Tasty Place – Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia’s Chinatown is a large and daunting task to take on culinarily especially for those of us not having an Asian background to guide us to the path of enlightenment there. Having been to many places in China, Taiwan Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Japan, Asian flavors have maintained a spot in my palate that are not easily found, especially when I had no idea what I was ordering or eating when I was at most of those locations. Tasty Place sits by stepping into the underbelly of Philly’s Chinatown in the Chinatown Mall below ground at 11th and Race Streets that gives you a feeling of excitement seeing lots of foreign things to most people and the fun of exploring new products not normally found in your neighborhood supermarket. I encourage you to walk around, buy a few new things you have never seen, and then enjoy Tasty Place.
The first thing you may notice is that nothing on the menu is over ten dollars, and everything is very reasonably priced. For all of the food that I ordered, the total was only twenty-three dollars. Just as much, or if not less that what a normally fast-food Americanized Chinese take-out place near you that serves bottom of the barrel commercialized flavors to the masses that the majority of Americans think is real Asian flavors or food. So the excuse many people say that a lot of restaurants in Chinatown being too expensive to experiment with and try their food is not a valid argument here. What I will agree with is that it is not the most romantic place, nor is it that visually appealing as a stand alone restaurant, but this is what makes Tasty Place its own. It is bare bones, not caring about anything but the food destination. When I ordered, not a lot of non-Asian were present when I visited which made the remark of a little boy who could not be older than six years old sitting next me ask, “What you do here?”. I replied “Getting some food”, with him retorting “Oh, I don’t see a lot of people like you. You’ll like it, food good here” and he then asked if I liked superheros (which I do) and I had a friend for the duration of my stay at Tasty Place talking superhero mumbo jumbo and he even walked me all the way to the door as I left and yelled “Hope to see you again”. He may have been knowledgeable out superheros, but did this little boy know anything about good food? Well, as the saying goes “Out of the mouths of babes”, this child could not have been more correct about getting good food there and he will be seeing me there again.
I am not going to list a blow-by-blow of what I ordered. I am sure you can see by the picture, wonton soup and pork fried rice were two of the options. The other two were complete guesses, and they did not disappoint. The soup was amazing and the fried rice cooked to perfection with a flavor that can not be duplicated easily. With Tasty Place’s set ten-dollar cap for pricing, trying new and unusual things is half the fun of going there, and with a menu featuring over one-hundred options plenty of fun tasty adventures are bound to happen in the future for me there and hopefully you as well. Give them a try, I have a strong feeling they will not disappoint you, and if you do order something that was not exactly what you were looking for, I am sure that you have wasted ten-dollars on something sillier than trying to expand your horizons
Now if you want a breakdown of Tasty Place’s history, a complete story about food ordered there, and more about its chef Simon Sei, I encourage you to CLICK HERE for Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan’s article about them.
Here is my breakdown for my review:
For the price and quality of the food – Four Stars.
The atmosphere kills them as you do not get the usual dining out experience and it is not a date night location for sure – One and a half Stars
Order take-out and eat at home compared to your normal take-out chinese place – Five Stars
Giving Tasty Place an overall score:
Three and a half stars out of Five