Southeast Asian Market continues to cultivate culinary and cultural exchanges

The market in FDR Park serves up unique treats through October 29.

The Southeast Asian Market has returned once again to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Park at Broad and Pattison Streets. Known for its culinary offerings, market vendors also offers plants, jewelry, and clothing. Thousands of of South Philadelphians have embraced the market since its inception in the 1980s. Now, the market is increasingly drawing residents from across the city—and beyond.

The market fuses the culinary, horticultural, and design talents of 74 diverse vendors including Cambodian, Indonesian, Laotian, Thai, and Vietnamese refugees and immigrants. Hungry visitors can purchase a wide array of tasty options ranging from sticky rice, fried noodles, wings, chicken and beef sticks to spring and shrimp rolls, fried bananas, banh mi, and sugarcane juice. Check out this map and list of the 2023 vendors.

Vendors operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday through October 29. Eagles games close the market on some Sundays.

Due to park construction, the market takes place through June near the park’s Broad Street ramp exit. After June through October it moves to an area near the Taney baseball fields deeper in the park. View a map of the market and parking locations.

While food dominates the scene at the market, those interested in purchasing Asian-inspired garments will find a new favorite option.

Given her Senegalese background and residence in ethnically diverse University City, Khadiya Diouf appreciates any opportunity to broaden her knowledge of the world. On Mother’s Day, she and boyfriend Dominic Carroll expanded their minds and satisfied their senses at the market. 

“It’s a great environment that, because of the different people here, gives us chances to become better people,” Diouf said to a nod from her partner, a Northeast Philly resident. “I think it’s an honor to have a chance to come here.” 

Local vendors are enthusiastic about the market as well. “We like being here very much,” Bee Sopha said as his wife, Josie Khamyotha, interacted with customers interested in their Thai desserts and Laotian papaya salad, among other offerings. “We enjoy having people taste our food and interact with the other sellers, too.” 

Josie Khampotha and husband Bee Sopha helm a successful stand that, along with desserts, offers Thai noodle soup.

Sopha and Khamyotha, whose YouTube channel includes looks at the couple’s presence in FDR Park, are familiar faces at the market, along with a host of others.

In 2021 the Vendors Association of FDR Park was formed. This partnership has worked with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia to improve and grow the market. The new FDR Park plans include a new space for the Southeast Asian Market.

Vendors at the Market. Credit: Philadelphia Parks & Recreation / Julian Moore.

As Diouf and Carroll made their way through the mid-afternoon crowd on Mother’s Day, the park burst with activity, leading the pair to commit to a considerable stay. “This is our second year coming here, and we enjoy the atmosphere,” said Diouf as she and Carroll eyed the selections from Melissa’s Kymer BBQ. “What’s not to like?”

“You’ll meet good people here,” Sopha said. “Everybody here works hard.” 

Some see that hard work paying off with the market becoming an even bigger draw. As quoted on the Market’s website, Catzie Vilayphonh, Southeast Asian Outreach Network Community Cultivator, said, “I hope that when people think about the Southeast Asian Market, that it becomes one of those landmarks – ‘I’m going to visit Philadelphia, I’m going to get a cheesesteak, I’m going to take a picture of the Rocky steps, and then I’m going to go to the Southeast Asian Market in FDR Park.’

Southeast Asian Market at FDR Park
Broad Street and Pattison Avenue

10 a.m.-6 p.m. – Saturdays and Sundays