One of my classes was cancelled earlier this week so I decided to take the extra time to walk over to 38th and Walnut, where many food trucks are located. There were a lot to choose from, but at the end I went with Hanan House of Pita.
The line for Hanan was non-existent, which made me a little skeptical. It was 12:15PM, where were all the hungry undergrads? Then I remembered that Penn students are all inside, taking their finals. And I tried not to be bitter about the fact that I’m not even done with my midterms. Anyway, I spent a few minutes looking at the menu which is extremely extensive. There were probably over thirty options, the majority of which were combinations of chicken, baba ghanoush, feta cheese, grape leaves, falafel, shawarma and other Middle Eastern dishes; and everything was between $4 and $7. I was curious about the grape leaves and was about to ask for her recommendation when one of the two ladies running the truck looked at me a little irritatedly and asked for my order. Flustered, I asked for a Shawarma Platter ($5.50). There were no other customers (except for a man who came to pick up an order) so I didn’t really see why she was so impatient. However, almost all of the reviews I’ve read online about Hanan mentioned how friendly the ladies were, so maybe it was just an off day.
The Shawarma Platter–hummus, tabbouleh, lamb gyro, yellow rice, lentil-and-rice and a pita–was done in five minutes. I wasn’t amazed by it at first, but I did notice how fresh and authentic everything tasted. The hummus tasted a little bland, but it was definitely homemade–not like the store-bought kind that I’m so used to; which is probably why I found it a little tasteless. The tabbouleh–a Lebanese salad with parsley, mint, cucumbers, tomatoes and bulgur wheat–was a bit of an acquired taste. However, I was impressed by how fresh all the ingredients were. The lamb and two kinds of rice were the best part of the dish, and the hot sauce added a little kick without completely diluting the flavors of the meat and rice.
Overall, the portion size was quite decent. Even though everything was so light, I still felt full after only eating half of it. It was definitely different from most food truck experiences I’ve had, since I’m so used to greasy dishes smothered with tons of hot sauce. Hanan’s food was filling and definitely much healthier than most, and I thought the price was very reasonable. I don’t know if I would make the trip just for their food, but if I happened to be in the area I wouldn’t be opposed to stopping by. Maybe I’ll try the grape leaves next time!