Philadelphia is a city with a rich past and a vibrant present. Nowhere is that better represented than in its culinary scene. Philadelphia is home to some of the most exciting and inventive restaurants in the entire United States. And the city's street food scene is no exception. In fact, you'll find many of the most creative chefs in the city serving street food in Philadelphia.
Whether you're looking for the classic Philly cheesesteak or for exciting fusion cuisine from around the world, you won't have to go far. In the downtown core and in several of the best neighborhoods around the city, there is no shortage of street vendors that will hook you up with some of the best food there is to eat in Philadelphia. So drop off your unneeded bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Philadelphia and go on the hunt for the street food vendor of your choice. When it comes to street food, Philly has something to offer just about everyone.
The Best Street Food Vendors in Philadelphia
South Street Souvlaki
Philadelphia has been a magnet for immigrants around the world since the city was first founded. Each immigrant group has left its mark on the city's culture and cuisine, from German pretzels to Italian pasta and sandwiches to the incredible range of Asian cuisines available in the city.
The same is true of Greek food. You can sample some of Philadelphia's best Greek food by tracking down South Street Souvlaki, where you can eat your fill of delicious Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. This restaurant has been in business since 1977, and it has won the loyalty of locals and visitors alike with its delicious Greek food. The souvlaki and gyros make for excellent street food that you can get to go and take with you as you explore the City of Brotherly Love.
Street Food Philly
This food truck isn't going to win any awards for the originality of its name. But who needs a cute name when you serve food as good is this? Street Food Philly has built a reputation in town by providing some of the best quality food there is to be found in the city, and in Philadelphia, that's saying quite a lot.
The menu at this food truck changes by the day, but no matter when you visit, you can count on enticing flavors that both celebrate the city and adapt culinary influences from around the world. Pork belly sliders, truffle Parm, roast lamb sandwiches, and chickpea burgers can often be found on the menu here, offering something for everyone to easily enjoy. It's no wonder this truck has become one of the most popular in the city for those in search of good food on the go. It's a great place to fuel up before taking one of the best hikes in Philadelphia, too.
If you're looking for good Mexican food in Philadelphia, you won't have a difficult search on your hand. There are plenty of great Mexican restaurants and food trucks scattered all over the city ready to serve your needs. But Mi Pueblito stands out from the rest with its creative approach to classic Mexican cuisine. Yes, you'll find tacos loaded with avocado and pico de Gallo and burritos stuffed with savory meat, but they are best known for quesabirria tacos made with a rich consommé that makes them incredibly juicy. Also, don't miss out on the opportunity to try their sweet horchata, which is well worth a trip to South Philly all by itself.
Part of the appeal of the humble burger is its seemingly infinite malleability. This Philly food truck has made burgers their business and offers a range of tasty sliders with a side of chips. The sliders come in an astonishing range of varieties, from Cheesy Chicken Enchilada to Pulled BBQ Chicken to Turkey Meatball to multiple vegetarian options. Your order comes with three sliders, and you can mix-and-match any of the approximately 15 varieties so you get to try a little bit of everything. Great for the indecisive, it's also an excellent place to go if you're in a group, since you can all try a little bit of everything.
Of course, this is Philadelphia, so you'll also find a Philly cheesesteak option here.
The Crepe Truck
What is it with Philadelphia food trucks and uninspired names? Maybe they're just saving all that creativity for the food they make. There are no prizes for guessing what you'll find at this popular truck, but you won't need a prize once you try the crepes on offer here. The extensive menu of handmade crepes is divided into both sweet and savory options, so you can enjoy filling lunchtime options or sweet treats. Crepes are customizable and any savory crepe, even the Meat Lovers, can be made vegetarian upon request, making this a good option if you're traveling with both vegetarians and meat-eaters.
Bui's Lunch Truck
Whether you're talking about hoagies or the legendary cheesesteak, this region is known for its sandwiches. Therefore, any new business in the city needs to find a new twist on putting food inside bread. Bui's brings a little Asian flair to classic Philly sandwiches, with offerings like the Mr. Bui cheesesteak with teriyaki sauce and the Hangover Special, stuffed with eggs, sausage, ham, bacon, cheese, and complete with a 20 ounce Gatorade. They also offer cheeseburgers, hoagies, and an impressive range of cheesesteaks that, while they may not be keto-friendly, still manage to keep locals lining up to sample what they offer.
