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Snapper soup

A bowl of snapper soup from the Oyster House in Philadelphia.

What: Much like the turtle soup of New Orleans, Philly’s snapper soup is dark, thick, and complexly flavored, made with the meat of the snapping turtle (not to be confused with “red snapper soup”!) and finished tableside with sherry to taste. It became famous in the area largely thanks to the long-running, now-defunct Philly restaurant Old Original Bookbinder’s, which today exists only as a foods division and still sells its snapper soup in a can. We recommend you try it fresh in town instead.

Where: The Oyster House (1516 Sansom St., map) does a meaty snapper soup in bright, modern surrounds.

When: Mon-Thurs, 11:30am-11pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30am-11pm

Order: The snapper soup ($7), which is loaded with turtle meat, chopped carrots and celery, and bits of hard-boiled egg; sherry is served on the side. Also try the raw oysters here, and perhaps that other (surprising) Philly classic, fried oysters and chicken salad.

Alternatively: Old-school Snockey’s Oyster and Crab House (1020 South 2nd St.; map) also serves snapper soup, by the cup or bowl.


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