The 7 Cross-Cultural Mash-Up Dishes You Need to Try Around Philly

Asian meets Jewish and Italian meets Japanese, with great results
March 10, 2015
by Danya Henninger

Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever for chefs to find inspiration from cuisines all over the world. Creative combinations that meld unlikely flavors and ingredients are showing up at restaurants of all kinds, and many of them are so good they seem destined to become new classics. When you’re looking for something surprising, try for one of these seven great cross-cultural mash-up dishes around Philadelphia.

Togarashi Fries at V Street

Rich Landau pulls from cuisines around the world for the vegan street-food menu at his new Rittenhouse cocktail and snack bar. Belgian frites meet Japan and Korea in his lunchtime fries, which are dusted with togarashi spice, cilantro and chopped scallion and served with a gochujang mayo dipping sauce ($5; pictured above).

126 S. 19th St.; 215-278-7943

Veal Schnitzel Tacos at Abe Fisher

Co-chef Yehuda Sichel channels Jewish cooking into entirely new forms at this CookNSolo dining room in Center City. Breaded veal cutlet finds its way into strips laced with cabbage and anchovy mayo inside a trio of housemade tortillas for a snack that would make Bubbe smile in spite of herself ($14).

1623 Sansom St.; 215-867-0088

Falafel Tafels at Sancho Pistola’s

Adan Trinidad offers more than a dozen creative tacos at his Fishtown hot spot, and each one is an exquisite melding of flavors and textures in novel combinations. Middle Eastern meets Mexico in these “tafels” (it just sounds better), which features fluffy fried chickpea batter topped with feta cheese, lettuce, tomato and jalapeño yogurt dressing ($13).

19 W. Girard Ave.; 267-324-3530

Long Hot Ramen at Serpico

At his understatedly elegant South Street restaurant, Peter Serpico takes the most “Philly” of all peppers and builds a rich, intensely flavored ramen broth around it. A soft-cooked egg and a dusting of nori seaweed powder finish off the unique bowl ($14).

604 South St.; 215-925-3001

Pastrami Bao at Bing Bing Dim Sum

Ben Puchowitz loves traditional Asian dumplings, but he also enjoys playing around with ingredients that aren’t usually found in Chinese cuisine. He created what looks to be instant classic for the opening menu at his East Passyunk dim sum house — a bao bun stuffed with pastrami and Swiss, pan fried and served with Russian dressing dipping sauce ($7).

1648 E. Passyunk Ave.; 215-279-7702

Lamb Massaman Nachos at Tuk Tuk Real

Alex Boonphaya and Silvestre Rincon play mix and match with Thai and Mexican flavors at their South Street taqueria. One of their more successful combinations is this plate of fresh-fried tortilla chips piled with chopped tomato, melting cheese, jalapeños and coconut-curry-braised lamb ($9).

429 South St.; 267-639-2396

Drums of Heaven at IndeBlue

Wings get the Indian treatment at Rakesh Ramola’s Midtown Village enclave, with a spicy tomato-chile sauce coating twice-fried and frenched drumettes. A sprinkling of blue cheese goes just as well with this hot dressing as with classic Buffalo ($8).

205 S. 13th St.; 215-545-4633

thai food
mexican food
indian food
asian food