If you grew up in New Jersey, but go to school in another state, it’s pretty safe to say that you get mocked for a couple of things: Snooki, our accents, our governor. But we know we’ve got the last laugh, especially when it comes to food. Check out these foods that you know you can always get when you come home, but your friends will never know the satisfaction.
I mean, technically, you can find pizza just about anywhere. But I live in a town where there is a pizzeria on every block and all of them are family-owned. Their food is so much better than the ones in the chains you see everywhere.
I know New York thinks its bagels are great and all, but they’ve got nothing on NJ bagels. If I want a great, plain bagel, I head to Sam’s Bagel and Deli in West Caldwell. If I want something more adventurous, I head to The Bagel Nook in Freehold for an Oreo bagel. I mean, where else can you find one of those?
3. Diner Food at 3 am
College students have pretty weird sleeping schedules so we’re usually up at 3 am anyways. I remember after a study session one night, I suggested that we head to a diner to grab a bite. While they looked at me like I was crazy, I was shocked to learn that most places don’t have 24 diners. I guess I’ll just have to wait until I’m home to get my milkshake and fries during my next all-nighter.
4. Chinese Food
Okay, so I live right next to Chinatown in Boston. So yes, I can get authentic Chinese food all the time. I’ve discovered, though, that a lot of the Chinese food that I grew up with is not considered authentic. Still, I really miss my sesame chicken.
5. Hot Dogs
I’m not a big hot dog eater, but that doesn’t prevent me from getting one every time I visit Rutt’s Hut in Clifton or Windmill Hot Dogs all over the shore. These places are where are parents and their parents went as kids and now we get together to get those famous hot dogs.
6. Italian Hot Dogs
There were two meals we would make when we went over to my grandma’s house: potatoes and eggs or Italian hot dogs. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a hot dog (or two) placed in an Italian roll with potatoes, onions, and bell peppers. But, trust me, a New Jerseyan would know what it is.
7. Ice Cream
Every summer growing up, my family would go to the Jersey Shore for one week. On the last day, we’d always get Kohr’s. I cannot think of a better or happier thing than walking along the beach with a chocolate and peanut butter ice cream cone covered in hard chocolate.
8. Salt Water Taffy
You can thank the boardwalks in Atlantic City for created this sweet and salty treat. Nothing ends a day at the beach better than taking home a bag of salt water taffy.
9. Fat Sandwiches
Fat sandwiches were originally created by RU Hungry? at Rutgers University and they started popping up in places all over New Jersey. Sometimes you just want to go a little crazy with your meal and the best way to do that is to grab a fat sandwich, complete with chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo…and that’s one of the lighter options.
10. Italian Ice
Philly may call it water ice (what’s up with that, Philly?) but, to us, it’s Italian ice and it’s a go-to on a hot summer day. We can get it at the beach or parks or zoos, but we can actually pretty much get it anywhere in NJ.
11. Taylor Ham (or Pork Roll)
This is one of the great NJ debates: Taylor Ham or pork roll? As a northern New Jerseyan, I say Taylor Ham. But no matter how you say it, it’s sold almost exclusively in the Tri-State area. I’ve tried looking in Boston and it just doesn’t exist.
New Jersey was once the Garden State. Where I’m from, it was almost all farmland less than twenty years ago. There are no farms left in my town, but there are still some up and down NJ and the best thing that they make is always tomatoes. There’s nothing better than just biting into a fresh NJ tomato.