Historic Reading Terminal Market Food Vendors

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Get in because we're going to the city of Philadelphia — and no, not just for the Liberty Bell. The Reading Terminal Market is where it's at! This iconic venue has been delighting locals and tourists alike since 1893. Bursting with history, character, and a whole lot of yumminess, it's an experience that your taste buds will thank you for.

More than just a market, Reading Terminal is a microcosm of Philadelphia's rich culinary landscape. From old-world recipes that have stood the test of time to new favorites putting a spin on the traditional — you'll find it all under one glorious roof.

But this isn't just about food. Each of these vendors brings their unique story — a story woven into the fabric of Philadelphia itself. You'll be tasting a piece of history with every bite. 

Whether it's a family recipe passed down through generations or a new venture driven by an unquenchable passion for food, each vendor is a chapter in the epic foodie tale that is the Reading Terminal Market.

A Taste of History: The Story of Reading Terminal Market

This is one class you won't want to skip! Our subject for today is the illustrious Reading Terminal Market — the beating heart of Philadelphia's food scene. What started as a public market in a Reading Railroad train station is now a national historic landmark nestled between Arch Street, 12th Street, Filbert Street, and the 1100 block of Market Street.

Opened in 1893 on the site of a former farmers' market, this grand Pennsylvania icon quickly established herself as Center City's epicurean epicenter. Her secret? A simple but powerful commitment to providing fresh produce — with a large helping of character on the side!

Over the years, the Market has seen her fair share of changes. There's been the rise and fall of the Franklin market and Reading Railroad Company (and no, we're not talking about the Monopoly board game), the construction of the breathtaking headhouse, and countless other ups and downs. She even made it through World War II and the Great Depression. Through it all, Reading Terminal Market has remained a beloved hub of community and culture.

It's no surprise that this place is still a favorite among Philadelphians and tourists alike. With over 80 market merchants offering a tantalizing smorgasbord of ethnic food from around the world, the Market is a gastronomic wonderland. But enough of history for now — let's get to the good stuff!

Beiler's Donuts

No trip to Reading Terminal Market is complete without a stop at the legendary Beiler's Donuts. This is no ordinary donut shop. Beiler's is all about handcrafted, artisanal goodness that's as authentic as it gets.

Beiler's Donuts began as a humble stand at the open-air Market in the early 80s and has since blossomed into a full-fledged donut empire — a testament to their irresistible offerings. But despite their growth, the Beiler family has stayed true to their Amish roots, serving up a taste of tradition with every sweet treat.

From light and airy to rich and decadent, there's a donut here to satisfy every palate. And did we mention the variety? Whether you're a fan of the classics or up for a culinary adventure, Beiler's has got you covered. Just be sure to get there early, sweeties, as these crowd-pleasers often sell out!

The Famous Bassetts Ice Cream

Now let’s cool things down with a visit to Bassetts Ice Cream, which just so happens to be America's oldest ice cream brand. How old, you ask? Try over 150 years old! Bassetts was churning out delicious scoops when the Wild West was still, well, wild.

This is the kind of creamy, dreamy indulgence that dances on your tongue and makes your heart skip a beat. The secret lies in their time-honored process, high-quality ingredients, and that distinctive Philly style that you can't find anywhere else.

Step up to their vintage marble counter, and prepare to be dazzled by a rainbow of tempting flavors. From the beloved classics to some truly adventurous concoctions, there's something to satisfy every craving. And let's not forget their gorgeous sundaes — towering creations that are almost too beautiful to eat — well, almost.

But Bassetts is not just about creating scrumptious ice cream. It's also about preserving a piece of Philadelphia's culinary history and delivering a heaping scoop of nostalgia with every lick. 

Hershel's East Side Deli

There’s nothing wrong with starting your meal with dessert, but it’s time to get back to some savory basics at Hershel's East Side Deli. This isn't just a sandwich shop, sweeties. This is a deli institution that pays homage to the classic New York Jewish delis of yore.

The moment you step into Hershel's, you're hit with that tantalizing aroma of slow-cooked meats that are bound to make your tummy rumble. These guys are serious about their sandwiches — we're talking generously stuffed, piled-high creations that could feed a small army.

