PROFILE: Philly Luncher “Alex”
As we try to do 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 Alex who has loved Malaysian food for as long as he has had teeth.
Where in Philly do you Work?: West Philly
Favorite Kind of Food: Malaysian, since age 2 when I got mad at my grandparents for taking me to a Chinese restaurant after I’d requested Malaysian.
Least Favorite Kind of Food: As an ingredient, baby corn, probably. But in a dish, I can’t stand unnecessary pretension, whether we’re talking sous vide skirt steak or Ecuadorian reserve pour-over coffee. Not saying I don’t like good sourcing and preparation — buy what you should be buying and cook it how it should be cooked — but serve it to me without all of the fuss.
Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Philly: The Radicchio pie at Pitruco (truck, varies) is pretty unreal: tart, sweet, and doughy in all the right ways. I also love Don Memo (truck, 38 + Sansom) burritos, which are messy and enormous but so damn good; their carnitas especially is better than any fancypants porchetta I’ve had. The My Thai at Underdogs (132 S. 17th) is awesome, too, and for my money a much better value than anything I’ve had at Hot Diggity (630 South St.), and up in Chinatown I’m obsessed with the salty-sweet Fried Pearl Noodles at Penang (117 N. 10th).
“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? KoJa, the Korean-Japanese (get it?) truck at 38th and Walnut. Their yaki udon was my gateway drug, but now it’s all about the pork bulgoki. And they have a roster of delicious $3 and $4 sandwiches that are enough for a meal as well.
Place you discovered thanks to Philly Lunch (if any) S&H Kebab House! It’s delicious, in a great location (611 E. Passyunk), and was my savior when I needed a last-minute reservation for 20 a few months ago. [Ed. Note- - its called Leziz now, but same menu]
If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Malaysia — so I guess Kuala Lumpur, as it’s the country’s biggest city. I could eat Malay noodles, stir-fries, and curries every day.
Is there anything you’d like to ask the Philly Lunch readers? Why does nobody talk about the *old* food truck scene in our city? The glossy, expensive ones popping up in recent years get all of the attention, when it’s old, beat up trucks doing amazing work (like KoJa, for example, discussed above) that really set us apart. Given that fancy food trucks are a dime a dozen across the country, we should be embracing our longtime lunch truck culture for what really makes it unique.
If you would like to be next week’s Profiled Philly Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email me at email@example.com.