Jerry's Kitchen offers creative twists on classic American food. This deceptively simple formula has seen the company expand from a humble food truck to a catering company with locations in 10 states. You'll still find them serving American classics from their original food truck in Philadelphia, too. Options like tacos, lobster mac & cheese, scalloped potatoes, roasted eggplant, and Mediterranean protein bowls keep foodies lining up around the block to sample some of the best street food in Philadelphia. The variety this food truck offers makes it a great option for lunch in the city, and their food rivals many of the best restaurants in Philadelphia.
Ask two Philadelphians where to get the best cheesesteak, and you'll probably get at least three answers. This traditional steak and cheese sandwich is an icon of the city and remains as popular today as when it was first created in 1930. Knowing their audience, several of the street food vendors in Philly include cheesesteak in their options, such as Jerry's Kitchen and Bui's Lunch Truck. You'll also find food trucks that specialize in this popular food, including Whizzletruck.
Calling themselves Philly's best cheesesteak truck, Whizzletruck offers an impressive range of cheesesteak options. Purists will insist that only Cheese Whiz is acceptable for a true Philly cheesesteak, but you can swap it for provolone or American cheese if you prefer. Try the Whiz Khalifa with tikka masala or the Winston with burrata and truffle salt, and you'll understand the variety this simple dish is capable of. There's even a vegetarian and a vegan option so that everyone can try this classic street food on their Philadelphia trip.
Where to find the best Philadelphia street food spots
Reading Terminal Market
Operating since 1893, Reading Terminal Market is one of America's oldest and grandest public food markets. It's the perfect place to shop for local produce and specialties that you can take home from your trip, and you'll learn a lot from local vendors. It's also a fantastic place to try some of the best street food in Philadelphia. Beiler's Donuts, Sang Kee Peking Duck, and Famous Franks, among other vendors, make sure you can't go wrong when picking up street food here. With Dilworth Park just a short walk away, it's the ideal spot for a picnic in the city and some of the best people-watching you'll find in Philadelphia.
Ye Shi Chinatown Night Market
For street food with a distinct Asian flavor, check out the popular Ye Shi night market. The market operates for only one night out of the year, making it an incredibly busy place. Live music keeps shoppers entertained, but it's the food that's the real standout. And while the market takes place in Chinatown, there's more on offer here than just Chinese cuisine – though you'll find plenty of that available too. Bubble tea, barbecue tacos, donuts, steamed buns, and of course Philly cheesesteak - you'll find just about every form of street food you can imagine here, and probably a couple you didn't, either.
East Passyunk Avenue
Recognized one of the 10 Best Foodie Streets in America, East Passyunk in South Philly has become known over the last decade as possibly the best place to eat in the entire city. Once the home of countless Italian restaurants, the street has since diversified its culinary offerings and now offers everything from British-style pie to Malaysian satay to dim sum. Oh, and you'll probably find one or two cheesesteak vendors here too. Restaurants here spill out onto the street during the warm summer months, and there are plenty of hole-in-the-wall establishments and food trucks ready and willing to serve anyone passing by who wants to eat on the go.
Street food festivals in Philadelphia
Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival
Held twice a year on Main Street along the Schuylkill River, Manayunk is undoubtedly one of the biggest street food festivals in Philadelphia. Held in spring and fall, this massive festival allows you to enjoy the best of the city's food trucks and restaurants as they celebrate seasonal produce and bring you new flavors and food experiences. The festival hosts 50 food trucks, so you're likely to find old favorites alongside new up-and-coming startups, allowing you to sample the very best of Philly's culinary scene.
Flavors on the Avenue
Spread over five city blocks, Flavors on the Avenue brings together food trucks, local restaurants, musicians, and performers to entertain Philadelphians. Brick and mortar restaurants take their tables outside to where street performers and face painters offer family entertainment, and craft breweries promote their offerings to festivalgoers. It's a fun place that you shouldn't miss the opportunity to visit while in Philadelphia.
As you'll know if you've read this far, Philadelphia has a culinary scene that rivals any city in the United States. The city's history as a center of immigration has given it an enviable legacy as a place where cultures mingle and cuisines combine to make something deliciously unique. The options for street food are staggering here, and with new restaurants, diners, and food trucks opening up all the time, you could spend your whole life in Philly and still never exhaust all the dining options there are.
You don't have to settle for a cheesesteak. Then again, if that's what you want, you won't have to search hard to find one, either. The joy of Philly's street food scene is that you'll be able to find just about anything you want, and know it will be delicious.