apple dumpling and pick up some donuts.

All trips to Philly must include a cheesesteak sandwich. The one I had from Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies, was exactly what I wanted: piping-hot, thinly sliced, steak with melted cheese. Delicious.


Reading Terminal Market is very close to the Chinatown in Philly and I had a chance to eat at a few of the popular restaurants (according to Yelp reviewers).


Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House’s beef noodle dish hit all the right spots as a traditional Asian comfort dish. The noodles were the perfect texture and, while I don’t normally drink the broth, I had multiple gulps cause it was just that amazing.


While wandering around Chinatown, I came across this tiny, take-out only restaurant, Siu Kee Duck House. Like Sang Kee’s, the duck was tasty but nothing mind blowing.


Lastly, there was Shake Shack. Although not unique to Philly, I knew I wanted to have another bite of that delicious Shack Stack, a cheeseburger topped with a deep-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted cheese. Their purple cow float (grape Fanta with a heaping scoop of their vanilla frozen custard) is now one of my top dessert drinks.


In between all the eating, I had some time to enjoy the amazing architecture and history in the heart of the city.