Friday, January 14, 2011


Tucked away in a University City parking lot, sandwiched in between an Indian buffet and a strip club is Koreana, a tiny counter service Korean place catering mostly to Penn students. It's a barebones, family run operation serving a full menu of Korean standards including kimbap, mandoo, omurice, and lots of hot pots.

Quick service combined with affordable pricing and homey offerings makes Koreana a campus restaurant through and through. Be prepared for gaggles of Penn students involved in intense conversations about coding and grad school. But if you can get around the collegiate atmosphere there are some great Korean eats to be had.

A recent lunch of of soondubu, a spicy stew of soft tofu and pork, was a touch spicier than I've had before, with a heavy dusting of chili powder lining the lip of the stone bowl that it was served in. The soup had an almost wood-fired smokiness to the broth, making the spice even more pronounced and wonderfully warming. The chunks of tofu in the bowl were soft and custardy and slices of pork were fork tender. A quick poke around the bowl uncovered a poached egg just below the surface, ready to be broken up into the soup.

The mandoo weren't the best I've had, most likely frozen. The soy-sesame dipping sauce that accompanied made up for some of the blandness. But then again that might be my fault for ordering them steamed instead of fried.

I suppose my one qualm with Koreana is the lack of banchan, just a tiny cup of kimchi to accompany the meal. Other counter service Korean joints including the H-Mart in Elkins Park serve at least a three small dishes along with your main. But banchan aside, Koreana is a great option for quick fix Korean.

Koreana Restaurant
3801 Chestnut Street, Phila, PA 19104
(215) 222-2240

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tyson Bee's

These guys are living my food truck dreams. Tyson Bee's food truck, is delicious, and perfect to be parked on Bainbridge and Broad on New Year's day.

Smartest peeps. Which I think they might be parked here every Saturday, so get in line. Or normally during the week on 33rd and Spruce.

The Endamame Taco, even though I am not an endamame fan by far, was really delicious and surprising. Mack got 2!

Of course I got the pork belly bun, which was a braised pork belly in hoisin sauce and cilantro, super yum.

But we ran into our friends who got the Thai Basil Chicken bowl and The Korean Beef Bowl, both looked  and smelled awesome.

What I loved about these guys serving it up on New Year's Day on Broad Street, was a moment when a police officer came up the the truck and said:

" I dont know what a Thai Basil Chicken Bowl is, but I want to try it"

Which made me smile hard.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cafe Chau

check out the jar of fresh chili peppers

I love getting tea in this little guy

That's right drop ceilings and tiling, ahhh reminds me of my grandma's.

Bo Kho

Bun Rieu

No Cafe Chau is not my house, it's WAY better because it has flourescent lighting and a widescreen TV. Which every delicious Vietnamese restaurant should have at least one or the other.

Adam Erace wrote about Cafe Chau in last week's City Paper and as soon as I saw the article:

1) um it's called Cafe Chau, I mean I had to know
2) I whipped out my phone and mapped how long it took to get there from the apartment.
3) Hey more places to get a banh mi, Holla at me.

And the people there were the nicest sweetest people. The Bo Kho, Vietnamese Beef Stew, was stellar. The bread was really good and just toasted hot, and not everyone makes this dish which is great in the winter. The Bun Rieu is the tomato broth and crab meat soup, which I have to say I prefer the Nam Son version of this dish. But the iced coffee, um it's love is like whoa.

Cafe Chau
7th and Jackson St.
(215) 463-1095