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Happy First of February! Welcome back to Foodie Fridays! It’s been a while, so I thought I’d give this a New Year boost and talk about one of my favorite hidden secrets in Philly: the Vietnamese restaurants of South Philly.

If you drive around on Washington between about 11th and Broad, you’ll see a couple of Vietnamese restaurants, including the famous Pho 75 (not a favorite) and Pho Ha (the boyfriend’s favorite pho place… But hidden between a party hall and a grocery store, around 11th and Washington, you’ll find this gem, Nam Phuong.

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There aren’t many places me and the boyfriend agree on in terns of Vietnamese, since he loves pho and I’m not a fan (especially now that I’m not eating meat), while I tend to like vermicelli dishes. My one exception being this place, where I get the eggplant with garlic sauce. Mmm…

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Look at all the rice! This is actually eggplant with lemongrass and was a little spicier, but as should happen at a favorite restaurant, I loved it almost as much. Plus I got peppers! I would have gotten a pic of the boyfriend with his pho, but he finished before I even had the chance! Also, they make one delicious vegetarian summer roll. Unlike most rolls, there isn’t way too much lettuce to battle with.

In conclusion, just go and get pretty much anything and you’ll be happy. Enjoy!

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Today’s travel post is a continuation of my earlier post on food trucks in Philly. Based on some glowing reviews of the innocuous-looking coffee truck that’s always parked on 38th near the bridge, I went to Hub Bub for the first time. I had walked by it before and was impressed by their sign proclaiming their use of Stumptown in their coffee. I hadn’t had Stumptown, but when I was housing my parents on a coffee tour of Philly, the name kept coming up. Anyway, I decided it was time.

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Their menu wasn’t too big or complicated to scare away an occasional coffee drinker like myself. I went for the latte (the smaller size), which took a few minutes to make. While I was waiting, they gave me avery cute punch card (despite the fact I wouldn’t be back much) and helped another girl with her drip coffee. It looked like she enjoyed it…

Anyway, back to my latte.

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I have to say it was pretty good and up to the hype. I was a little skeptical of someone making good coffee in a food truck, but the experience left me pleasantly caffeinated. Thanks Hub Bub!

I have been to a few cities at this point and so has Tom. As I have shown in this blog post here, we’re not opposed to getting our food from places other than restaurants and grocery stores. With that in mind, I decided back in December that a post about Philly food carts was in order. A month later, I’m finally getting to it.

I’ll start this epic post by stating that I consider Philadelphia to be the Mecca of food carts. Before moving to Philly, I’ll admit I hadn’t really thought much of food trucks. For the most part they had pre-made food or hot dogs, definitely not one of my favorite foods. However, none of that applies to Philly food trucks. I have gotten some of my favorite vegetarian, soul food, and Mexican lunches from Philly food trucks.  This is a subset of those carts, only including the ones that are around Penn’s campus.  I do spend most of my time there, after all…

Ok, first an old favorite: my fruit cart lady. I don’t think this has a name, but she hangs out at 37th and Spruce and I always describe it as either “the cart with the giant umbrellas” or “the one with the stacks of boxes.”

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As you can hopefully see, I’m not exaggerating. Her fruit is the best and she gives the most fruit bang for your buck, hands down. Here’s an example of her “medium”:

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I would have opened it, but so much fruit would fall out I would have to eat it immediately.  Maybe I’ll update this later with another picture…  You can also get regular or special, which is whatever fruit you want of the same size container for about 50 cents more. As I was doing this as a present to a certain someone, I splurged and got the special and loaded it up with strawberries, pineapple and mango.

Next we have another of my first-year favorites and a perennial stand-by: Magic Carpet.

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Vegetarian goodness is the only way to describe it. I usually get the Bella Donna in the a la cart size, which is $4.25 for a small-ish container with rice, veggies, and what they call their “magic meatballs” (no meat). Tom likes the seizan, which has seitan in it.  They’re typically around 36th and Spruce.

Next on the list is a new-found favorite from this summer, Gigi & Big R.

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It’s a soul food truck and man Di they do it right. I tend to get the “small” fried fish platter with mac and cheese and candied yams. Yum. It’ll put you back $8, $10 for the large (which is totally enough food for 2 regular people or 1 Tom).  This truck is always at 38th and Spruce, but they have another one on 30th between Market and Chestnut (right by the train station).

Ok, next place is Lynn’s. I’m not a huge fan, but Tom says its the best bread for a regular breakfast sandwich. The line was pretty long when I took this, so maybe there’s something I’m just not getting…  Anyway, they’re right by Magic Carpet, at 36th and Spruce.

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Next on the list is Hemo’s! My friend told me about this place last year. They have a quality grilled chicken sandwich, which I highly recommend.

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Also, their larges are about twice the size of a small for like a dollar or two more and I can usually squeeze 2 meals out of it.  This truck is at 38th and Chestnut, but their original truck is on Spruce between 36th an 37th.

Finally, we’ve come to my lunch for today and one of the best Mexican places I’ve ever been to, Tacos Don Memos. So. Damn. Good.

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Burritos (which come with avocado slices, by the way) will set you back $7, but you can take a look at the menu yourself.  I got pastor (pork) because they were already out of carnitas.  I got this at 12:15pm.  Their truck is on 38th just north of Chestnut.

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I hope you enjoyed that food journey with me.  I know I had a good time (that burrito is good, but it’s filling).  Anyway, stop back here later this week for a couple of pictures from my Baltimore Aquarium trip last weekend!

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