One of the first places I ever dined at Penn was Houston Market. I knew it was a quick stop off for a ton of different types of food, but it took me about a semester to really dig into the various options presented there.
The first factor in my food choice depends on how much time you have. If you’re in a rush between classes, just picking up a yogurt parfait or fruit cup can be the fastest option for eating on-the-go. If you have a professor that doesn’t mind students eating in class, picking up one of the salads, wraps, or sandwiches that are available in the open refrigerated containers can be totally convenient. On the other hand, if I have time to sit down with friends and chat, ordering from The Grill is one of my personal favorites. A cheesesteak loaded up with lettuce, tomato, onions, and yellow peppers is a classic Philadelphian meal. It’s probably enough to fill two people up, although I usually find that I don’t need help finishing.
But the true gem of Houston Market, at least for me, is without a doubt Sushi-Do. They have rolls of sushi and various small plates available for grab-and-go out front, but I personally prefer the bowls. If you’re not a raw fish person, a mixed bowl or spicy bowl is great. I like to switch it up between white and brown rice. I find that white rice has a softer texture, but brown rice helps to avoid that post carb food coma since it digests more slowly in your stomach. Both bowls contain chicken, rice and a couple slices of cucumber. The main difference between a mixed bowl and spicy bowl is the sauce, since mixed contains teriyaki sauce in place of spicy mayo.
It might seem confusing as for how to order when there’s a huge crowd present but it’s not as bad as it looks. Just half raise your hand in the air until the person taking orders looks at you, then call out your order. It helps to keep it short (I.e if you want a spicy bowl with brown rice you can just say brown spicy). After a minute or two, someone will walk up with a stack of bowls and call our each order. Even though I usually keep it to the tried and true spicy bowl, there’s a ton of different options with salmon, avocado, veggies etc. If I see someone with a bowl that looks good, it’s easy to just ask them and order the same thing. Even though it always seems like people are rushing in and out of Houston, some days I’ll just sit down with friends and study there (stopping every once in a while for snacks, of course)
-Daniel K, C'21