What Foods is Philadelphia Known For?

Philadelphia Foodies Eats and Treats

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Philly's Iconic Eats Philadelphia, PA - Philadelphia is known for several things, from our history, architecture, and world-class museums, and our sport's history. But were here to talk about its Iconic foods, such as Cheesesteaks and Hoagies, to popular treats such as Water Ice, and Soft Pretzels. Below are a few of Philadelphia's most popular eats and treats that define Philly's Foodie Scene.


5 Philadelphia Iconic Eats

The Cheesesteak 

What's better than a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef and melted cheese. Generally, the cheese of choice is Cheez Whiz®, but American and provolone are common substitutions. The art of cheesesteak preparation lies in the balance of flavors, textures, and what is often referred to as the "drip" factor. Other toppings may include fried onions, sautéed mushrooms, ketchup, and hot or sweet peppers.

The Hoagie

Made the "official sandwich of Philadelphia" by Mayor Ed Rendell in 1992. The hoagie is a built-to-order sandwich on a long Italian roll, typically filled with deli meat and cheese. Other options include garnishing with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and onions and finished with a drizzle of oregano-vinegar dressing. Hoagies can also be filled with tuna, chicken cutlets, and roasted vegetables, among other fillings. Because of its simplicity, the quality of a hoagie truly depends on the quality of its ingredients.

Water Ice

While its name is somewhat confusing, water ice is a perfectly logical solution for those in need of relief on a hot Philadelphia summer day. Otherwise known as Italian ice, the combination of fruit or syrup with finely shaved ice is a refreshing treat. John's Water Ice, Mancuso & Son, and Rose's Real Italian Water Ice are just a few age-old favorites. At the same time, you can find local options such as the Yardley Ice House amaze with an astounding variety of flavors. Sit-down restaurants even get in on the chilly fun: At Little Nonna's, there might be blood orange basil, concord grape, or tomato on the dessert menu, depending on the time of year.


A snack favorite since 1914, Tastykake offers a complete line of snack cakes, pies, cookies, and donuts available in supermarkets and other retail outlets throughout the East Coast, South, and Southwest. Celebrated for their freshness and quality, Tastykakes include such classics as Krimpets, Kandy Kakes, and Juniors. One taste of a Tastykake, and you'll know why they have been a favorite of many for more than 100 years.

Soft Pretzels

Introduced to the region by Pennsylvania Dutch settlers centuries ago, pretzels have long been a favorite local snack. Philly's signature variety is the soft pretzel, an everyday treat purchased from a street vendor, corner store, or a bakery such as the Philadelphia Soft Pretzel Factory. No matter what form the pretzel takes—braided, sticks, nuggets, or even sandwich rolls—they always taste better accompanied by mustard.

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Written By: Philly Bite Magazines Staff

Philadelphia Best Of Series consists of a round-up of the best places to find great food, entertainment, and more in Philly.

Best Philadelphia Eats and Treats


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