20 Global Food Markets to Explore in New Jersey

Go global! The Garden State is rich in world cuisine–specific shops.

City Fresh Market in Union City carries foods from throughout Latin America. Photo by Laura Baer

The Jersey food scene is so vibrant and diverse that a comprehensive list of cuisine-specific markets would be overwhelming. The following list of 20 omits essential markets we’ve previously celebrated (Mitsuwa in Edgewater, Corrado’s in Clifton) in order to introduce you to lesser known places worth a visit.

MORE ON GLOBAL EATING:
The Ultimate Guide to Jersey’s Global Restaurant Scene
In Palisades Park, Korean Food is King

ASIAN

99 Ranch Market

Edison, Hackensack, Jersey City 

99 Ranch is part of the largest Asian supermarket chain in the United States. Its aisles turn up Japanese dorayaki (bean-paste-filled pancakes), Korean kimchi, Chinese black bean garlic sauce, Thai tom yum goong (spicy shrimp soup), Vietnamese pho ga (chicken-noodle soup) and Taiwanese pineapple cake. The same variety fills the produce aisles and the food court, where a shopper can try Chinese dim sum, Japanese ramen or Hong Kong-style barbecue. The chain, which started in California, is more than 30 years old and now comprises 50 stores, three in New Jersey.

Gold Valley Supermarket

Springfield

The mission is to provide fresh food at an affordable price “to the neighboring community, including the Korean, Filipino, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Caucasian, Spanish, Indian and others.” This mix coexists comfortably. Canned banana blossoms from Thailand sit beside Filipino jackfruit in syrup. Vietnamese instant rice noodles (pho ga and pho bo) snuggle up to Japanese udon and soba noodles. Coming upon the large selection of Latin Goya products is a bit jarring at first, but they too fit into the global mix.
211 Morris Avenue, 973-564-9092

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Asian Food Markets: Jersey City, Marlboro, North Plainfield, Piscataway, Plainsboro
  • Food Bazaar: Elizabeth, Fairview, North Bergen, Trenton, West New York
  • Kam Man Market: Edison, East Hanover

BRITISH

English Gardener Gift Shop

Haddonfield

The English Cook and Gardener Gift shop would be a more fitting name. Shelves are packed with packaged foods from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It’s a great place to stock up for your next Downton Abbey viewing party (the movie comes out in September). There are popular British teas like PG Tips and Ty-phoo, and upscale brands like Brodies and Taylors of Harrogate. No fresh-baked goods, but you can pick up ready-made pastries including crumpets, Eccles cakes, Bramley apple pies, Jaffa cakes, shortbreads, Welsh biscuits and mini Battenburg cakes, as well as mixes for making scones and soda bread and ingredients like Irish oats, golden syrup, Devon custard, marmalade and Maldonado sea salt. Savory selections include Marmite, mushy peas, piccalilli, chutney and porridge. Cheerio!
123 Kings Highway East, 856-354-5051

ALSO OF NOTE:

The Pie Store, Montclair

CARIBBEAN/WESINDIAN

Joe’s Market

Newark

Even without palm trees, the Caribbean vibe is strong, from exotic greens (callaloo, dasheen, sunchoy) to fresh, hard-to-find seafood (doctor fish, parrotfish, pompano, porgy, red mullet, goatfish) and many types of jerk seasoning. The store carries African and American products, too, but the reggae soundtrack and many Jamaican packaged food and drinks (St. Mary’s banana chips, Agony peanut punch, canned ackee in brine) make it clear where Joe’s heart lies.
1011 South Orange Avenue, 973-373-5215

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Ando West Indian Market, Jersey City
  • Caribbean Supermarket, Elizabeth
  • Original Kaneshie Market, Parlin
  • Tropical Sun, East Orange

CHINESE

Hong Kong Supermarket

East Brunswick

Walking down the soy sauce aisle here brings to mind the myth that the Inuit have 100 words for snow. In this soy sauce aisle, you’ll find black, thin, light, dark, sweet and aged sauces, including soy sauces for cooking, for seafood, and for glazing food. The market carries noodles, teas, seaweed and soups in many varieties. It also has a good selection of fresh and frozen fish, fresh meat and a large produce section. Download the Waygo app before shopping in this or any other Asian market; the app translates Chinese characters when you point your phone’s camera at them.
265 Route 18 South, 732-651-8288

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • East West Market, Bloomfield
  • New Harrison Supermarket, Harrison

