If you don’t hail from the great state of New Jersey, it may sound like New York’s ugly little sister. It’s not. Fun fact: We’re the most densely populated state. Aside from our Insta-worthy views of the Hudson and miles of killer beaches, we’re the stomping grounds of some of the coolest people out there — Meryl Streep, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, and Chelsea Handler. Basically, whether they know it or not, everyone wants to live here. And when we leave? We’re counting down the days until we’re back in the 908 (or the 973, 201, or 732).
The real reason Jersey pride runs so strong is our food. Seriously, people get more excited about coming home for the bagels than to see their families. And diner runs? Don’t get me started. Jersey food is a prime reason to come home by itself. Here’s why:
If you haven’t been down the shore, you’re missing out on not only some of the best entertainment, but some of the best food. Sugar-topped everything, soft-serve, fried Oreos, pizza, and the world’s best salt water taffy are just the start of our boardwalk gems. If you haven’t had brunch at Turning Point or custard at Kohrs, have you really lived?
Subs (Not Hoagies)
The sub is a staple in any New Jersey sandwich diet. No, I’m not referring to the Subway wannabe, but the real, Italian-deli deal. It was never a true party without a sub platter from your town’s deli. Jersey Mike’s? That’s us.
If you’re a South Jersey native, Wawa is your go-to. If you hail from North Jersey, Wawa made every trip down to South Jersey more than worth it. Hoagiefest, $1 coffee day,and f’real milkshakes are life. Changing. For f’reaking real.
Shoutout to the Italian Americans reppin’ NJ because your pizza is UNREAL. Which genius created french fry pizza, buffalo chicken pizza, pasta pizza, and greek salad pizza? Whoever you are, you have made the world a better place.
Fresh Fruit And Vegetables
We’re not called the Garden State for nothing. Seriously. New Jersey sweet corn, tomatoes, peaches, apples, and blueberries balance out the uncanny amount of pizza we eat. They also make waking up on Sunday mornings so worth it. Farmers markets? Yes, please.
I didn’t even understand that having five different coffee shops within a mile of one another wasn’t normal until I left for college. We really like our caffeine, and we like getting it fast. If that means having more coffee shops than actual stores, so be it.
Cheese Fries/Disco Fries
For those of you who are Jersey outsiders, disco fries are cheese fries with gravy. Try them. You won’t be sorry.
Taylor Ham/Pork Roll
The greatest of NJ debates is over the gloriousness of the Taylor Ham/Pork Roll sandwich. It’s Taylor Ham, if you’re repping the north, or Pork Roll, if you’re from the south, but it’s practically the New Jersey state sandwich no matter what it’s called.
Diner Food. All of it.
Diners are another gem of Jersey that we don’t appreciate until college. Unlike most other states, our diners are actually open 24/7. Nothing tastes better than a 2 am dinner run. Nothing.
New Jersey bagels are the king of the carbs, or of all foods ever. Whether you eat them plain, buttered, or with cream cheese and lox, you’re doing yourself a favor.