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15 Famous Philly Foods To Try

Today, I’m excited to share my top 15 famous Philadelphia foods to try.

World famous Philly cheesesteak with waffle fries

Being a food lover, I have explored the City of Brotherly Love and indulged in some of Philadelphia’s best dishes. Iconic Philly foods, including cheesesteaks and Philly tacos, are covered in this list.

In this article, I will rank the top 15 must-try Philly foods you cannot miss out on.

In my humble opinion, the dishes mentioned in this list are not just ordinary foods but the epitome of Philadelphia’s diverse and flavorful food culture.

Let’s jump into the list without delay and explore these iconic foods from Philly.


Cheesesteak

The Philly Cheesesteak, a sandwich made with beef and melted cheese, is the most iconic dish of Philadelphia.

philly cheesesteak with onions

This famous sandwich is a must-try for anyone visiting the City of Brotherly Love. A traditional cheesesteak consists of thinly sliced beefsteak cooked with onions and cheese packed into a hoagie roll. 

Despite many contenders, my favorite for the best cheesesteak in town is from Dalessandro’s. You can’t miss the rivalry at Pat’s and Geno’s though!

Their sandwich is made with high-quality meat, melted cheese, and a soft roll that perfectly soaks up all the flavors. The ultimate comfort food, a cheesesteak, can be enjoyed anytime, with or without onions. 


Roast Pork Sandwich

In my opinion, the Roast Pork Sandwich is one of the best sandwiches out there.

The delicious sandwich consists of roasted pork, sharp provolone, sautéed broccoli rabe, and a fresh hoagie roll. Salty pork, sharp cheese, and bitter greens meld perfectly for a mouth-watering flavor.

This savory sandwich is a satisfying meal that can be enjoyed any time and complements well with a refreshing beverage.

Try the Roast Pork Sandwich for a delicious Italian-inspired flavor and a satisfying sandwich experience.

If you’re ever in the Philadelphia area, check out DiNic’s, a local sandwich shop famous for its Roast Pork Sandwich. 


Soft Pretzel

One of my favorite snacks has got to be the Soft Pretzel. A warm, salty pretzel always hits the spot, whether at a sports game, walking around the mall, or just hanging out at home.

philly soft pretzel with mustard

This classic snack is made with simple flour, yeast, and salt dough, twisted into a knot shape, and baked until golden brown.

Soft pretzels can be enjoyed alone or shared with friends and go well with various dipping sauces, such as classic yellow mustard or sweet cinnamon sugar.

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I love to dip mine in a warm cheese sauce or spicy mustard for an extra kick.


Water Ice

Water Ice, or Italian Ice, is a refreshing frozen dessert for a hot summer day. It gets made with fruit, sugar, and water.

rita's water ice with custard

This treat has a smooth, icy texture and comes in various flavors, from classic lemon to exotic mango.

I love water ice because it’s a lighter and healthier alternative to ice cream, with fewer calories and less fat.

Plus, it’s dairy-free, making it a fantastic option for those with lactose intolerance or other dietary restrictions.

If you are in the Philadelphia area, check out Rita’s Italian Ice, a popular chain of water ice stands with locations nationwide.


Cannoli

If you’re a fan of Italian desserts, you must try Cannoli! Crispy pastry shells filled with sweet ricotta cheese, sugar, and chocolate chips or candied fruit – a staple of Italian cuisine.

pile of cannolis with pistachio

Cannoli are perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth and a love for creamy, decadent desserts. The shell is light and crispy, while the filling is rich and satisfying.

Enjoy the best with coffee or espresso, as they make a perfect midday pick-me-up or after-dinner treat.

Want to try authentic Italian cannoli? Check out Termini Bros Bakery or Isgro’s Bakery – both are iconic bakeries in South Philly.


Lamb shoulder

You must try lamb shoulder if you’re a fan of hearty, flavorful meat dishes. It’s one of my favorite dishes!

Lamb shoulder is a cut of meat perfect for slow cooking, as it becomes incredibly tender and flavorful when cooked low and slow.

The flavor of lamb shoulder is rich and savory, with a slightly gamey taste that pairs perfectly with herbs like rosemary and thyme.

If you’re in Philadelphia, check out one of the best Philly restaurants, Zahav, which is famous for this dish (try their hummus too!)


Tastykakes

I highly recommend trying Tastykakes, a popular brand of snack cakes that are delicious and satisfying.

tastykakes on display

They come in various flavors, such as Butterscotch Krimpets, Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes, and Chocolate Cupcakes.

The cakes are moist, delicious, and tasty, with just the right sweetness. Tastykakes make for a great snack or dessert any time of day. 

In my opinion, Tastykakes are perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth without being too heavy. The brand originated in Philadelphia, but many stores nationwide now carry them as a staple.

Once you taste these delicious pastries, I’m confident you’ll become a fan too!


