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18 Ethnic Desserts To Try Before You Die

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These desserts are all worth the hike.
Philly's reputation as a food town extends beyond juicy roast pork sandwiches and high-end pizza into a vast and varied selection of unique desserts. In fact, one of the strongest genres that gets little to no ink is our extensive collection of ethnic sweets, which runs the gamut from sticky-sweet baklava to flaky, buttery halvah.

For those of you with an insatiable sweet tooth, we've put together a list of the best and most unique sugary treats from all over town. Best of all, almost every culinary corner in Philly is represented here, with some boasting two or three list-makers. Without further ado, here are The 18 Ethnic Desserts to Try Before You Die.


All Eater Guides [~EPHI~]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bitar's

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947 Federal St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 755-1121
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This Middle Eastern restaurant/grocery store has a giant dessert case bursting with fresh pastries from what’s called “fingers” - crushed cashews wrapped in fillo dough - to knafe, cheese pastry soaked in syrup and sprinkled with ground-up pistachios.

2. Bread Top House

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1041 Race St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 925-3802
For authentic and affordable Chinese pastries, Chinatown’s Bread Top House is a solid bet. Fragrant sesame red bean balls and fluffy pineapple custard buns are favorites.

3. Mazza

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1100 Jackson St
Philadelphia, Pa 19148
(215) 952-2600
The baklava at South Philly's Mediterranean Mazza is gooeyer than average, literally dripping with honey.

4. Baklava Cafe

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627 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
This South Street spot’s thing is Mediterranean pastries, but it's not just baklava. Try the sesame pistachio cookies called barazik or the Lebanese maamoul, stuffed date-orange cookies.

5. Yummy Yummy

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52 N 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 625-9188
Ridiculous name aside, this Chinatown eatery dishes up delicious egg-shaped Chinese waffles made to order, either original or green tea white chocolate.

6. Heung Fa Chun Sweet House

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112 N 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 238-8968
Head here for authentic douhua, silky tofu pudding topped with ginger sugar and red bean.

7. Jamonera

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105 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
The buneulos, Spanish donuts, are served doughy and warm with espresso dulce de leche, spiced chocolate ganache and sea salt.

8. Alma De Cuba

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1623 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 988-1799
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The chocolate cigars get all the attention but the creamy vanilla flan - vanilla bean custard, candied cherry puree, and almond praline - is equally satisfying.

9. Jamaican Jerk Hut

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1436 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 545-8644
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Conclude your island meal with traditional Jamaican Rum Cake infused with dark rum. Wash it down with Jamaican pineapple soda or carrot milk.

10. Kamal's Middle Eastern Specialties

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51 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 925-1511
It’s not just delicious spanakopita at this Reading Terminal stall. They’ve got several varieties of halvah and baklava, each better than the last.

11. Taqueria La Veracruzana

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908 Washington Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 465-1440
The homemade flan and pastel tres leches at this Washington Ave taco shop are as tasty as the widely-applauded tacos al pastor.

12. Isgro Pastries

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1009 Christian St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 923-3092
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They’re Marc Vetri’s favorite cannoli for a reason. The shells are crisp, the ricotta strikes the perfect balance between sweet and savory - and their URL is bestcannoli.com.

13. Koo Zee Doo

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614 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 923-8080
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Don’t leave without trying the bolo de bolacha, a cake composed of stacked coffee-soaked wafers with buttercream and a tangy fruit compote.

14. Moctezuma Mexican Restaurant

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1108 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 218-4008
The traditional sweet, cinnamony sopapilla is a great ending to a Mexican meal in Bella Vista.

15. Modo Mio

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161 W Girard Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 203-8707
Where better than Chef Peter Andrews’ Italian cult favorite to get luscious, not-too-sickly-sweet tiramisu?

16. Desi Chaat House

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501 S 42nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 386-1999
Head to Baltimore Avenue for creamy mango lassi, lahori kheer rice pudding, and spongy gulab jamun.

17. Tashan

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777 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(267) 687-2170
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Kulfi, Indian ice cream, is a cardamom-spiced frozen dessert, not quite gelato, not quite ice cream. Tashan dishes it up in three flavors: mango, kesar-pistachio, and rose.

