Philadelphia is home to the East Coast’s largest population of immigrants from Vietnam, making Philly one of the best Vietnamese food areas in country. featured are five essential stops along South Philly's 'Pho Row.'

Although there are Vietnamese restaurants located throughout the Philadelphia region, they're mostly concentrated in South Philly Washington Avenue, a busy two-way artery where the city’s Italian, Mexican, and Southeast Asian traditions intermingle. From the 16-block stretch of Point Breeze to Pennsport, and you’ll find an abundance of pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup known for its fragrant broth, of aromatics like cinnamon, clove, and star anise.

Huong Tram

At the westernmost point of "Pho Row" is this restaurant, slipped into one side of a multi-purpose building in nondescript Hoa Binh Plaza. (Search for the side door across from a Dunkin’ Donuts.) The restaurant is as friendly to its non-Viet clientele as to native speakers, and offers nearly two dozen riffs on the noodle soup, including a Pho Dac Biet overflowing with flank steak, brisket, meatballs, tendon, and tripe. If you’re not in a meaty mood, try the excellent Bun Rieu Cua, with stewed tomatoes, crispy tofu, and battered soft shell crab in a rich seafood broth. 1601 Washington Avenue, 215-545-4067

Pho 75

If an unvarnished and utilitarian experience is what you seek, head to Pho 75, in the bustling Vietnamese shopping center Wing Phat Plaza. The frill-free parlor is an ideal entry point for newcomers to pho, as there aren’t a million other menu options. There's soup, and only soup. Simply select a size—“Regular” is large, “Large” can easily be shared by two—and toppings (best for beginners: meatballs and well-done flank steak). The staff could set records for its efficient turnaround, with servers who basically sprint the hot broth to your table. 1122 Washington Avenue, 215-271-5866

Nam Phuong

Across the Wing Phat parking lot from Pho 75 you'll spot the crimson-awnings of Nam Phuong, the heftiest Pho Row destination in terms of both its menu and its sheer physical size (there’s rarely a wait). And while its menu options are diverse and delicious—the vermicelli bowls, broken rice platters, and sautéed seafood alone will keep diners busy for weeks—it also serves a formidable pho. All the requisite beef-based styles can be found here, as well as more nuanced bowls like the Pho Ga, with hunks of bone-in, dark-meat chicken in an aromatic chicken broth. This is also one of the few South Philly Viet restaurants with a liquor license; a frosty bottle of 33 Export, a Vietnamese beer brewed by Heineken, comes in handy when you overdo it on the crushed chili. 1100-1120 Washington Avenue, 215-468-0410, namphuongphilly.com

Cafe Diem

A true local gem, the tiny family-owned Diem is known for its excellent interpretation of one soup in particular: Bun Bo Hue, the signature dish of the central Vietnamese city of Hue. It can be distinguished from classic pho in a number of ways. Its broth is more meaty and fiery, as opposed to subtly scented; its meat, which can include pork hocks and ham in addition to beef; and even its thicker noodles, somewhere between Chinese lamian and spaghetti in texture. 1031 South Eighth Street, 215-923-8347

Pho Saigon

Situated in a shopping center abutting the banks of the Delaware River, Pho Saigon sits about as far east as Pho Row—and the city of Philadelphia—goes. All your fragrant and highly customizable pho choices are present here, including upgrades like a version topped with thin-sliced rare ribeye (the same cut used in quality cheesesteaks). But Saigon also serves some more specific soup styles, including Pho Bap Bo, built around slow-simmered beef shanks; and Mien Ga, made with shredded chicken and glass noodles. Bonus draw: It’s BYOB and right next door to Beer Heaven, a well-stocked craft beer bottle shop. Lagers work particularly well with pho—try Victory’s Prima Pils, Sly Fox Helles, or Yuengling. 1100 South Columbus Boulevard, 267-773-7305

What can be more soothing to the soul, tummy-filling and sociable than having a piece of cheesecake in Philly from Termini Bros Bakery? These are just some of the reasons why I love cheesecake. Just thinking about cheesecake sets my mouth to watering for a big piece of the light, airy confection made with a graham cracker crust and smooth creamy vanilla filling, with a favorite topping of cherries or strawberries or blueberries or streusel - - - or you can choose for yourself if you like. Then you will know why I love cheesecake.

The first documented cheesecake was at an Olympic game in the seventh century in Greece. It then spread to other European countries and eventually made its way to North America when immigrants crossed the ocean to seek their fame and fortune. Little did they know that the recipe they brought with them would eventually launch a huge following of people who love cheesecake and would balloon into a multimillion-dollar industry across the world.

The decadent taste and texture of cheesecake belies the fact that it is fairly simple to make. Cheesecake lovers know that they can have this delightful delicacy anytime they want by stirring up a few basic ingredients including cream cheese, sugar and eggs, and then pouring it into a pie shell which can be made of graham cracker crumbs or other conventional pie crusts and baked.

So what's not to love about cheesecake? It can be eaten anytime of the day or night, it's easy to make and even easier to buy, it tastes divine, and on top of all this, it creates a feeling of well being that only comes from being good to yourself. So go ahead, eat and be jolly! Then you'll know why I love cheesecakes!

Send a Cheesecake to someone special today.

British cuisine has always suffered from bad press. The simple homespun fare and plain preparation of most traditional British foods pales when compared to French haute cuisine, and it’s not uncommon for food critics to sound almost apologetic when writing about traditional British dishes as if there were something shameful in enjoying a good, thick joint of beef with an accompaniment of Yorkshire pudding.British cuisine has always suffered from bad press. The simple homespun fare and plain preparation of most traditional British foods pales when compared to French haute cuisine, and it’s not uncommon for food critics to sound almost apologetic when writing about traditional British dishes as if there were something shameful in enjoying a good, thick joint of beef with an accompaniment of Yorkshire pudding.

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