The city of Philadelphia has a rich history — a history that includes plenty of food. Here are just a few of the most famous dishes you can’t miss in the City of Brotherly Love.
We had to start with the most popular Philadelphia food, the cheesesteak. There are probably hundreds of places that sell the sub around town, but Pat’s and Geno’s have a longstanding, not-so-secret rivalry that has divided area residents. Which one is superior? You’ll have to find out for yourself. Just make sure you master your order, so you don’t hold up the line. Pro tip: “One whiz with” translates to “One cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz and fried onions.”
While it wasn’t invented in Philly, the soft pretzel gained popularity when the Pennsylvania Dutch brought it over to Philadelphia, and street vendors began selling it throughout the city in the early 1900s. The snack is still ubiquitous throughout the city, both at street carts and specialty shops like Center City Pretzel Co. and the Philly Pretzel Factory.
Roast Pork Sandwich
Unique to the neighborhood of South Philadelphia, the roast pork sandwich is typically served with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe on an Italian roll. Try DiNic’s Roast Pork, John’s Roast Pork, or Tony Luke’s for some of the best in town.
Cheese-less pizza might seem odd, but it’s a favorite dish in Philly. Exactly as it sounds, tomato pie is a two by three-foot dish of dough, covered in tomato sauce and oregano for a little extra kick. The strangest part? It’s served room temperature. Don’t knock it ’til you try it! Head to Gennaro’s, Gaeta’s, or Tony’s to get a taste.
A regional breakfast staple, scrapple consists of processed meatloaf mixed with cornmeal, flour, and pork scraps. Certainly not the healthiest of options, but definitely one of the most delicious. Find it at Silk City Diner, Down Home Diner, or Hickory Lane Bistro.
Don’t let the name fool you; the Texas Tommy is a uniquely Philadelphia creation, originally made in the 1950s. It’s a grilled or deep-fried hot dog that’s split in two, with bacon and American or cheddar cheese in the center. Underdogs, Texas Wieners, and Johnny’s Hots are especially popular with locals.
Irish Potato Candy
Much like the Texas Tommy, Irish Potato Candy is neither from Ireland nor contains any potato. Rather, the confections simply look like a (sugary) spud and contain cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and coconut, and cinnamon. Find it at local candy stores, supermarkets, and gift shops.