The Features Editor explains her inspiration for the annual Lunchies guide: how international foods on campus connect students to the world.
Before transferring to Temple University in Spring 2017, I spent three years traveling through 26 countries across Europe, Africa and Latin America. I quickly realized on my backpacking trip that a country’s cuisine offers travelers a telling glimpse into a region’s culture. From couscous and tagine in Morocco to ceviche and anticuchos in Peru, meals represent the diversity in natives’ diets, food preferences and ways of life.
When I settled down in Philadelphia, food trucks seemed strange to me. I grew up in Anacortes, Washington, a small island town an hour north of Seattle where these restaurants on wheels didn’t exist. But Philly’s food trucks quickly won my heart, especially once I realized their international owners offer the authentic foods I’d grown to love while living abroad.
Immigrants and their second-generation families accounted for more than 25 percent of Philadelphia’s population in recent years, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. Among this demographic, entrepreneurship is extremely popular, particularly with the creation of small, mom and pop businesses.
The food trucks on campus offer students an important, immersive experience into cultures unfamiliar to them. Students can eat their way around the world from Puerto Rico to Japan to the Middle East without stepping foot outside of North Philadelphia. Many of the food trucks’ owners are immigrants or second-generation families, ready to share their unique stories and perspectives.
For the annual Lunchies guide, we highlighted these owners and their backgrounds and entrepreneurship. The wide-ranging food spots provide both international and domestic students with an array of familiar items and new foods to try. This teaches us about different cultures while bringing the world and the Temple community a little closer together, one dish at a time.
– Laura Smythe, Features Editor
The Taste of India, which opened in April, is one of the few Indian food options on campus.
Video by Caitlin Checkett
The Fruit Salad food truck uses fresh fruits and vegetables like beets, kiwis and blackberries.
Some students describe American food as fattening and tasteless.
Lucy Gao and her husband opened a storefront on Cecil B. Moore amid the growing bubble tea trend.
Video by Caitlin Checkett
The food truck, 4 Brothers Loco Flavor, opened in Spring 2018.
Eateries on campus cater to religious and lifestyle preferences, like vegan and kosher diets.
What we’re eating
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