I didn’t appreciate Japanese food until college. My roommate, a Japanese-American guy from Los Angeles who arrived with his own rice cooker, introduced me to Sushi, and to the classic food movie, Tampopo. If I’m remembering college correctly, I think he also perfected my chopsticks technique. Since then, I’ve eaten my fair share of spicy tuna rolls, Udon, and Gyoza. When I first visited Japan a few years ago, I glimpsed the incredible variety and complexity of Japanese cuisine, and enjoyed one of the best meals I’ve had anywhere – Omakase at a sushi stall in the Tokyo fish market (Tsukiji).
Here at home, there are plenty of sushi spots in the Garden State. The challenge is finding those that rise above the rest. So far, my favorite is Daimatsu in Mountainside.
The next wave of Japanese food in New Jersey are ramen stands, katsu shops and izakaya pubs. Bergen County, home to the largest Japanese-American population in the state, is the place to look for them. Fort Lee, with some 17,000 residents born in Japan, is a good place to start. Mitsuwa Marketplace and its food court in Edgewater is a Japanese food and grocery mecca worth the trip.
Did I miss your favorite Japanese? Share yours. I’ll add the most popular to the list, and to the map.