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Las AndreasRecent estimates show that there are at least 12,000 Mexican immigrants currently living in Philly, with more arriving each and every single day. And many, if not most, of this population originally hails from either the city or the state of Puebla, long considered to be the food capital of our neighbors to the south.

The stretch of 9th Street between Washington and Federal has long been considered a netherworld. To the north lies the famous Italian Market. And to the south sits the infamous Pat’s and Geno’s. But in between, there hasn’t been too much.

That is, until the past few years, as this stretch of the city has become the central hub of the Mexican immigrant community. And, since this population comes from a place where cooking is second nature, these few blocks have become a food hunter’s paradise.

There are about a half-dozen taquieras worth checking out on these few blocks, with a few more really good ones around the corner on Washington. If you have a craving for authentic Mexican dishes, this is your spot. Every place has terrific tacos el pastor (pork and pineapple) or other dishes stuffed with absolutely perfect chorizo sausage; in addition, both the chalupa and mole pobleno (a type of sauce) were brought to life in Puebla. These restaurants really cater to the Mexican population; many of the menus are Spanish only. But, to me, that’s the sign that a great meal awaits.

But while I love the tacquieras on 9th Street, my favorite place is a tiny Mexican grocer called Las Andreas, located directly across the street from Connie’s Ric Rac, one of the hottest rock, comedy and theater venues in town. The place is a non-descript bodega located next to a Mexican bike shop and is filled with Mexican brands of soda, cereal and other foods, as well as lucha libre masks.

But Las Andreas is also one of, and possibly, the only place to get authentic elote anywhere in Philly.

Elote is Puebla’s highly popular street food. It’s a piece of freshly grilled corn placed onto a stick, just like a popsicle or corn dog. The corn is then dipped into mayonnaise, rolled around in a Mexican cheese, and then sprinkled with some spices that have a little kick. It’s the perfect snack food.

However, be warned. The staff at Las Andreas speaks almost no English. The elote stand is actually on the sidewalk right in front of the store, so hovering around it and pointing usually works in getting an order of elote. Stepping inside and saying “elote” (pronounced ee-loh-tay) or repeatedly saying “corn” a few times also works, too. In addition, they only serve elote after 5 p.m. on weekdays, making this a nighttime-only snack stop.

And while this may sound complicated, it’s completely worth it. And the best part: one piece of elote costs a measly $2.

Las Andreas Grocery is located on S. 9th Street between Washington and Ellsworth in South Philly.

 

Address: 

Las Andreas Grocery is located on S. 9th Street between Washington and Ellsworth in South Philly.

Hours: 

Stop by after 5p.m. to try the elote as a night-time snack.