Philadelphia, PA - A city reveals itself through its street food, and Philadelphia has always had a bountiful spread of on-the-fly options. Local food trucks run the gamut from student grub in stainless steel carts to upscale eats in high-tech mobile kitchens to roving trucks that keep foodies up-to-date on their whereabouts through Twitter.
Here’s a look at some of Philly’s must-try trucks—serving soft pretzels, pork roll sandwiches, elegant pastries, espresso drinks, global fare and just about everything in between:
Tyson Bees Food Truck -The colorful Tyson Bees truck is the storefront for enticing Asian fusion eats like Korean BBQ short rib tacos and Thai basil chicken over rice and kimchi hot dogs.
Details: 33rd & Spruce Streets.
Kung Fu Hoagies Food Truck - 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.
Details: Roaming on weekdays and at Clark Park on Sundays, 43rd Street & Baltimore Avenue, twitter.com/kungfuhoagies
The Dapper Dog Food Truck - The Dolce Vita (topped with provolone, pepperoni and tomato sauce) and the Mack (topped with macaroni and cheese) are just a couple of the creative hot dogs at The Dapper Dog, parked during lunch hours at Temple University and during late-night hours in Northern Liberties (2nd & Poplar Streets).
Details: thedapperdog.org, twitter.com/thedapperdog
HubBub Coffee Food Truck - 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.
Details: 38th & Spruce Streets, twitter.com/hubbubcoffee
Call Me Cupcake Food Truck - Among the goodies on offer at the Call Me Cupcake truck are carrot cake, red velvet and seasonal strawberry cupcakes. The roaming truck is in the process of establishing a new schedule.
Details: theyummycupcake.com, twitter.com/callmecupcake.com
Buttercream Food Truck - From Love Park to South Philly and back again, Buttercream—helmed by “the cupcake lady”—brings cupcakes to the masses, in tempting flavors like banana with Nutella buttercream and yellow cake with peanut butter buttercream.
Details: buttercreamphiladelphia.com, twitter.com/buttercreamphl
Sugar Philly Food Truck - 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.
Details: 38th Street between Walnut & Sansom Streets, sugarphillytruck.com, twitter.com/sugarphilly
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.
Details: 3rd & Market Streets, melange-tea.com
Rival Bros’ Coffee Roasters Food Truck - An espresso bar on wheels, Rival Bros’ truck serves up lattes, pour-overs and drip-brewed cups. It also sells fresh-roasted beans by the bag.
Details: 33rd & Arch Streets, rivalbros.com
Octopus Falafel Food Truck - Customers of the Falafel Truck know that there are basically two choices at this Israeli 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.
Details: 20th & Market Streets
Koja Food Truck - 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.
Details: 38th & Sansom Streets
Jamaican D’s Food Truck - 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.
Details: 17th & Spring Garden Streets
Yue Kee Food Truck - 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.
Details: 238 S. 38th Street
Tacos Don Memo Food Truck - The wait for lunch can be long 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.
Details: 3800 Sansom Street
Say Cheese Philly Food Truck - 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).
Details: Mondays through Thursdays, W. Norris Street between 12th & 13th Streets; Fridays, Love Park, 16th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard, twitter.com/saycheesephilly
Magic Carpet Food Truck - 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.
Details: 36th & Spruce Streets, 34th & Walnut Streets
Sexy Green Truck - Templetown’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.
Details: 11th Street & Montgomery Avenue
SpOt Gourmet Burgers Food Truck - 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.
Details: 33rd & Arch Streets
Pitruco Pizza Food Truck - 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.
Details: Mondays and Wednesdays, 16th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 33rd & Arch Streets, pitrucopizza.com
The Creperie Food 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 buffalo chicken with blue cheese sauce, and gyro meat, pepperoni, cheese, tomato sauce and ranch dressing.
Details: 13th & Norris Streets