EASTEREUROPEAN

Appetit Fine European Food

Cherry Hill

Appetit imports foods from countries such as Bulgaria, Albania, Russia and Romania. “Even things like instant coffee and tomato sauce taste different than the American versions,” explains Viktor Levashki, a Bulgarian immigrant who owns the store with his wife. He points to displays of meats, cheeses, olives, olive oils, jams, honey, chocolates and cookies. Juices like birch and pumpkin sit alongside bottles of Fanta, which Appetit carries in flavors generally unavailable here, such as the lemon-and-elderflower Fanta Madness. Herring is a best seller, as are the many types of feta. “Try the desserts,” Levashki urges, pointing to a case of frozen cakes from Moldova and Ukraine. He explains that many are made with beet sugar rather than the cane sugar or corn syrup used in many domestic baked goods. “It’s a different sweetness,” he says. “Americans should try it!”
1614 Route 70 West, 856-324-0211

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Amira Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Fair Lawn
  • Broadway Food Palace, Fair Lawn
  • Ema International Foods, Clifton
  • Emporium International Food, Old Bridge

FILIPINO

Fiesta Oriental Food

Cherry Hill

The cuisine of the Philippines has been influenced by its colonizations by the Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Americans. Fiesta caters to a growing local Filipino population. “But our customers include Americans, Germans, Spanish and people of other nationalities, too,” says Alma Castro, who’s worked in the store since it opened 30 years ago. “The most popular foods we sell are things like soy sauce, fish sauce and vinegars,” she says, adding that “snack foods are also popular. Cookies and chips—things people miss from home.” Shelves hold many varieties of noodles and rice, canned fish and corned beef, and boxes of mixes for making favorites like bibingka (Filipino coconut cake) and puto (steamed rice cakes). The store brings in fresh-baked goods from northern Jersey, and also offers frozen fish, meat and sausages.
225 Haddonfield-Berlin Road, 856-429-0041

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Phil-Am, East Brunswick 
  • Fil-Am Mart, Edison
  • FilStop, Jersey City
  • Tropical Hut, Old Bridge and Somerdale

GERMAN

Swiss Pork Store

Fair Lawn

The two men—one German, one Swiss—who founded the store in 1950 were so worried about lingering anti-German sentiment that they decided to call the store Swiss. Still, the German heritage is unmistakable in the cases of smoked pork, sausages and various types of bratwurst. And, as the store’s slogan states, “We’re not just pork!” There’s rotkraut (pickled red cabbage), weinsauerkraut (pickled cabbage in wine), Bavarian-style sauerkraut, loaves of dense, dark breads, and boxes of cherry- and brandy-filled chocolates.
24-10 Fair Lawn Avenue, 201-797-9779

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Ehmer Quality Meats, Hillsdale
  • Forked River German Butcher Shop, Forked River
  • Kocher’s Market, Ridgefield
  • Union Pork Store, Union

GREEK

The Greek Store

Kenilworth

Although this store is almost 70 years old, it’s still younger than some of its recipes. “The koulourakia [butter cookie] recipe is over 150 years old; it was originally from Constantinople and was passed to us by a family friend,” says Lia Diamandas, granddaughter of the founder. The store-made spanakopita is another best seller. “We also make our own moussaka, pastitsio and baklava,” says Diamandas. Local Greek families shop here, but “we have an assortment of customers, especially as people travel more and become more aware of Greek food and how healthy the Mediterranean diet is,” she says. Diamantis points to another popular product: feta, aged and sold in small wooden barrels “like wine casks.” The store offers tastes of many of its goods—olives, breads and, yes, the koulourakia cookies.
612 Boulevard, 908-272-2550

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Local Greek, Princeton
  • Mediterranean Gourmet, Fort Lee

HUNGARIAN

Hungarian Meat Center

Passaic

The aroma of smoked meat and paprika makes a mouthwatering first impression when you enter this small shop full of hanging salamis and cases of smoked ham, smoked pork loin, smoked slab bacon and smoked salami. The Rozsa family has owned the store for two decades and prepares the meats using traditional Hungarian recipes and ingredients. There are traditional Hungarian sausages, including kolbasz, szalonna, hurka and blood hurka. In the refrigerator case, you’ll find goose lard and pickled cabbage. The shelves hold bags of paprika, walnuts, ground poppy seeds and and chestnut purée, a popular Hungarian treat served with whipped cream.
189 Parker Avenue, 973-473-1645

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Buday Meat Market, New Brunswick

