Food Glorious Food in Philadelphia: Buy at the Source or DIY

Food in Philadelphia is as varied as it is delicious. Best of all, you can find scrumptious treats with a unique Philly flavor in area restaurants and bakeries, or you can skip the trip and make them yourself at home!

Are you hungry in Philly? You’ve certainly come to the right city! Food in Philadelphia is as varied as it is delicious. Best of all, you can find these scrumptious treats in area restaurants and bakeries, or you can skip the trip and make them yourself at home.

Starting with the obvious, the Philly cheesesteak, there are dozens and dozens of spots claiming to make the best (Pat’s, Geno’s, Jim’s, etc.) Why not head down to South Philadelphia and do a taste test? If you’d rather stick close to home, it’s easy to whip one up yourself!

Other wonderful food in Philadelphia includes mouth-watering tomato pie. This tasty twist on pizza, best enjoyed at room temperature, is featured in many local bakeries—Marchiano’s in Manayunk is unparalleled. If you find yourself with a little spare time, try your hand at a yummy homemade pie.

If breakfast is on your mind, you can’t go wrong with a unique Philly morning favorite, scrapple. Made with ground pork, cornmeal, and spices, it’s a delicious addition to any breakfast plate! Do try some, either in a restaurant such as the fabulous Dutch Eating Place in the Reading Terminal Market, or in your home kitchen.

When it comes to street food in Philadelphia, this area’s soft pretzel rivals the very different New York City variety for flavor. After sampling from a center city vendor, take a scenic drive out to Lititz for the ultimate pretzel from Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery. It’s also fun to bake them at home; here’s an authentic recipe!

Snapper soup (yes, as in snapping turtle!) has been a traditional item on the menus of old Philadelphia restaurants for over a hundred years. It’s getting harder to find, but it’s always simmering on the stove at the classic Llanerch Diner (make sure you add a little sherry to your bowl for the best taste). Side note: the Llanerch is featured in the film Silver Linings Playbook. Care to attempt snapper soup yourself? You may have a hard time finding turtle meat nowadays, so feel free to substitute lean stewing beef.

And finally, time for a spring and summer dessert, Philly-style. Similar to Italian ice, but not quite the same, the Philadelphia water ice (pronounced “wooder ice” if you’re from Philly) is hugely popular throughout the region. What’s the difference? Italian Ice is served in scoops, whereas water ice is much slushier, to be eaten with a spoon or slurped from a cup. Philadelphia water ice also has no stabilizers, so it needs to be consumed within hours of making it. Top spot? Check out Rose’s Water Ice in Roxborough. Rose’s makes fresh batches all day long. In the mood for homemade? Philly water ice has only three ingredients: water, sugar, and flavoring. It’s a good idea to use an ice cream maker for the smoothest consistency.

As you can see (and taste), food in Philadelphia is special indeed, and locals and visitors are very lucky. If you find yourself visiting this amazing city more and more often, it may be time to stop visiting, and start living here!

Image Source: Flickr/Kimberly Vardeman


Elise Seyfried is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia, PA. She is the author of two books of humorous spiritual essays, and a playwright (co-author of 15 plays for children). Her work regularly appears in the Chestnut Hill (PA) Local and The Word in Season (devotional). She has also written for The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Lutheran Digest, Guideposts magazine, Metropolis and The Wittenburg Door. Elise was the lyricist for the Stanley Drama Award-winning musical Flight, based on the life of Howard Hughes. Elise has served as publicist for the Lewes (DE) Chamber Music Festival, as well as the Atlantic Music Festival in Waterville, ME.She is the mother of five children, and her family life is prominently featured in her writing. Elise's topics to date have included children/parenting issues, humor and spirituality. An avid cook, Elise also enjoys writing about food and dining. Since 2002, Elise has been Director of Spiritual Formation at Christ's Lutheran Church in Oreland, PA; previously, she worked for years as an actress. She blogs at

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