PROFILE: Philly Luncher “Mike”

As is customary at Philly Lunch, every Tuesday we turn over the site to a different lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Philadelphia. This week it’s Mike, aka helpful commenter MWinston, a student who seems to know the good eating spots of University City like the back of his hand.

Name: Mike

Age: 22

Occupation: Student (About to graduate!)

Where in Philly do you Work?: Fine Arts Major for Graphic Design at The University of Pennsylvania

Favorite Kind of Food:I eat around 85% of my meals in sandwich form (generally on a longroll). This is a something I learned the hard way this year over Passover while I struggled to find meals that weren’t served on bread. My lunches are heavily dominated by meatball subs, chicken cheesesteaks, bacon egg and cheese sandwiches, etc. I also really love ethnic food of all types. Fortunately for me, West Philly is a pretty decent place to find a variety of ethnic food. I love pickles too. I go through about a jar of pickles per week. Through all of my pickle eating I’ve learned that my favorite kind is the Kosher Dill Spears from Claussen. Finally, when I cook, I put caramelized onions and garlic on nearly everything. There’s not much food in this world that won’t be improved by the addition of caramelized onions and garlic. I almost forgot… Sriracha! Well it’s not a food, but a sauce. Oh well, it’s delicious on everything. Eggs. Fried Rice. Meat. Hot dogs. Everything.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: There’s not much out there I won’t eat (or at least try), but I can’t stand gefilte fish. I gave it the benefit of the doubt a few weeks ago and gave it another taste, but no. It didn’t want to go down.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Philly:I eat a majority of my meals from food carts so I’ll just do some shoutouts to my favorite carts around campus. At Lyn’s cart (36th and Spruce) I often order their Meatball Sandwich, but don’t overlook their Eggplant Spinach Parm Sub which is equally as good. When she asks if you want hot sauce on it, say yes! It’s Sriracha. From Steak Queen (38th and Locust) I usually order a “Chicken Cheesesteak with Onions and Honey Mustard”. It is the best foodcart chicken on campus in my opinion. From Don Memo’s (38th and Sansom) I usually order an Al Pastor Burrito though recently I’ve been ordering the Pork Torta. Another favorite is Bui’s (38th and Spruce) where I usually order a Pepperoni, Egg, and Cheese (Double Egg) with Onions and Bui’s sauce (which is basically a Sriracha mayo). I know this dish sounds kind of strange, but trust me on this. It is great hangover food.

I mentioned ethnic food before and these places I’m about to talk about tend to be more dinners than lunches for me but I’ll mention them anyways since most of them are in ML price range. On campus, we have a number of Thai options; my favorite is Thai Singha House (40th and Chestnut). They have a really great lunch and early bird deal. West Philly also has a good number of Indian restaurants whose buffets make for a really good filling meal. New Delhi (40th and Chestnut) does a pretty good job with keeping a variety of tasty food in their buffet. My favorite cheap and filling place to eat is Pho Cafe Saigon (43rd and Spruce) where you can get a gigantic, delicious bowl of Pho jam packed with Beef Brisket, Flank, Tripe, Tendon, cilantro (sorry cilantro haters), onions, and more for around $7. Every now and then I have enough time to venture out to 45th Street for some African food. I love the Ethiopian food at Abyssinia (45th and Locust). I think the spongy Ethiopian bread that the dishes are served over is really interesting.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Well, the lunchtime eating culture I am surrounded by is picking up food from one of the many food carts around Penn’s campus and bringing it back to my fraternity’s chapter house to eat with the brothers (hopefully out on the front porch when the weather is nice). I personally eat at one specific food cart at the corner of 37th and Spruce way too often. This is one of the few carts that doesn’t brand itself with a catchy name so we all just refer to it as the ‘Asian Man Cart’. There’s also hardly ever a line there. I eat a Meatball and Cheese Longroll from him at least 3 days a week. We also enjoy his deli subs, Italian Sweet Sausage, and Hot Roast Beef.

Place you discovered thanks to Philly Lunch (if any) Dim Sum Garden is one of those places I would walk by and ignore on my way to Chinatown based on the location and looks alone. I’ve been meaning to make a trip over there to try out the Dim Sum after reading about it here.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? I’d love to end up in New York City. After living there over the past summer, I saw just how much variety in food the city had to offer. My only hesitation is that food in New York is so expensive!

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Philly Lunch readers? Where are all the eating competitions in Philly? I’m talking spicy eating or quantity and hopefully with prizes as rewards for success.  Also, are any of you Philly readers in need of a digital designer? I’m about to graduate and am in the job market!

I think you just missed Flying Monkey’s cupcake bowl… maybe next year?

If you would like to be next week’s Profiled Philly Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email me at


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