INDIAN

Subzi Mandi

Iselin

At Subzi Mandi, produce is featured in a large, open space in the center of the store. Among familiar items, you’ll find fresh tamarind, aloe vera, jackfruit and banana flowers. Surrounding the produce area are large sacks of orange, white and yellow dal (dried lentils, peas or beans) and colorful cloth bags of rice. Spices such as chili powder, fennel, coriander and turmeric, so important in Indian cuisine, are offered not just in tiny tins, as in American markets, but in large bags up to 4 pounds. And they are very fresh. There are plenty of snack foods and freezer cases of samosas and kulfi.
1518 Oak Tree Road B, 732-603-0588 (branches in Parsippany and Piscataway)

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Narmada Indian Groceries, Clifton
  • Patel Brothers, multiple locations
  • Patidar Supermarket, Hillsborough
  • Star Bazaar, Lawrence and Somerset

KOREAN

HMart

Cherry Hill, Edison, Fort Lee, Leonia, Little Ferry, Paramus, Ridgefield

A trip to HMart makes for an instant immersion in Korean food, less familiar to many of us than Chinese or Japanese. Buy some sweet, nutty corn tea to steep at home. Sample kimchi made from radish, mustard greens or cucumbers, in addition to the familiar cabbage. Buy spicy gochujang pepper paste to add a touch of fire to your cooking. Experiment with vegetables such as burdock, knob celery, black kale, king oyster mushrooms, seafood mushrooms, ginkgo nuts and lotus root. Some of the fruits and sweets are beautifully packaged for gift giving. Consider giving that gift to yourself!

LATIAMERICAN

City Fresh Market

Union City

Choices in the produce section range from Dominican avocados and celery to Mexican chayote to Peruvian mangoes to other produce such as aloe vera leaves, fresh sugar cane, jicama, tomatillos, rambutan, cactus leaves, yucca, taro and sorrel. One aisle holds goods from Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Mexico. Another is devoted to products from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru and Colombia. There are cookies, coffees, spices, beans, pastas and sauces, packages of guava paste and cakes of brown sugar. Tropical climates know how to cool off deliciously, so check out the frozen Mexican paletas (Popsicles) in flavors like Mayan chocolate, rum raisin, pecan, mango and coconut.
518 32nd Street, 201-348-3660

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Cousin’s Supermarket, Camden
  • Kikos Supermarket, Fairview
  • La Placita Supermarket, Union City
  • Selecto Supermarket, Trenton

MIDDLEASTERN

Nouri Brothers

Paterson

A neon sign outside proclaims Hot Pita Bread. Inside, the aisles smell of exotic spices. This large market was opened over 40 years ago by Abed Noury and his brothers. Today, Abed is still an active manager, with lots of involvement from Christine and George, two of his five grown children. “The store started as a bakery—we’re still known for our pita, which we bake fresh daily—and then branched out into everything else,” says George. “It’s like one-stop shopping for our customers, who come from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Armenia, Palestine and other places. They can find the same things they’d find at home.” Those include dates, olives, pickles, beans, grape leaves, halvah, tahini and pastries. The store, which has a hot-food deli, recently added a brick-oven, sit-down café. “Everything is made here with our grandma’s recipes and our mother’s,” say the siblings. What’s their favorite? “Everything!”
999 Main Street, 973-279-2388

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Afandina Mediterranean Specialties, East Brunswick
  • Caspian Market, Ridgewood
  • Phoenician Market, North Brunswick
  • Sultan Food Bazaar, Parsippany

POLISH

Piast Meats and Provisions

Garfield, Maplewood

Kielbasa and pierogi are just the start. At the two Garfield stores, varieties of fresh meat, mostly pork, plus sausages, cured hams and lunch meats, as well as cheeses, fill the displays. All three stores have a takeout bar with hot prepared foods. “Provisions” encompass tins of cabbage soup, meat and sauerkraut stew, pickled vegetables, fruit juices, honey, jams and syrups. At the Garfield stores, the conversation is nearly all in Polish. Garfield has a large Polish community, but in a concession to English speakers, there’s a printed handout describing 16 varieties of pierogi and dumplings, with instructions on how to prepare them. As they say in Polish, “Zapraszamy!

