At times, I really miss my home in Delhi. While I can not recreate the warmth of my family, I definitely can recreate the feeling of Delhi. Welcome to Little India – a small single stretch of road in Jersey city that looks & feels exactly like a busy Indian street market.
Jonathan & I planned to spend a day in Jersey. We rented a car and our plan included driving around different neighborhoods in NJ along with visiting some parks around the waterfront. At the last moment, we both decided to add Little India to our list and I am so glad we did that. This has become our new hobby to go around the city and see different neighborhoods. This gives a real feel of what that area is really like instead of going by a list of 10 famous things to do in a place. Just, last week we went to see Bushwick, I will be writing about that soon.
Little India – Jersey City
There is another little India in New Jersey and if I am not wrong, it’s in Edison. A few months ago, when I told my husband that there is an Indian street in NJ where we can eat chaat from Bikanerwala, he found this place on the map. Unknowingly, we went to this place in Jersey City and had a blast but our friend whom we went with informed us that there is another, bigger Little India in Edison.
We have not been there yet & we feel this Jersey City one has everything to offer. We might still visit Edison in the future.
For me, being in this place was a simple overload of dopamine and we had a sort of plan. But I understand that not everyone would know what to do and in fact, this can get a little overwhelming if this is the first time you are in an Indian market. Like, my first visit to the Asian market in flushing was not productive.
How To Reach There
Little India in Jersey City is really close to New York City. By car, it will take around 45 -50 minutes from Times Square (NYC). By Path, it is around a 10-minute walk from Journal Square.
What To Do In Little India
1) Walk around the street & see all the different kinds of restaurants, fashion wear & departmental stores are there. There is also a temple which I saw a little too late and could not visit. For Indians visiting here for the first time, notice all the pressure cookers. It made me smile & think to myself, how important cooker is for Indians.
2) Must have Street food experience. No Indian market is complete without some street food. Now, India is a country of many cultures and that is visible in the number of street food options in the country. To start with, you can go for north Indian street food which is also the most famous kind. We went to Bikanerwala as it reminds me of home. But I saw many snack places while walking on the street. How to recognize that they are selling finger food (snacks) – usually a lot of people sitting around at odd hours & the main displayed menu has items like chaat, pani puri & something with potato. Jonathan tried his first pani-puri a.k.a golgappa – see the video here.
Do not forget to pick up some sweets from here. I got some jalebi for my PT as she loves Indian food.
3) Try south Indian food. Most of the places around New York sell typical north Indian food but south Indian cuisine is completely different than north India. Some would call it more healthy as it has less oil and uses a lot of fermented items. Since you are there, it’s good to increase your knowledge of South Indian food. These are usually dosa, idli, sambhar. There are other many varieties apart from these standard ones. We went to a Hyderabadi restaurant for dinner and had the first real Biryani in the USA. The restaurant we went to was called Parivaar. If you want real south Indian (Hyderabadi) cuisine then this is a must-visit place.
4) Have a paan. If I am not wrong, there are a couple of pan shops in the market. Paan is a traditional after food mouth freshener/ small treat eaten in most of the country. It is a betel leaf with some tasty assortments. Here is the picture for your reference. They will make a small packet of it and you have to eat the whole thing like that – do not open and lick each item separately. Just pop it in your mouth & enjoy the taste. The kind they were selling in Little India was sweet.
5) Do Grocery Shopping At Indian Stores. Do you want to cook some Indian food? No better place to shop for spices, produce, little snacks than supermarkets here. There is Apna Bazaar, Patel brothers & if I am not wrong, 2 more. I stocked my spice cabinets and making sambhar tomorrow. Jonathan loves sambhar dosa so it is a treat for him. BTW, see the pickles we picked.
These are my top 5 things to do if you get overwhelmed with the choices. Please note that this is not an exclusive list of things as the market has so much to offer. Go where you feel like going & try new things. From what I can tell, most of these places are good at taste & have value for money.
Planning a trip in the future? Pin this article for when you need it.