Philly Cheesesteak Under the Fluorescent Light

A few weekends ago, Duy and I traveled to Philadelphia for a shoot with our new friend Sara. Philly has been one of my favorite U.S. cities since my first trip along the East Coast 8 years ago. The city was one of my first interactions with American culture and American youth, so it had a special place in my heart.


We got into the city late at night with an almost empty stomach. I opened Yelp and found a nearest place that was still open. After a few minutes, we settled on a place called Little Sicily with a description "Traditional America, Pizza, Indian."

Little Sicily in Philly was a hybrid of American pizza shop and gas station convenience store located in a strip mall. The place smelled like Indian spice shop. Young South Asian men sat in groups, loudly cheered in a foreign language while impatiently waiting for their food. Next to our table, middle aged white American men chugged on Bud Lights, glueing their eyes to the unfinished baseball match on TV.

We felt a little bit uneasy and decided to go with our "Fuck it. Let's just eat." Duy got us two spicy chicken sandwich and masala fries. As weird as Little Sicily appeared to be, their food was delicious. The spicy chicken sandwich was basically a Philly cheesesteak with curry chicken. I'd eaten a lot of weird interesting food up until that point of my life; but it never struck me that Indian curry and cheese could taste so amazing together under the fluorescent light. Diversity is such a beautiful thing, it'd be a shame if everyone built a wall to keep it far away. 


This visit to Philly reconfirmed my love for this city as I stopped and gasped at every single city block we walked by. The warm hospitality of our host, the romantic cobble stone streets, and the killer Vietnamese food scene were extra nice bonus to our mini trip. In a way, I think this city sort of loves me too. On the morning of my shoot with Sara, the rain was pouring. Hard. As if it would not stop for days. I melted in bed while texting Sara, not knowing what to do. In about an hour, the rain stopped, the sun slowly came out, and we had a great time. So great that Duy and I are already itching to go back. In the meantime, I hope you'll like what Sara and I worked on that magical morning.