Cuisine of New Jersey

The cuisine of New Jersey is derived from the long history of immigrants[1] to the state and its close proximity to New York City and Philadelphia. The state of New Jersey is known for its commercial food and industrial production, with the founding of Campbell's Soup in 1869.[2] Campbell's Soup is currently headquartered in Camden, New Jersey.[2] Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, operates a state of the art and sustainable corporate headquarters in Jersey City, New Jersey as part of a $500 million global expansion plan.[3] Restaurants make use of locally grown ingredients such as asparagus, blueberries, cranberries, tomatoes, corn, and peaches.[4] The state is the nation's third largest producer of bell peppers, cranberries, and spinach.[5] With a passionate fast food culture, Italian subs, (hoagies in South Jersey), are an icon.[6] New Jersey is home to approximately 525 diners. Disco fries are a long-standing tradition at New Jersey diners.[7] M&M candy has been produced in Hackettstown since 1958 and the Mars company has been headquartered in New Jersey for over 75 years.[8] Food writer, influencer, and chef Anthony Bourdain was raised in Leonia, New Jersey.[9] He often profiles New Jersey restaurants on his multiple television shows.[10] Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey is the setting for TLC's reality television series, Cake Boss.[11]


Due to its position between New York City and Philadelphia, many towns in New Jersey are bedroom communities of one or the other. As a result, the signature foods of both cities are very popular in their corresponding suburbs pizza, bagels, pastrami, and submarine sandwiches (sometimes called heroes) in the New York Metropolitan Area communities of Northern and Central Jersey, and hoagies (the Philadelphia term for the aforementioned submarine sandwich), cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, water ices, and scrapple in the Philadelphia Area towns of South Jersey. Several of these regional dishes have achieved popularity statewide. Irish potatoes are a familiar South Jersey treat as well.

There are a number of foods which are especially prominent in or unique to the Garden State. North Jersey is renowned as a hot dog stronghold, with several variants that have their roots in its cities. The ripper is perhaps the most famous type of hot dog that is native to New Jersey. It is deep-fried in oil until the casing bursts, or "rips", and might be best exemplified at Rutt's Hut, a longtime hot dog eatery in Clifton, New Jersey. Texas wieners are another type of hot dog in the state. They are either grilled or deep-fried and served with spicy brown mustard, chopped onions, and a thin meat sauce similar to chili. Wieners ordered "all the way" are dressed with all three condiments. Interestingly, the Texas wiener was independently created in two different locations Paterson, New Jersey and Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Another type of hot dog indigenous to North Jersey is the Italian hot dog, which originated at Jimmy Buff's in Newark in 1932 and is one of the foods most synonymous with North Jersey's Italian-American culture, especially in Essex County. The Italian hot dog is prepared by slicing a roll of round pizza bread in half (for a double order) or into quarters (for a single order), digging a pocket into it, and then spreading mustard along the inside of the roll. A deep-fried dog (two for a double order) is stuffed into the pocket, topped by fried or sauteed onions and peppers, and then followed by deep-fried potatoes that have been thinly sliced into discs or thickly-cut into chunks and drizzled with ketchup. Italian sausages can be substituted for the hot dogs and, as with their counterpart, are ordered as a single or double order.

Trenton, located near the boundary of Central and South Jersey, is known for two foods in particular: tomato pie and pork roll. In Trenton, tomato pie is basically an interchangeable term for pizza, albeit with a subtle difference: While traditional pizzas are prepared by placing the cheese and toppings on top of the sauce and dough, tomato pies are made by laying the cheese directly on top of the dough, then adding the toppings, and finally spreading the sauce atop the mix.[12] This creates a more tomato-intensive taste for the thin-crust pie.

Cuban cuisine has also had an impact in New Jersey (especially in the Hudson County area). Typical Cuban food includes: Christianos y Moros (also known as arroz Moros/rice and black beans), lechon, the Cuban sandwich, arroz salteado and dulce de leche.

Pork roll is a sausage-like pork product developed by John Taylor of Trenton in the late 19th century and has become a popular breakfast and sandwich meat throughout the Garden State. In South Jersey, it is often referred to as a pork roll due to the "roll" or tube-like sack in which it is traditionally packaged, while in Northern New Jersey it is usually called Taylor ham. The meat is generally eaten sliced and grilled like Canadian bacon, but is also known to be fried.

Salt water taffy is a soft taffy originally produced and marketed in the South Jersey resort city of Atlantic City beginning in the late 19th century, and is a staple candy and souvenir item of the Jersey Shore boardwalk. It is widely sold throughout beachfront areas of the United States and Canada.

In addition to its local foods, New Jersey boasts a plethora of ethnic cuisines due to its large immigrant population. Some of the more prominent examples include Indian, Brazilian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Italian, Polish, and Greek food.

New Jersey is renowned for its multitude of diners, many of which are open around the clock. A large number of them are owned or were founded by Greeks and offer Greek dishes in addition to standard diner fare. New Jersey has more diners per capita than any other state in the U.S.

The Grease Trucks of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey have also been made famous by mentions in USA Today, and by Maxim Magazine naming the "Fat Darrell", the top sandwich in the nation.[13] [14] summarizes New Jersey cooking from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans to the present.



  2. 1 2
  4. Caparulo 2003, pp. xiii.
  12. correspondent (2005-01-24). "In Trenton, it's called "tomato pie," not pizza. Although the terms are interchangeable, there is a body of myth and lore attempting to distinguish tomato pie from pizza. The generally accepted explanation is that a tomato pie is built as follows: dough, cheese, toppings, and then sauce". Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  13. ",2933,129425,00.html". 2004-08-19. Retrieved 2013-11-25. External link in |title= (help)
  14. Lynne Olver. "history of New Jersey cooking". Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  15. Genovese 2007, pp. 72-73.
  16. Sullivan, S.P. (May 30, 2014). "Jersey's Mason-Dixon line: Mapping the Taylor Ham vs. pork roll divide". Retrieved 2014-05-31.
  18. 1 2 Genovese 2007, pp. xiii.
  19. "60 Things Worth Shortening Your Life For". 'Esquire Magazine. 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2008-03-03.


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