Crabfries

Stop by Chickie’s and Pete’s for the crabfries.

After cooking, tossing the fries in a blend of spices, including Old Bay seasoning, adds a tangy and slightly spicy taste.

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Dip the fries in a creamy cheese sauce for the ultimate snack. You can grab these at the stadium, so they’re perfect for watching sports, whether it’s the Sixers, Flyers, Eagles, or Phillies.

These fries are perfect for sharing with your friends while watching a game or enjoying a day out at the beach.

Crabfries, initially created in Philadelphia, are now available in various locations nationwide, tempting seafood lovers everywhere. You can also find elevated versions with actual crab meat!


Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan Noodles are a delicious and spicy Sichuan dish that I absolutely love.

dan dan noodles

Made with fresh noodles, ground pork, Sichuan pepper, chili oil, and green onions, these noodles are a true treat for the taste buds.

Street vendors in China carried the noodle-filled baskets on their shoulders using a bamboo pole, or “dan dan,” giving the dish its name.

The flavors are bold, spicy, and savory, making it an excellent choice for anyone who ultimately loves spicy food.

I enjoy Dan Dan Noodles as a main dish for lunch or dinner, and it pairs well with a cold glass of beer. Visit Philly’s Chinatown for some amazing options.


Pho

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup that has become one of my favorite dishes. It consists of a savory broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat (usually beef or chicken).

Pho Bo vietnamese soup with beef and noodles

The flavors are complex and delicious, with hints of star anise, cinnamon, and other spices.

I love how customizable it is – you can add your herbs and sauces to make it your own. 

Pho is perfect for a chilly day or when you’re feeling under the weather.

It’s also a fantastic option for those following a gluten-free or dairy-free diet. I highly recommend giving pho a try if you haven’t already, and Philadelphia has great pho restaurants all across the city.


Roast Beef Sandwich

I love the classic Roast Beef Sandwich, a delightful sandwich that never fails to satisfy my cravings.

Roast beef sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese

The Roast Beef Sandwich consists of tender slices of slow-cooked beef on a warm, crusty roll. I like adding melted cheese, sautéed onions, and a horseradish sauce for extra flavor. 

Combining the juicy meat and the chewy bread makes it a great lunch option. It is also a great choice for a quick dinner when I don’t feel like cooking.

I think anyone who loves savory sandwiches will enjoy a roast beef sandwich, and it is perfect for any occasion. While it’s no cheesesteak, Philly sandwich shops still make amazing roast beef.


Scrapple

Scrapple is a beloved breakfast meat in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

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a piece of scrapple on a plate

As someone who grew up in Pennsylvania, it’s a dish that holds a special place in my heart.

Scrapple is a savory and slightly sweet meat made from pork scraps and cornmeal served fried and topped with maple syrup.

While pork scraps may deter some, the dish’s incredible flavor and texture can’t be denied. If you’re a fan of bacon or sausage, then you’ll definitely want to try scrapple.

Scrapple is the perfect addition to any breakfast sandwich or plate with a cup of coffee.


Hoagies

Hoagies are made with a crusty Italian roll piled high with deli meats, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a variety of condiments.

italian hoagie

Combining hoagies or subs is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a sandwich. Sandwich makers stack deli meats, cheese, veggies, and condiments on a crusty Italian roll to make these sandwiches.

There are endless possibilities to customize a delicious hoagie to your liking.

I particularly love a classic Italian hoagie with prosciutto, salami, capicola, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, oil, and vinegar.

It makes a fantastic picnic or party food and is the ideal sandwich for lunch or dinner.


Tomato Pie

Tomato pie is one of my all-time favorite dishes! It’s a delicious savory pie made with fresh, juicy tomatoes, a crispy crust, and various herbs and seasonings.

philadelphia tomato pie pizza

You can enjoy the dish hot or cold, which makes it a versatile option for any occasion.

The rich tomato flavor and flaky crust make this dish a must-try for any food lover. Whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat eater, this dish will surely please.

It’s perfect for a picnic, a summer barbecue, or a savory breakfast. I’m confident that once you have a taste of it, you will be completely hooked!


Philly Taco

You can only find the unique creation of the Philly Taco, also known as the South Street Taco, in Philadelphia.

This mouth-watering dish combines two classic favorites: a cheesesteak rolled up in a slice of hot, gooey pizza. 

In my opinion, this is the perfect combination of two of Philly’s most iconic foods. The pizza’s crispy crust and tomato sauce perfectly complement the warm and savory cheesesteak.

Anyone who loves cheesesteaks and pizza will love the Philly Taco. It’s the perfect food to enjoy while wandering around the streets of Philadelphia and taking in all the city has to offer.


What’s Your Favorite Philly Food?

You can’t go wrong with a Philly cheesesteak, but all of these famous Philadelphia foods are worth a try!

Tell us your favorite thing to eat in Philadelphia in the comments!

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.