A prominent national food site has named a New Jersey town one of the country’s next great food cities. But to anyone paying attention to food in the Garden State in the past decade, there’s nothing “next” about it.
Food and Wine recently wrote a list of the 11 next great food cities. Jersey City, arguably the center of the New Jersey food scene, made the cut.
Jersey City’s huge Asian and Indian population makes up a quarter of its residents (one of the highest percentages in the country), and the food scene showcases a medley of delicious cuisines. First-generation Filipino American families go grocery shopping for bags of warm, fluffy pandesal—a common bread roll in the Philippines—or mocha-flavored cake layered with caramel from the Philippine Bread House and stock up on ensaymada, a rich brioche pastry layered with cheese and butter, at Red Ribbon Bakeshop. The hub of the South Asian community, Newark Avenue, is dotted with Indian and Pakistani restaurants. You can’t go wrong here, but one local favorite is Rasoi, a 25-year-old restaurant known for its rich and spicy Punjabi fare. Also on this eat street is the Freetown Road Project, a restaurant from hometown hero chef Claude Lewis. The Chopped champion ties his Antiguan and West Indian roots to his hometown through dishes that range from curry chicken, a luscious stew served with hot, fresh, flaky roti, to dense slabs of mango bread drizzled with mango jam that comes with whipped cayenne cream cheese for spreading.