Tongue tacos, Italian milkshakes, candy-coated flapjacks and 47 other delicious foods and drinks you should be tasting right now.
Banh Mi Bi
The banh mi bi at hole-in-the-wall Café Nhu Y consists of pulled pork, shredded carrots, cilantro and jalapeños served on a Sarcone’s hoagie roll slathered with mayo and a soy/fish sauce. Hold your nose when you open the door of this closet-sized sandwich shop because the fish-sauce smell doesn’t just waft through the air, it smacks you in the face. Café Nhu Y, 802 Christian St. 215.925.6544
Oxtail Noodle Soup
The cilantro is probably not organic. The oxtails, succulent as they are, are probably not cut from grass-fed cows that lived long, happy lives on green pastures of Lancaster County. Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown—Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House, specifically— where lunch hour is really lunch minutes, set to the hurried tempo of Chinese conversation and the smack-smack-smack of fresh noodles pulled in the kitchen. The wiry ramen, bouncy and elastic with freshly stretched gluten, are revelatory enough to deserve your undivided attention. So is the deep, echoing broth that gives you a glow from the inside out as it rides down your throat and into your gut. But linger too long and the stern waitresses will let you know it, so it’s best to slurp-slurp-slurp and be on your way. The last thing you want to hear is, “No soup for you.” Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House, 927 Race St. 215.923.1550
To detractors of Philly pizza, here are four words: Tacconelli’s margerita pie, bitches! Fresh basil and mozzarella on a crunchy yet chewy crust is cooked to shimmering perfection in their brick oven. It’ll leave even the biggest skeptics begging for more. Just make sure you call ahead to reserve your dough. After all, it’s still Philly; we have ordering rules here. Tacconelli’s, 2604 E. Somerset St. 215.425.4983. tacconellispizzeria.com
Shima Aji Ceviche
The hearty, deep-sea taste of the horse mackerel (shimaji) at Chifa stands up nicely to bursts of contrasting flavor from pickled, sweet and tangy mango; spicy rocoto pepper puree; white soy and nutty sesame. Try it with a glass of Albarino from the Rias Baixas region. Chifa, 707 Chestnut St. 215.925.5555. chifarestaurant.com
There is something so perfectly simple about a good French fry. It’s a shame so many restaurants get it so very wrong by serving charred or limp-dick excuses for this beloved sandwich side. At the Ugly American they do it right. Their fries are hand-cut potatoes (Idaho only!) deep-fried to a sumptuous golden brown then sprinkled with salt and bright green parsley. Consistency is king here at the Ugly, and every basket of spuds comes out wearing a crown. The Ugly American, 1100 S. Front St. 215.336.1100. uglyamericanphilly.com
Roasted Whole Baby Animals
Here’s what we love about food in Philadelphia: everything. No, seriously. From the street vendor’s commonest cheesesteak to the most subtly spiced French-Asian hybrid delicacy, it’s all good. But some of it? Some of it is awesome. So here are 50 suggestions for dishes, ranging from sophisticated to speedy, that you’ve just got to try—whether you’re in town for the day or here for keeps.
People, you may have noticed, are fat. Real fat. And getting bigger every day. But lost in the endless conversations about the no-longer-new obesity epidemic that threatens to sink our country into a pit of health-care debt we can never pay is a very real and glaringly obvious fact: We’re all a hell of a lot skinnier than we could be.
The first PW reader to document they've had all 50 items on our list wins $100 in gift certificates to fabulous Philly restaurants. It's that easy, and that delicious.
The 2014 Philadelphia Spring Guide