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Bratek Deli, Garfield
  • Polish American Deli, Runnemede
  • Polonia Meat Market, Clifton

PORTUGUESE/BRAZILIAN

Seabra Foods

Harrison, Hillside, Kearny, Newark 

Newark’s Ironbound district is home to many markets specializing in Portuguese and Brazilian foods. Seabra Foods has its flagship supermarket there. In addition to what you’d find in an American supermarket, there are aisles devoted to the foods of Portugal, Brazil and other South American countries. Stacks of dried salt cod (bacalao) are piled on a table near the fresh fish counter. There are cases of traditional sausages such as linguiça, salchichón, alheira and farinheira. If you’d like to try making feijoada (Brazilian black bean stew), buying a specially bundled packet of the requisite meats—sausage, dried beef and smoked slab bacon—simplifies matters. Seabra also has a good selection of Portuguese baked goods such as pound cakes, sweet breads, and pastel de nata (egg-custard tarts).

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Brazilian Market, Long Branch
  • Emporium 112 Supermarket, Newark
  • Seabra’s Market (not related to Seabra Foods): Elizabeth, Newark, Union

RUSSIAN

Gourmanoff

Paramus

More gourmet than Gorbachev, this is a food market you can imagine Czar Nicholas and his family frequenting. There’s smoked fish (including smoked sea bass at $42 a pound) and an entire case of caviars. Take a break from pancakes to try the more delicate blini; from Coca-Cola to try kvas (a traditional fermented rye drink with less than 1 percent alcohol); and from regular salami to try Russian, Estonian, Karpatian or Old Kiev varieties. Dense, dark breads beckon from the in-house bakery. Or choose from a wide range of prepared foods (after all, the Czarina probably never cooked). Recently, a man stood at the bread display and, in accented English, asked his young daughter to request a Lithuanian loaf from the baker. “But Daddy,” she said plaintively, “I don’t know how to say it in Russian!” English will do.
221 Route 4 West, 201-308-6888

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Babushka’s Deli, Livingston 
  • Prime Food Markets, Livingston
  • Russian Store, Fair Lawn
  • Syberia, Fort Lee

SCOTTISH

Stewart’s Scottish Market

Kearny

In the late 1800s, several Scottish companies, including the Clark Thread Company of Paisley, opened factories in Kearny, and immigrants followed. Businesses sprang up to serve the displaced Scots. Stewart’s Scottish Market was not the first to open, but is one of the last standing. The store has been in the same family since it debuted in 1931, still turning out sausages, meat pies, pasties, blood pudding and potato scones. “We also do lots of mail orders, shipping to people all over the country,” says Mike Keefe, the manager, who adds that business is most brisk from Thanksgiving to Burns Night at the end of January, when many celebrate Scottish poet Robert Burns by eating haggis and other national foods. The store sells a variety of imported, packaged foods, including Scott’s Porage Oats (with a kilted Scottish shot putter on the box), Green’s Yorkshire pudding mix and Chivers blackcurrant jam.
338 Kearny Avenue, 201-991-1436

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Cameron’s Scottish Food, Brick

TURKISH

Istanbul Food Bazaar

Clifton

Housed in what was once the Henry Doherty Silk Company, this large market stocks halal meat, fresh fish, cheese, poultry, dairy and packaged goods from Turkey and elsewhere in the region. The selection of olives alone is as big as most salad bars. Turkish delight comes in flavors including rose petal, pistachio, pomegranate, fig and walnut. Dried dates start with the familiar medjool and move on to mabroom, safawi, sagai and sukkari. The bakery features honey-soaked baklava and sugar-dusted almond cookies.
1500 Main Avenue, 973-955-2989

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Basci Mediterranean Food and Halal Meat Market, Fairview
  • Bereket Market Place, Monmouth Junction
  • Sahara 34 Arabic and Turkish Food, Matawan
  • Sultan Food Bazaar, Parsippany

WESAFRICAN

Makola African Market

Newark • 375 Lyons Avenue, 973-926-3919

At Makola Market, you shop to the lively beat of African music on the sound system. Named for a bustling outdoor market in Accra, the capital of Ghana, the store specializes in products from that country, as well as Liberia, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and other West African nations. Staples like oat flour, plantain flour, rice and pounded yam come in small packages all the way up to 100-pound sacks. The store sells meats popular in West Africa, including goat, tripe, oxtail, cow feet and cow skin. Packaged goods include popular African nonalcoholic beverages like ginger beer, Vita Malt and Maltina. Also an attraction: bolts of the bright, printed cloth Ghana is known for.

ALSO OF NOTE:

  • Ecowas Food Market, Newark
  • LizzyBoat African Market, Pennsauken
  • New Jersey African-Caribbean Market, Trenton
  • So It Is African Market, Stratford
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