The 10 foods that say ‘New Jersey’
All summer, we’ve been talking about food. Diner food, boardwalk food, fast food, haute cuisine, and all of the culinary delights that are available here in the Garden State. So as a kind of summer wrap up, we decided to ask our listeners what foods mean New Jersey to them. The one food that comes into your mind when you think of New Jersey.
This is tough, because anyone who has visited here can tell you that we have more great food packed into our various diverse neighborhoods than any other state in the country. So when you think of New Jersey what food do you most associate with it? Here’s what our listeners answered.
Grilled cheese, tomato and rye
For many people, diner food is the only thing that really represents New Jersey, and grilled cheese being the quintessential diner food, this truly says New Jersey.
This VERY Jersey concoction of a hotdog with onions, peppers, fried potatoes, ketchup and mustard is NOT very Italian at all, but that apparently doesn’t matter to the people who are obsessed with it!!! Probably only found in the garden state, you only need to try it once to become a devotée.
The ubiquitous eggplant, king of all Italian dishes, is proudly grown in New Jersey and we grow them the best.
From the beginning of time, or at least from the beginning of boardwalks, caramel popcorn was synonymous with the salty air, the sun, and the family environment that the Jersey shore has to offer. No one cares the the hot sun does a number on the sticky caramel... in fact, the stickier the better!
It’s not that there aren’t sub/hoagie chains all over the country in random states, but the difference in a New Jersey sandwich is clear. It is an absolute staple of the New Jersey diet, uniquely dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, oil and vinegar and all manner of meats. It’s probably our good bread that makes the difference, but no one leaves New Jersey without trying one.
I’ve never had one but our listeners tell me that the nation’s best Cuban sandwiches can only be found here. A sort of poor man’s Panini, they’ve been highlighted on the Food Network and their virtues are plenty. For the uninitiated, a Cuban sandwich is ham, pork, pickle, cheese, mojo marinade and pressed bread.
New Jersey has elevated crabcakes to an art form and, because of our great affinity for seafood, it’s no surprise that they can be found up and down the Jersey shore at boardwalks as well as fine restaurants.
Again, a uniquely New Jersey food, difficult to find in almost any other state, disco fries apparently were born in New Jersey diners. A simple combination of mozzarella cheese topped fries with a generous ladle of brown gravy over it, this dish always leaves New Jerseyans swooning.
Taylor Ham/Pork Roll
I don’t really care what it’s called and I don’t think anyone else does either. The nomenclature debate notwithstanding, this meat, egg and cheese on a hard roll delight has New Jersey written all over it.
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