Across the city, through several neighborhoods and past the large, fancy skyscrapers lies a magical spot like nothing else I’ve found in Philadelphia. Though University City is home to prestigious collegiate institutions and Ivy Leaguers from all over the globe, I’m less fascinated by the geniuses roaming the college campus as I am wide-eyed over the “kitchens on wheels”. Scattered throughout the blocks from 38th to 33rd and Spruce to Chestnut (arguably) are the cities best food trucks. Whatever you’re in search of will be found, as the trucks and carts in the area boast global cuisines, menus catered to anyone from the adventurous palate to the student coming off of an all-nighter, and even vegetarian fare or fruit salad stands for those in need of a lighter lunch.
Food trucks seem to be a somewhat recent trend in the culinary sector, but Philadelphia is extremely familiar with them; one might even say our city was on the forefront of the movement and may just have the best food trucks in the country. Not only are new ones popping up all over the area, the Food Network has dedicated and entire show to cooking from a vehicle and our very own Chef Jose Garces makes his rounds in the Guapos Tacos truck. Heather Shouse, a food writer and contributor to Food & Wine magazine, has one-upped the rest of the food channels and articles covering the fad by not only scouring the country in search of the best food trucks America has to offer, she has also included some of the best recipes she’s encountered in her travels so we can enjoy them in the comfort of our own kitchen.
Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes from the Best Kitchens on Wheels is packed with almost 200 pages of coast to coast trucks making anything from juicy burgers, smoky barbecue and SPAM sandwiches to cookies, pudding and other sweet treats. Shouse also included the back story of the trucks, which are sometimes just as exciting as the food they tout. Many respectable, trained chefs choose to leave the limelight of 4-star restaurants in favor of cooking is a tiny kitchen on wheels. Even more inspiring are those with self-taught skills, talent for cooking, and a passion for food, who are simply following their dream of bringing delicious dishes to hungry people.
On 38th Street, between Spruce and Walnut, the Yue Kee Chinese mobile kitchen dishes out traditional Chinese food from a somewhat beat-up, silver truck with a striped awning. The appearance of the vehicle is certainly no reflection of the food, but is a testament to the hours Yue Kee serves the University City community; the truck is open 7 days a week and provides a phone number for pick-up service. If you have trouble spotting it amongst the other food trucks on the either side of the block, just look for the long line of students, professors and locals alike. Read More…