Jersey-Style Barbecue

October 4, 2013
Wall @ Tipico BBQ - Orange, NJ

Tipico BBQ – Orange, NJ

New Jersey is not known as a barbecue destination. Garden State BBQ spots serve up some very good renditions of the classic American styles, and this weekend Atlantic City becomes an official stop on the USA Barbecue Championship circuit, but there is no recognized “Jersey” kind of barbecue. That’s true, but barbecue is alive and well in our state’s ethnic communities. Ethnic barbecue is one of New Jersey’s best-kept secrets. (more…)

New Jersey’s Inca Food Trail

July 25, 2013

The hike to reach the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu is an arduous five-day trek along Peru’s Urubamba River. New Jersey’s Inca Food Trail starts along the Passaic and winds through six North Jersey counties. You can navigate Jersey’s Peruvian food route (by car) in just a few hours, depending on how long you linger over the heaping plates of food. You are unlikely to glimpse magnificent Andean cloud forests or the ruins of any 15th-century civilizations, but you will enjoy wonderful food.


The Many Flavors of Desi Jersey

May 1, 2013

Indian food is fairly easy to find across New Jersey these days. Most Indian restaurants serve familiar dishes, the curries, kebabs and flatbreads originating in North Indian regions, like the Punjab. It takes a little more work, however, to find India’s other regional specialties, the South Indian dosas, Gujarati dhoklas and Indo-Chinese chili chicken Hakka style sought out by Indian-Americans. (more…)

Monmouth County Mexican

March 1, 2013

Authentic Mexican restaurants are sprouting up all over the Garden State, many in unexpected places. More than 200,000 New Jersey residents claimed Mexican ancestry in the 2010 Census, the second-largest Hispanic ethnic group after Puerto Rican. Ten percent of them live in Monmouth County. And two towns, in particular, have become enclaves for outstanding Mexican cuisine. (more…)

EthnicNJ’s Top Ten Meals of 2012

December 31, 2012

Keeping tabs on New Jersey’s best ethnic food is my excuse to sample all kinds of dishes across the Garden State. Like always, 2012 was an excellent year for ethnic eating in Jersey. (more…)

Stay Strong New Jersey!

November 1, 2012

The devastating impact of this week’s historic storm is now apparent to all New Jerseyans, from Bergen to Cape May, from Trenton to Point Pleasant. Many of us without power are just now catching glimpses of the images of destruction. I know that neighbors are helping neighbors. Everyone in Jersey will lift each other up, and many others will lend a hand.

Prayers for those lost, praise for first responders and strength to all. Storms pass. New Jersey will recover.

“Sandy, the aurora is rising behind us. This pier lights our carnival life forever.” – Bruce Springsteen

NJ Recovery Resources


FEMA disaster assistance: 1-800-621-3362. Find open shelters by texting SHELTER and a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA).

NJ Office of Emergency Management Alerts and Recovery Help and Advice.

To find a Red Cross shelter, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit:


American Red Cross.

The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, 732-918-2600.

FoodBank of South Jersey, 856-662-4884.

Community FoodBank of New Jersey, 908-355-FOOD.

Table to Table: Food donations from restaurants and professional food establishments in Bergen, Passaic, Hudson and Essex counties, 201-444-5500 or 201-887-7839.

Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund set up by Governor Chris Christie and First Lady Mary Pat Christie.

Immediate Supplies for NJ EMS and FIRE Departments affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Jersey Cares. Coordinating volunteer opportunities.

Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund.

Robin Hood Relief Fund – Recipient of funds raised through the 12 12 12 Concert for Sandy Relief.


PSE&G: 1-800-436-7734, @PSEGdelivers

JCP&L: 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) or 1-800-545-7738, @JCP_L

AC Electric: 1-800-833-7476, @ACElecConnect

Rockland Electric Company: 1-877-434-4100, @ORUConnect

Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative: 1-877-504-6463

Vineland Municipal Utilities: 1-856-794-4280

Find New Jersey’s Best Ethnic Food Here

August 30, 2012 has a new look!

Check out the new logo, design and features that make it easier to find the best ethnic food in New Jersey. Filter the EthnicNJ map by cuisine, by county, or just show the best food close by. With over 700 restaurants serving some fifty different cuisines, EthnicNJ has all the information you need to find and eat New Jersey’s best ethnic food.

Here you will find:

Along with a map to get you there, a review if EthnicNJ has visited, and links to the information we found helpful.

