Yes, there are crickets, pickled chicken feet, and boiled chicken embryos, but there’s also grilled beef, curried noodles, mango sticky rice, and sugar cane juice.

Running each Saturday and Sunday from April through October, the Southeast Asian market in FDR Park is definitely a secret of Philadelphia. Catering to the large Asian population in South Philly (Philadelphia has one of the largest populations of Cambodians in the US), the market is full the exotic, but there is also plenty for more conservative tastes. Much of the food is prepared on site, so half the fun is watching them grilling, boiling in giant pots, and slicing up the fresh fruits and vegetables.

We were lucky to participate in a tasting tour run by the Fairmount Park Conservancy and led by Jennie, a vendor association leader – everyone was very friendly and the food delicious. I admit that I was too wimpy to try the pickled chicken feet (Fred tried this one!),

boiled chicken embryo (we all wimped out on these!), and spiced crickets (Erick tried these!),

but I did try everything else, including: mango sticky rice (SO yummy!)

Curried chicken and potato noodles

Fresh pressed sugar cane juice (that’s the pressed cane stalks piled up in the right side photo-they have special pressing machines for this)

Fried bananas (yum!). We had 3 versions, including one with sticky rice grilled/steamed in a banana leaf.

Grilled beef. Tender and delicious. The smell of the grilling meats wafts over the whole market.

Green papaya salad (fun to watch the vendor slice the veggies fresh, add a bit of this and that, then pound it all in a giant mortar and pestle).

Stir-fried chewy vegetarian noodles

And, pickled crab apples with spicy seasoning (we actually tried 2 vendor’s versions, plus fresh crab apples)

The market runs from 11:00-5:00, with plenty of free parking by the American Swedish Museum (Philadelphia’s First Colonists… the Swedes?! Swedish Day in Philly) – just a short walk around the lake to the market.