18. Kanella: Greek Cypriot Kitchen

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1001 Spruce St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-1773
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Kanella's homemade galatopoureko, fillo pastry filled with a light semolina custard and drizzled with hot orange-cinnamon syrup, is a standout.

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1. Bitar's

947 Federal St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
This Middle Eastern restaurant/grocery store has a giant dessert case bursting with fresh pastries from what’s called “fingers” - crushed cashews wrapped in fillo dough - to knafe, cheese pastry soaked in syrup and sprinkled with ground-up pistachios.
947 Federal St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

2. Bread Top House

1041 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
For authentic and affordable Chinese pastries, Chinatown’s Bread Top House is a solid bet. Fragrant sesame red bean balls and fluffy pineapple custard buns are favorites.
1041 Race St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

3. Mazza

1100 Jackson St, Philadelphia, Pa 19148
The baklava at South Philly's Mediterranean Mazza is gooeyer than average, literally dripping with honey.
1100 Jackson St
Philadelphia, Pa 19148

4. Baklava Cafe

627 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
This South Street spot’s thing is Mediterranean pastries, but it's not just baklava. Try the sesame pistachio cookies called barazik or the Lebanese maamoul, stuffed date-orange cookies.
627 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

5. Yummy Yummy

52 N 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Ridiculous name aside, this Chinatown eatery dishes up delicious egg-shaped Chinese waffles made to order, either original or green tea white chocolate.
52 N 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

6. Heung Fa Chun Sweet House

112 N 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Head here for authentic douhua, silky tofu pudding topped with ginger sugar and red bean.
112 N 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

7. Jamonera

105 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
The buneulos, Spanish donuts, are served doughy and warm with espresso dulce de leche, spiced chocolate ganache and sea salt.
105 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

8. Alma De Cuba

1623 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
The chocolate cigars get all the attention but the creamy vanilla flan - vanilla bean custard, candied cherry puree, and almond praline - is equally satisfying.
1623 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

9. Jamaican Jerk Hut

1436 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Conclude your island meal with traditional Jamaican Rum Cake infused with dark rum. Wash it down with Jamaican pineapple soda or carrot milk.
1436 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

10. Kamal's Middle Eastern Specialties

51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
It’s not just delicious spanakopita at this Reading Terminal stall. They’ve got several varieties of halvah and baklava, each better than the last.
51 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

11. Taqueria La Veracruzana

908 Washington Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147
The homemade flan and pastel tres leches at this Washington Ave taco shop are as tasty as the widely-applauded tacos al pastor.
908 Washington Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147

12. Isgro Pastries

1009 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
They’re Marc Vetri’s favorite cannoli for a reason. The shells are crisp, the ricotta strikes the perfect balance between sweet and savory - and their URL is bestcannoli.com.
1009 Christian St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

13. Koo Zee Doo

614 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Don’t leave without trying the bolo de bolacha, a cake composed of stacked coffee-soaked wafers with buttercream and a tangy fruit compote.
614 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

14. Moctezuma Mexican Restaurant

1108 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
The traditional sweet, cinnamony sopapilla is a great ending to a Mexican meal in Bella Vista.
1108 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

15. Modo Mio

161 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Where better than Chef Peter Andrews’ Italian cult favorite to get luscious, not-too-sickly-sweet tiramisu?
161 W Girard Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19123

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16. Desi Chaat House

501 S 42nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Head to Baltimore Avenue for creamy mango lassi, lahori kheer rice pudding, and spongy gulab jamun.
501 S 42nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

17. Tashan

777 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Kulfi, Indian ice cream, is a cardamom-spiced frozen dessert, not quite gelato, not quite ice cream. Tashan dishes it up in three flavors: mango, kesar-pistachio, and rose.
777 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

18. Kanella: Greek Cypriot Kitchen

1001 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Kanella's homemade galatopoureko, fillo pastry filled with a light semolina custard and drizzled with hot orange-cinnamon syrup, is a standout.
1001 Spruce St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Related Maps