The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Philly: Healthy Food-Truck Finds

Local nutrition pros dish on their favorite food-truck finds around Philly.

Banh Mi Xiumai at Kung Fu Hoagies | Photo via Kung Fu Hoagies

Banh Mi Xiumai at Kung Fu Hoagies | Photo via Kung Fu Hoagies

*Welcome to our occasional feature, The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Philly. We’re on a mission to find the most delicious, indulgent restaurant dishes for every kind of dieter—whether you’re gluten-free, vegan, raw and more. We’re all about occasional splurges, and that’s what this series is all about. We’ll talk to foodies to find out their favorite eats, but feel free to add yours in the comments. Bon appétit!

Like many cities, our city has a love affair with food trucks. They’re quick, convenient, reasonable, and can showcase some of the trendiest cuisine around. While often guaranteed to be tasty, many food-truck offerings are definitely not guaranteed to be a paragon of health and nutrition. I personally realized this two weeks ago at The Food Trust’s Night Market Callowhill. I was surrounded by a ton of Philly’s food trucks, overwhelmed by mouthwatering choices but starved (pun intended) for something I could be sure was figure-friendly.

Inspired by that experience, I went on the hunt for the most delicious healthy food-truck items in Philly, and who better to consult than some of our local health-minded, food-loving registered dietitians? Below, Philly dietitians dish on their favorite healthy food-truck finds and prove you don’t have to avoid the food truck to have a nutrient-packed lunch.

Jennifer Laurence, MA, RD, LDN of Family Food, LLC
Best thing I ever ate: Black bean burger at Farm Truck

“Farm Truck offers menu items that are seasonal, handmade, and include locally grown meats, cheese, and produce. They make eating fresh and local foods easy and fun! Plus having seasonal items helps to mix things up a bit. Their black bean burgers seem to be a staple on their menu and stand out most to me. They are seasoned with smoked paprika aoili which gives them both flavor and kick while still being really healthy. Black beans are naturally high in fiber and iron and low in cholesterol, so these burgers are a win-win. One of the things I love most about Farm Truck is their mission statement: Know what you’re eating and where is comes from. This is so vitally important, and something that I educate my clients about often.” 

Zach Breeding, MS, RDN, LDN of The Sage: Nutritious Solutions
Best thing I ever ate: Banh mi xiumai (tofu meatball hoagie) at Kung Fu Hoagies

Kung Fu does the one-two chop on the traditional meatball hoagie — this one is packed with protein, veggies, flavor, and a delightful variety of textures. If you think you’re not into tofu, think again!”

Kelly Strogen, MS, RD, LDN of Club La Maison
Best thing I ever ate: It’s a tie!
Marinated tofu salad with tzatziki, hot sauce and whole wheat pita at Magic Carpet

I love this place because you can mix and match and get creative with your meals. My salad choice is a perfectly well-balanced meal (veggies, protein, whole grain) with a cool creaminess and kick all in one. Everything here is great for meat eaters and vegans alike.”

Chicken skewers at Ka’ Chi

“I love anything with Asian flavors, so the soy-ginger chicken is super tasty and pickled veggies add an interesting flavor explosion! I usually get a side of kimchi to add some spice to my life (fun fact: both the pickled veggies and kimchi are a good source of probiotics). This place has a lot of good, healthy options that are delicious. Depending on how hungry I am, I might also get a side of their soba noodles which offer whole grains.”

Alyson Heller, MS, RD, LDN, HFS of Family Food, LLC
Best thing I ever ate: Wheat pita sandwich with roasted chicken (or pesto tofu), all the veggies, and lemon-thyme vinaigrette at Eat A Pita

“This stuffed pita sandwich contains fiber (wheat pita and vegetables), lean protein (chicken, chickpeas), and a healthy fat (olive oil in dressing), which are the three key nutrients to keep you full for three to four hours. Don’t forget to take advantage of the food truck’s multiple produce choices offered by loading up your pita with a variety of vegetables to increase the fiber content and color to your meal, as well as contributing to your three servings of vegetables per day, without breaking the calorie bank. Last, but not least, the lemon-thyme vinaigrette adds the perfect zest of flavor to make your pita light and satisfying without the need for extra condiments on a hot summer day.”

Nyree Dardarian, MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, FAND, Assistant Clinical Professor of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University
Best thing I ever ate: Lemon crepe at La Dominique Creperie

“My philosophy is to experience great food in small portions, the European way, which is why my go-to food truck is La Dominique. This is comfort food at its best, satisfying a multitude of needs that influence decision making when it comes to food. The lemon crepe is fresh, simple, sweet, tart, low in calories compared to many other treats available, sort of a “skinny pancake,” and above all it’s a mini-vacation for my senses.”

Althea Zanecosky, MS, RD, LDN
When we reached out to Althea, she didn’t have a healthy food truck item to recommend, but definitely understood my dilemma and had some advice I could get on board with:

“I work at a home office outside the city and eat most of my meals there. So when I go to a food truck, it’s my opportunity to indulge!  My daughter lives by the Art Museum and we were just at the Food Trust’s Night Market. I LOVE cheese so my splurge was to share cheese curds at The Cow and The Curd. Controlled portions are something I as a dietitian recommend, and save the “fun” foods for special occasions!”

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