Overlooking the Hudson River–Mistuwa Marketplace is New Jersey’s very own indoor Japan-town. With over thirty restaurants on the left side of the complex, and a massive grocery store to the right–Mitsuwa is one of the largest Japanese marketplaces in the United States, and is the only place you’ll find Santouka ramen on the East Coast (with one other U.S. location in Hawaii, and six in California). My last few road trips to New York have included stops at Mitsuwa on the way in and out of the city. I still have yet to try every little food stand inside (there are so many of them!), but below are my favorites so far:
1) Chicken & Egg Katsu from Katsuhana
Japanese deep-fried chicken, rice and scrambled eggs!
2) Musubi from Omusubi Gonbei
Also known as “onigri”, musubi is a Japanese snack that involves triangular balls of rice and different types of cured seafood, like tuna, salmon, and even octopus.
3) Pork Belly Ramen & Cold Noodles from Santouka
The ramen at Santouka is super flavorful and rich. Just trust me. If you’re into ramen, you need to stop here and try the Tokusen Toroniku Ramen, their signature ramen that’s simmered in fat chunks of pork cheeks almost as tender as tuna sashimi. The cold noodles (hiyashi chuka) are a new option on the menu that’s equally addicting. It comes with a plate of soft yellow noodles, and sliced pork cheeks over tare sauce (made from water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds) with a colorful plate of bean sprouts, cucumber, eggs, wood ear mushrooms and red pickled carrots to mix together.
4) Sashimi from Daikichi Sushi
If you’re as in love with sashimi as I am–you’ll love this place. The fish here is never frozen, soft and fresh. If you’re on the go, head to the back left corner of the marketplace to find mixed sushi, hand rolls and sashimi.
5) Obanyaki from Oishinbo
Also popular in Taiwan, obanyaki is a Japanese dessert made from two fried palm-sized waffles filled with vanilla custard (or red bean paste).
6) Black Sesame Soft Serve from Matcha Love
I know, black sesame might not sound like the most exciting flavor–it’s not normally my go to either–but trust me, this will rock your world if you like peanut butter. The black sesame soft serve at Matcha Love is like smooth, smokey peanut butter. I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth (sometimes I’ll shamelessly order french fries for dessert…), but this is one of my favorite things at Mitsuwa, and if you like ice cream, you need to try this!