Wandering Wednesdays: Mofongo and Steam Table Teasers at Pio Pio

For the 3rd week in a row, I am interrupting our regularly scheduled/centrally located programing to explore Northeast Philly. This week, it’s Pio Pio, a Cuban “deli, grocery, restaurant”.

With a name like Pio Pio, I assumed Peruvian chicken, since there are a whole bunch of Pio Pio’s in NYC who do just that. Further confusing me were the cute little hatching chicks on the awning, how could I not think it was a chicken joint?

While they do actually serve chicken along with American food (sandwiches, pizza, cheesesteaks) from a counter in the front, I was more interested in the Cuban food from the counter in the back.

Straight in the back are extremely cheap lunch specials from a steam table, but by the time I got there, most of that had sold out. I ordered from the menu instead.

A mofongo and pork platter ($8) came with rice and beans and crispy bits of fried pork. What is it with this area and good pork? The platter took a bit of time to come to me because the mofongo was being pounded in this vessel…

Unfortunately, I took my platter to go and by the time I got home the mofongo was a bit hard. I tried my best to reheat it, but fresh is clearly the only way to eat this. I can say that it had a great flavor.

Before leaving the back counter to pay at the register up front, I noticed some stragglers at the steam table- potatoes that had been part of some chicken/potato option. I love these kind of sauce soaked potatoes so I asked to have them even though the chicken was all gone. I was rewarded with a free container of them. They were as soft and sauce soaked as I hoped and hinted that this would be a great dish to order if I had only gotten their earlier.

I also grabbed a $1 container of tasty rice pudding at the register. How could I not?

Later at home, when browsing the pizza section of the menu I saw they have something very unique- Cuban pizza! With roast pork, “sweet cheese”, imported ham and sweet peppers. Delicious? I have no idea, someone else will have to make the trip and let me know.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • I am looking for some real Cuban food
  • The steam table has some cheap and delicious lunch specials

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • The mofongo gets hard if you wait to eat it

Pio Pio, 2838 Kensington St, 267 423 4109


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