Unique foods in Hoboken – what’s the best?
See what she has to say about “off the beaten path” foods in the Mile Square!
The Weird and Wonderful Foods of Hoboken
Hoboken may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about peculiar foods, but if you take a long look around you, they are everywhere. Like many of you, I love “Bizarre Foods” with Andrew Zimmerman and “No Reservations” with Anthony Bourdain, so this month I’m paying homage to my favorite television world travelers and bringing you a list of the weird, wonderful, and downright funky foods I found here in town.
It’s Greek to Me – 538 Washington Street
At the tasty little “It’s Greek to Me” place, I ordered the TARAMOSALATA – otherwise known as caviar dip.
By caviar, we are not talking the expensive Beluga caviar here. Traditionally, they use the cured fish roe from the cod or carp (thanks Wikipedia!). The taramosalata was thick and creamy, with a slight saltiness and mild fishiness.
Personally, it could have used some lemon, but it was tasty nonetheless. Definitely eat it on some pita.
If you like fish roe on your sushi or anchovies on your pizza, definitely give this a try.
Robongi – 520 Washington Street
There were two types of sushi I had always wanted to try at Robongi, and that was because they were both M.P. (market price).
If the price was ever changing, they must be special! First off was the TORO. Toro is the super-fatty, super-rich belly portion of the tuna. Let’s just say there was no chewing required. You have to try it to believe it, really. So tender, so delicious, so melt-in-your-mouth amazing.
Next was the UNI. Uni is known as sea urchin roe, but a little more investigating revealed that it was in fact the sea urchin gonads. Unfortunately, I learned that after the fact. The uni was a big, gelatinous, bright orange glob. It jiggled as I reluctantly put it in my mouth. It was cold and wiggly, but finished creamy. It tasted like how an aquarium smells. The flavor was mildly fishy and not too unpleasant, but the texture was definitely a turn-off. A great choice for the adventurous eater.
Casual Thai – 1006 Washington Street
In my search for funky foods, I figured looking into an authentic Asian restaurant like Casual Thai would be a good idea.
The regular menu wasn’t too crazy, however their dessert menu had a few gems. I ordered two: GLUTINOUS RICE WITH DURIAN IN COCONUT CREAM and GINKGO NUT WITH SWEET TARO MOUSSE. Durian is the infamous Asian fruit that comes in a sharp, spiky shell. It also smells like death. The durian in this rice pudding was definitely from frozen (fresh are hard to come by) and the smell was somewhere between rotten onions and gym socks. Horrible… just horrible. I tried a bite but had to spit it out. Rotten onions and coconut cream just don’t go together.
On the bright side, my ginkgo nut dessert was delicious! The purple taro mousse was shaped into a flower and dotted with ginkgo nuts, which floated in a coconut cream pond. The mousse was sweet and starchy and tasted great with the coconut. Definitely different, but very tasty and worth a try.
The Cheese Store – 720 Monroe Street
The owners of The Cheese Store were more than happy to direct me to two funky selections in their cheese case.
The first one, Hoboken Tomme, was a goat’s milk cheese actually aged on site. The rind was white, brown and dark blue, creased almost like the wrinkles of a brain. It smelled like the most intense goat cheese with a hint of blue cheese. The texture was soft and spreadable at room temperature. Biting into it, the tomme was intense, sharp, and tart, with a creamy saltiness and a bold kick. It finished cleanly, almost with a hint of provolone. It was definitely in-your-face, but I loved it.
The other one chosen for me, Peralzola, was probably the funkiest cheese I have ever come across. A blue cheese with veins so blue, they were black. Breaking it open and smelling it probably wasn’t a good idea. It smelled like a musty, dirty, wet antique store filled with dogs. It was cool on the tongue with a unique blue cheese flavor that hit the back of my tongue with a sharp, almost peppery bite. When I asked for funky, they certainly delivered. It wasn’t my preference, but I can definitely appreciate such a unique cheese.