Break the chain, try new Philly eateries

Students should try new foods on Main Campus instead of looking for familiarity.


As a self-proclaimed foodie, I make it a priority to try restaurants people recommend.

And I’m not only interested in upscale Center City dining; my eyes are always searching for good bites near Main Campus. So when I read The Temple News’ Lunchies issue last semester, I made it my mission to try every food on the staff picks page. 

Spoiler alert: I failed. But I checked a good portion of them off my list, and I was a little ashamed I hadn’t discovered some of these food trucks before. 

So, I’m advising Temple University students, especially those who are graduating soon, to expand their horizons when it comes to eating because North Philly has a lot to offer. 

Some students may look to familiar chain restaurants like Wendy’s and Chipotle for consistency and comfort, especially if they’re away from home for the first time. 

You can improve your nutritional variety and become healthier. Not to mention, students shouldn’t be afraid to figure out what they like and don’t like.

It disheartens me to see students turn away from some of the foreign foods simply because they are not so common where they’re from. 

I felt better last month when I saw the outcry against the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspection announcement that it would begin enforcing a 2015 ordinance that requires trucks to move from their parking spots at night.

After a petition directed to City Council to “Save Temple University Food Trucks” received more than 6,000 signatures, the city delayed ticketing and towing food truck vendors.

It’s nice to know there are other passionate foodies on Main Campus who would hate to lose our array of vendors that allow students to try new foods all the time. 

Mikala Moorech, a junior psychology major, dislikes self-proclaimed “picky eaters” based on her own personal experience living with one, she said. 

“I would always tell her that there is so much better food in Philadelphia that she could eat instead,” Moorech said. “College students studying here should definitely take advantage of it.”

“You can eat at a chain restaurant anywhere,” she added.

Last year, I wrote an essay about my foodstagram, an Instagram account where I strictly post photos of my meals. This year, I used the account to document my mission following the Lunchies issue.

Looking back on my posts, I tried cuisines from all different cultures made just walking distance from each other. Eating from food trucks on Main Campus can seem like a trip around the world.

The beef ramen from the Kobawoo Express truck on Montgomery Avenue near Liacouras Walk had me loudly slurping noodles in the middle of the Tuttleman Learning Center. The bulgogi, which is made with white rice, beef, onions and scallions, from Korea House on Norris Street near 13th had me wondering why I hadn’t tried Korean food before this year. 

College is about meeting new people who come from different backgrounds. You should meet new foods, too.

Mary Kate Durnan, a sophomore data science major, compared the willingness to try new foods to being curious about others’ social and political views. Students who are accepting and understanding of each other should want to learn about other cuisines, she said.

“Temple has a lot of pride in the diversity of our campus,” Durnan said. “Exposure to new ideas and cultures are a crucial part of our college experiences.”   

And if better understanding and relating to those around you isn’t enough of a reason to try new foods, supporting local businesses should be.

Sure, when you get a McGriddle from McDonald’s for breakfast, you can expect the same, consistent breakfast sandwich you’ve probably been eating since you were a kid. 

But when you get a ham, egg and cheese on a croissant from Chicken Heaven or the Boss flatbread sandwich from Saige Cafe, complete with egg, cheese, tomato and avocado, you’re supporting the local economy and showing appreciation for your community.

Above all, when you try new foods, you’re helping yourself by learning to branch out. My journey with trying new foods has made me feel more well rounded, and I get excited to share my new favorite restaurants on my foodstagram. I rarely ever get the same dish twice.

Listen to my recommendations, and you might find your new favorite meal.

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