TT Skewer, Northern Chinese Style Street Food Cooked from the Heart (and yes, they serve heart)

Back in February, I spent time filling my stomach with street skewers from different parts of China.  Its an experience that we haven’t really replicated here in Philly. City government wouldn’t exactly allow nightly open markets of food prepared on outdoor equipment with questionable sanitation levels. Newcomer, TT Skewers, is trying to bring at least a snippet of that to Philly.

Located on 9th Street in a teeny tiny space with only counters for sitting, TT Skewers is run by a very friendly couple from Northern China, the Liaoning province to be precise.

The menu has skewers and hotpot. Use a pen to check off what you want your meal to look like.

Lamb skewers ($2.75 each), slow cooked for hours and topped with cumin seed,  are the best seller here. The meat was very flavorful and soft enough that teeth were barely required. The pork and corn skewer was a sort of sweet mini hotdog. Chicken wings come with a similar blitz of spices. Heart and gizzard are on the menu if you care for a more organ-y experience.

I almost left without trying the hotpot, hotpot not being a favorite of mine, but I figured I needed to try what made up the other half of the menu. Pick the spice level for the broth and then pick your add-ins (with a $7 minimum and no charge for the broth). Inside our medium spicy broth, I picked sliced rib eye, egg noodles, bok choy, fried gluten (great at absorbing flavor), potato (sliced super thin), wood ear mushroom, and quail egg (a generous serving of 4 and nicely soft boiled, for an oozy surprise) for a grand total that was under $8.  You can also have sesame sauce added, which we did (the beige sludge in the middle).  I would replicate this exact order again. As opposed to a boring vessel to cook things, the hotpot broth packed a ton of flavor. In fact, Edward, the chef component of the couple, cooks beef bones for 12 hours and adds over 30 spices, including lots of fennel seed to give this broth the proper Northern China flavor. That sort of dedication is impressive. And it kept me slurping the broth, even though I thought I was full after finishing the skewers.

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

  • Northern China style skewers
  • Hot pot with a lot of flavor

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

  • Not a lot of places to sit
  • No real vegetarian options
  • Opens at 3 and cash only
TT Skewer, 78 N 9th St, (215) 460-6617

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3 Comments

  • TT Skewers is my new male porn star stage name.

    On the topic of organs, chicken hearts are just a muscle. Give ‘em chance if you didn’t already.

    PS Chanced upon your Jewish dumpling comment on the NYT website today…

  • busted! Was it that obvious it was me?

    • “Midtown Lunch Jamie,” posting from Philadelphia, about Jewish dumplings in Flushing. It didn’t take a lot of sleuthing. It jumped out because it was one of the only only comments that wasn’t complaining about the NYT star system… oy vey.

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