In the two years since EthnicNJ launched, our readership has grown dramatically. Thank you to everyone who has visited, contributed and commented, helping us find and map hundreds of New Jersey’s best ethnic restaurants. Keep the tips coming. If there’s an ethnic gem in your neighborhood, let us know about it.

Thanks for visiting EthnicNJ.

Downtown Jersey City: An Ethnic Food Photo Tour

May 16, 2012

Christopher Columbus Drive – Jersey City

There are spots in Jersey where the local food scene is so incredibly diverse it makes you appreciate living here even more. One of these Garden State ethnic food oases is Downtown Jersey City. Walk fifteen minutes in any direction from the Grove Street Path Station and you’ll see dozens of restaurants, which isn’t so unusual for a city of almost 250,000 people, but the number of different cuisines and quality of the food you can find certainly is. (more…)

An Ethnic Food Tour of Paterson, NJ

February 14, 2012

The Paterson Farmers Market

New Jersey’s third largest city –  founded in 1792 by Alexander Hamilton, birthplace of comedian Lou Costello, inspiration for poet William Carlos Williams, and high school stomping grounds of NJ Giants’ star Victor Cruz – has always been a city of immigrants. Irish, Germans and Jews since the 1800s; Italians and Eastern Europeans since the early 1900s; Syrians, Lebanese, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Central and South Americans, Africans and South Asians in the decades since; all call the Silk City home.

In other words, Paterson is New Jersey in a nutshell: lots of different people living close together; perfect conditions for really good food. With some of the Garden State’s largest Peruvian, Dominican, and Turkish populations , you can find a different ethnic restaurant on practically every corner. (more…)

Finding the Best Ethnic Restaurants

January 2, 2011

I’ve noticed a few things scouring the state for New Jersey’s best ethnic food. No matter the cuisine, the best ethnic restaurants tend to share some common features. Here are 10 things to look for:

Las Banderas – Summit, NJ

1.  A wall mural

After gazing at Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano on the wall of The Banderas in Summit, NJ, contemplating Macchu Picchu at Misty’s in West Orange, and avoiding Pancho Villa’s stare at El Rancho in Orange, it dawned on me that floor to ceiling, hand-painted murals are a reliable sign of good ethnic food, especially Latin American food.

2.  Large families

Large groups with grandparents and young children are always a good sign at an ethnic restaurant. If you bring the whole family, the food must be good.

Sunny Palace – East Brunswick, NJ

3.  A fish tank

Without fail, my favorite Asian restaurants feature impressive fish tanks. I’m not sure why, but it’s a good sign for good food.

4.  A foreign language

A no-brainer, but authentic ethnic food usually means owners, chefs, servers and many customers speak the language. If no one at your favorite Szechuan spot understands Mandarin, you’re probably not eating the best Dan Dan Noodles. If the chef speaks Spanish and the family at the next table is speaking Spanish, you’re off to a good start for Peruvian food. If all you hear is English, hopefully there’s a foreign language on the menu. Not speaking the language can make ordering an adventure, but isn’t that part of the fun?

Chengdu 1 – Cedar Grove, NJ

5.  Strange things on the menu

If there are things on the menu you never thought you’d eat, you’re usually in for a treat. Go ahead, order the tripe, or the pig’s feet, or the  jellyfish. You’ll be glad you did.

6.  Television

Whether it’s a Filipino game show, Mexican telenovelas, or a European football match, there’s often a TV on at the best ethnic restaurants. A community gathering place means good food.

Try the Hot Sauce!

7.  Mysterious condiments

Mexican “salsa” outsells ketchup, mustard and mayo in the United States, but our taste for sauces is incredibly narrow compared to the world’s cuisines. Put a squirt of Sriracha on your fried rice, add some piri piri to your shrimp, or spoon on some of that unnamed mixture from the glass jar in the middle of the table. If you like the food, try the sauce.

8.  Owners who talk to customers

The best ethnic restaurants are family-owned. If the food is good, the owner, who might also be the chef, will work the dining room with pride.

9.  A strip mall location

New Jersey’s best ethnic restaurants are found all over – in downtown storefronts and in residential neighborhoods, but nothing signals good, cheap ethnic eats more than a highway strip mall location. You might drive right by Jimmy Buff’s (Route 10) or Abhiruchi (Route 27) without noticing them, but ethnic food fans know where they are.

Jimmy Buff’s – East Hanover, NJ

10.  A New Jersey address

If you’re eating the best food you’ve ever tasted, you’re probably at an ethnic restaurant in New Jersey. How do you find New Jersey’s best ethnic food? Use the map at, of course.