What would Philadelphia be without food? The name of the city alone is nearly as synonymous with the infamous cheesesteak as it is with the founding fathers of the Constitution. Like most major cities, Philadelphia has both traditional dishes and eclectic meals from a growing community of food truckers alongside famous Philly landmarks, as well as longtime institutions. Read on for two offerings that combine the savory with the sweet in truly unusual ways.
Lil Dan's is one of those up and coming food trucks that makes up this growing community. The idea for Lil Dan's began after September 2005, when Daniel and Laura Pennachietti's son, Daniel Pennachietta Jr., lost his life. Four years later in September 2009, the Pennachiettis opened Lil Dan's for business and have been going strong ever since. Although their menu is limited to sub sandwiches at the moment, the couple has seen their food truck attract growing popularity in the last couple of years.
Hungry eaters can find the Lil Dan's food truck parked between two main locations, 16th and JFK Boulevard, also known as Love Park , and near Drexel University. Menu items are named with mafia movie monikers such as "The Godfather" and "The Pauly." Lil Dan's hosts Godfather eating contests in which contestants spend $23 to tackle a 2-foot chicken cutlet sandwich with pickles, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce for a chance to win bragging rights as well as a T-shirt with a hat.
According to one Lil Dan's employee, The Godfather is one of their most popular sandwiches, and their third most popular sandwich is The Lil Dan. If you want to turn your tastebuds inside out, try this sandwich. This nearly foot-long sub packs a fried chicken cutlet breaded with Golden Oreo crust, a spicy sauce, lettuce, and tomato into a toasted Amoroso roll. For those who like weird food, this sandwich is definitely for you, especially with its heavy vanilla flavoring.
If you want to further expand your palate for crazy Philadelphia cuisine, visit the Reading Terminal while you are in the downtown vicinity. The Reading Terminal is a hangout for great food for many Philadelphians due to its Dutch food, cheesecakes, pulled pork, seafood, ice cream, soul food, and expansive variety of almost any other food you can imagine. However, one thing that probably never entered your imagination is chocolate-covered onions. At Chocolate by Mueller, you can purchase these sweet breath stinkers for $5 each. Generally, they don't tend to be the most popular item, because Mueller's has chocolate truffles and turtles, but they do make a great conversation piece. Chocolate by Mueller started making the onions in the 1980s, and they've been going strong ever since.