Each sandwich is a towering testament to the art of deli meats. Slow-cooked, tender, and full of flavor — it's enough to make any carnivore's heart sing. They've got all the classics you'd expect, as well as some unique offerings for the more adventurous eaters.

The atmosphere here is always buzzing, with a constant flow of patrons eager for their taste of deli heaven. After all, darling, nothing says 'love' quite like a sandwich that's bigger than your head!

Pearl's Oyster Bar

Prepare to take a dive into the deep blue when you rock up to the famous Pearl's Oyster Bar. This place is truly a pearl of Reading Terminal Market, a beacon for all seafood lovers who are on the hunt for the freshest catch in town. 

Founded over a hundred years ago, Pearl's has been serving up some of the city's finest seafood offerings for longer than your grandparents have been alive. Stepping into Pearl's is like stepping into a charming coastal town, complete with friendly faces, the sounds of bustling kitchens, and the invigorating aroma of fresh seafood.

Pearl's has a little something for every seafood aficionado. From the brisk briny flavor of oysters to the tender allure of clams, it's a veritable seafood feast. Not to mention the experience of sitting at their old-style counter, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the Market — it’s an absolute delight!

Sang Kee Peking Duck

She needs no introduction: Sang Kee Peking Duck. This gem of Reading Terminal Market has been serving up mouthwatering Chinese fare that's had Philadelphians raving for decades.

Walking into Sang Kee feels like stepping into a bustling street market in Beijing. The tantalizing aromas, the sizzling woks, the vibrant colors — it's a sensory feast that gets your taste buds tingling with anticipation. 

The menu at Sang Kee is a delightfully delicious dance between tradition and innovation. They've got all your Chinese favorites, perfectly prepared with that authentic touch. Whether you're craving something comforting and familiar, or you're looking to embark on a new culinary adventure, Sang Kee has you covered.

Sang Kee Peking Duck is a testament to the power of food in bringing different cultures together. So, next time you're in Reading Terminal Market, don't just admire from afar — step into Sang Kee and take your taste buds on a culinary journey to the heart of China. After all, who needs a passport when you have a palate?

Tommy DiNic's Roast Pork & Beef

This next vendor has been hailed as serving one of the best sandwiches in America, and when you consider how much America loves our sandwiches, you see why this is a must-taste. We're talking about none other than Tommy DiNic's Roast Pork & Beef.

Don't be fooled by the humble storefront. For over half a century, the DiNic family has been perfecting the art of the roast — and boy, have they got it down to a fine art!

The menu here is a celebration of all things savory and hearty, overflowing with slow-roasted meats, prepared with care, and bursting with deep, robust flavors. It's comfort food at its best, the kind that makes your soul sigh with satisfaction.

Kamal's Middle Eastern Specialties

Step into Kamal's, and you're instantly transported to the bustling bazaar of your foodie dreams. The air is filled with the warm aroma of spices, the vibrant chatter of patrons, and an irresistible aura of hospitality that's so characteristic of Middle Eastern culture.

The menu at Kamal's is a symphony of flavors, with each dish telling a story of tradition, family, and love. From tender meats cooked to perfection to vibrant salads bursting with freshness, Kamal's brings a piece of the Middle East to the heart of Philadelphia.

Now That You’ve Read Up on Reading… 

A visit to Reading Terminal Market isn't just about stuffing your face with all this delicious food — though, let's be honest, that's a huge perk! It’s also an incredible opportunity to take a step back and appreciate the diversity and rich cultural heritage that's represented in this market. It's about finding joy in each delectable bite, in every vibrant flavor that plays a symphony on your palate.

Whether you're a long-time local or a first-time visitor, there's always something new to discover at Reading Terminal Market. Take a day off, grab a friend, and embark on a culinary journey like no other. There's no better way to experience the heart and soul of Philadelphia. 

For more tips on how to find the best local cuisine (Philly cheesesteaks, anyone?), head on over to FoodGod.


Beiler's Donuts

Bassetts Ice Cream

Sang Kee Peking Duck

Tommy DiNic's Roast Pork & Beef

Pearl’s Oyster Bar

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