Eat the World: Philadelphia’s World Food Scene

Philadelphia's food scene is deeper and stranger than you ever imagined. Welcome to the melting pot.


Philadelphia has a deep well (and a deep history) of restaurants not hewing to the traditional mother cuisines — of neighborhood joints where pierogi, kitfo, roti and kimchi are far more important than red gravy or béchamel. With our ever-changing population comes an ever-changing array of dining choices. And while at this point in the evolution of Philadelphia’s food scene we all know where to get a classic cocktail or a great plate of pasta, it can be easy to forget sometimes just how much more the city has to offer.

So while you might be cool with hitting the counter at Cheu Noodle Bar for cold sesame noodles with tahini and yuba, or digging into the octopus congee at Petruce et al., do you know where the inspiration for these dishes came from?

Keep reading and you will. We spent weeks exploring some of the city’s lesser-known enclaves of ethnic cuisine, talking to cooks and chefs, eating low on the hog and close to the earth. And this is what we found.

Contributing Writers: Jason Sheehan, Art Etchells, Trey Popp, Christine Speer Lejeune, Ashley Primis, Victor Fiorillo