What to eat and drink at the 9th Street Italian Market Festival

10 top picks from the giant block party in South Philly.

Pina Colada from Los Gallos Mexican Taqueria

Pina Colada from Los Gallos Mexican Taqueria

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn
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The event called Philadelphia’s largest block party returned this weekend after a couple of years off. Along with bands playing music, games, and performances, dozens of vendors line South 9th Street for the annual Italian Market Festival, which has been a springtime tradition since the 1970s.

Stands stretch from Wharton to Fitzwater streets, including a collection of artists and artisans offering interesting and unique paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and other goods. But the most popular tables were the ones selling food and drink.

Saturday’s hot weather didn’t keep the crowds from showing up, and there’s more fun planned for Sunday, when the fest runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Planning to go or just want to experience it vicariously?

From South Philly Italian classics to Mexican favorites to easy-eating sweets and snacks, here’s a selection of 10 of the best things to eat and drink at the festival.

Attendees browse the stalls at the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival on Saturday

Attendees browse the stalls at the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival on Saturday

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn

Kettle corn from Voodoo

Stirred in an actual giant black pot, the freshly popped kettle corn comes in expected flavors like caramel and cheddar, or more unusual options like cherry raspberry. The stall is on 9th Street north of Montrose, where big bags go for $7.

Kettle corn from Kettle Corn Voodoo

Kettle corn from Kettle Corn Voodoo

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn

Cannuli’s roast pork sandwich

It’s a Philadelphia tradition, prepared by a butcher that specializes in the meat: this roast pork sandwich layered with provolone and broccoli rabe comes highly recommended. Sandwiches are $7 outside the shop between Montrose and Carpenter.

Cannuli’s roast pork sandwich

Cannuli’s roast pork sandwich

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn

Peroni from Villa di Roma

What better way to celebrate than with an Italian beer? Across the street from Cannuli’s, staff at one of South Philadelphia’s most iconic red gravy dining rooms proffer rows of the bottled lager for $6 a pop.

Peroni from Villa di Roma

Peroni from Villa di Roma

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn

Ravioli from Talluto’s

At the corner of 9th and Carpenter is one of the best fresh pasta makers in the city. On regular days, the ravioli wait in neat rows in the freezer, but for the festival they were ready to eat, a bowlful of plump cheese rounds topped with sauce for $8.50. Add a meatball or two for a little extra.

Ravioli from Talluto’s

Ravioli from Talluto’s

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn

Pina Colada from Los Gallos

Directly across from the big music stage on Washington Avenue, find this eye-catching drink. Pina colada is poured inside a hollowed out pineapple, then topped with whipped cream and adorned with pineapple slices, tiny umbrellas, and flags. Try one for $15, or $20 with booze.

Pina Colada from Los Gallos Mexican Taqueria

Pina Colada from Los Gallos Mexican Taqueria

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn

Mango on a stick at Alma del Mar

Stroll through the crowds and before too long you’re sure to see bright orange fruits bobbing by on a stick. It’s the popular Latin American street food, mango on a stick. This Mexican restaurant just south of Carpenter sells them for $5, or $6 if you want it grilled and sprinkled with chile spice.

Grilled mango on a stick from Alma del Mar

Grilled mango on a stick from Alma del Mar

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn

Cannoli from Termini Bros

This family-owned bakery, known for its cannoli for over a century, is headquartered on 8th Street, but they always come a block over for the market. Set up between Carpenter and Kimball streets, they offer the crisp pastry shell filled with sweet ricotta and chocolate chips for $5 each.

Cannolis from Termini Bros

Cannolis from Termini Bros

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn

Cappuccio’s hot sausage sandwich

When a butchery known for its sausages offers to cook them for you, don’t turn down the change. At a stall on the corner of Kimball, hot Italian style links are browned to perfection, then laid with peppers and onions in a soft roll for $10 a pop.

Cappuccio's hot sausage sandwich

Cappuccio's hot sausage sandwich

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn

Fishtown Iced Tea

The folks who ran with this Philly take on Long Island Iced Tea and decided to put it in cans came down from Fishtown to introduce the cocktail that includes vodka, rum, tequila, and triple sec. Bonus: At the table near 9th and Ellsworth, you’ll find the drink offered in its original form — the soon-to-disappear Arctic Splash cartons ($10).

Fishtown Iced Tea

Fishtown Iced Tea

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn

Cannoli cookie from Small Oven Bake Shop

Coming over from 22nd and Washington is this newish bakery, which has been providing all kinds of sweets for about three years. Exclusively for the festival, bakers created a cannoli cookie, which you can find just south of Ellsworth Street for $5 each,

Cannoli cookie from Small Oven Bake Shop

Cannoli cookie from Small Oven Bake Shop

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn

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