12 Awesome Things to Eat at Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia
Great eats at one of the nation’s oldest and largest public markets...
Reading Terminal Market — one of the nation’s oldest and largest public markets — is a must-visit on any trip to Philadelphia.
Beloved by locals and visitors alike, this bustling indoor food hall and marketplace features dozens of family-owned vendors offering an astonishing variety of food, with some vendors operating in much the same way as they did when the market opened in 1892.
The globally inspired food — available for breakfast, lunch, dinner (eat in or take out) — is the main draw, while loads of other vendors offer meats, produce, cheeses, chocolates and other ingredients perfect for make-at-home meals.
The sights and sounds of the rows and rows of vendors can make it tough to decide what to order. We’re here to make it easy. Get started with this guide to the 12 top foods to eat at Reading Terminal Market. (For vendor locations within the market, check out this neat interactive map .)
While you can find delicious cheesesteaks at Reading Terminal Market, the best bet for sandwich lovers is DiNic’s famous roast pork, voted “Best Sandwich in America” by the Travel Channel . The fourth-generation shop builds its stellar sammie around thinly sliced, juicy roast pork piled on a hoagie roll with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe. If you like spice, opt for a local favorite: grilled long hots (i.e. long green chili peppers). The stall’s popularity can mean long lines, but they move quickly — and this sandwich is worth the wait. Promise.
Good luck narrowing it down to a dozen flavors of yeast-raised doughnuts at Beiler’s . Will it be the blueberry fritter or the mocha crème? The coconut custard or the salted caramel? Whether you opt for classics like apple cider doughnuts or step out with Fruity Pebbles-spangled treats, Beiler’s is a sweet spot you shouldn’t miss. (After all, it was named one of the 20 best dessert spots in the country by Fodor’s.)
Guiseppe and Gaetano Termini opened their beloved South Philadelphia pasticceria over 100 years ago. Now run by the third generation of the family, Termini Brothers Bakery has a handful of locations in the city, including this popular stall at the market. The iconic, super-fresh cannoli is the classic choice—filled with ricotta cheese, vanilla or chocolate Italian cream. Have more room? Pick up a box of pignoli cookies. You won’t regret it.
Dutch Eating Place , a charming diner run by Amish and Mennonite families, is best known for its apple cinnamon-scented apple dumplings, made by peeling and coring whole apples, coating them in a sugar-cinnamon mixture and wrapping them in pastry. As the dumplings bake, the fruit slumps into custardy-goodness in the pastry shell. Traditionally served warm with cream poured over, the dumplings make a fantastic dessert — especially when paired with some vanilla ice cream from Bassets (see below for more).
Unlike a traditional Philadelphia soft pretzel, the “Amish pretzels” at Miller’s Twist are hand-rolled by talented workers behind the counter, brushed with butter and served slightly warm. Even better? In the mornings, Miller’s makes the best portable breakfast around: a pretzel stuffed with scrambled eggs, cheese, and your choice of bacon, sausage or ham.
Generations of ice cream lovers have lined up for cones at Bassetts Ice Cream , the very first merchant to sign a lease at the market. And there’s more to this family business’s fascinating history: It’s the oldest ice cream shop in the U.S., founded by a Quaker teacher who churned his early batches with mule power more than 150 years ago. Today, you can choose from dozens of rich and creamy flavors (vanilla is the most popular) made with over 16% butterfat.
There are plenty of whoopie pies at the market’s bakeries, but nobody makes this regional treat quite like whimsical bakery Flying Monkey . The traditional whoopie is two circles of cake — typically chocolate — filled with fluffy white frosting. Flying Monkey offers a variety of tasty creative pies like cookies ‘n cream, lemon lavender, coconut and chai. Spring for a set of six to try each and every one of the glorious flavors.
This Amish-style rotisserie is an essential stop during a visit to the market. Family-owned Dienner’s has used the same ingredients for three generations. Hungry patrons can order whole or half rotisseries, or a roasted chicken sandwich. The wings are the most portable option for visitors on the go.
A top vegetarian pick, Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties has offered falafel, baba ganouj, hummus, eggplant stew and spinach feta pies since 1981. A hidden gem, though, is the family’s lemonana, made with fresh lemon juice and mint blended together with a hint of rosewater. The resulting sweet-tart drink is bright green and supremely refreshing, and makes the perfect accompaniment to a plate of shawarma — or pretty much any other meal at the market.
At Sang Kee , where gorgeously burnished Peking duck and roast pork hang on display, it’s difficult to choose between the two. Thankfully, you don’t have to. Get the combo Peking duck with crispy skin and deeply flavored roast pork atop rice with tender, bright green baby bok choy. Pro tip? Swap out the rice for noodles.
After several years of serving satisfied Philadelphians, Mark and Tia El opened the first Black-owned bakery in the market’s history in 2021. Visit Sweet T’s Bakery for Tia’s classic sweet potato pie with graham cracker crust, but don’t overlook the rest of the menu items like sweet potato cheesecake and pound cake. Because the pies also come in mini versions, you can grab one for a snack or easily take them to go.
Grab a seat at Down Home Diner — one of the few spots in the market with plenty of dedicated seating — and order some scrapple. This regional favorite is essentially a pork paté thickened with either cornmeal or buckwheat. The version at the diner is fragrant with black pepper, and slices of it are served deeply browned — a perfect foil to a platter of scrambled eggs and toast. Try it sweet with maple syrup or savory with ketchup.
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