Iselin, NJ 08830
- Cost: $
- Alcohol: None
March 14, 2013
(Update: Jassi has moved from 12 Marconi Avenue to 1404 Oak Tree Road)
More than just tasty sweets behind the counter, try the savory chaats, and do not leave without a cup of freshly-pressed sugar cane juice.
Oak Tree Road is the heart of Middlesex County’s South Asian community. Just off the Iselin end of Oak Tree Road, in a shopping plaza facing Marconi Avenue, Jassi Sweets Center is a popular spot for Indian sweets and savory snacks.
I tried the excellent samosa chaat (fried samosa chunks served with yogurt and sweet and spicy chutneys) on a recent visit, but what drew my attention was the colorful dessert case filled with sweets, rivaling any well-stocked Italian bakery cookie counter. While ordering a few pieces of the homemade gulab jamun (milk dumplings soaked in rose flavored sugar syrup) to go, the proprietor, Jaswant Singh, offered everyone in the shop samples of sweet sesame seed balls, warm and fresh out of the oven. I asked what they were called. Apparently, there’s no specific name, it’s just a sweet he created. They are delicious – crumbly, but held together with moist, melted raw sugar. I ordered a small box to go. Two other customers insisted I not leave the shop without trying the freshly pressed sugar cane juice, which they consider the best on Oak Tree Road. At their suggestion, I ordered mine with a little added spice (masala). The result is a refreshing, not too sweet, cold drink with hints of ginger and spice, sort of a South Asian “Arnold Palmer” made with Chai.
There are a few tables next to the sweets counter and sugar cane stand if you want to sit down to enjoy your treats. Jassi Sweets Center is the perfect place to start any South Asian food tour of Oak Tree Road.