Home Food + Drink All About Koro Koro in Jersey City

All About Koro Koro in Jersey City

by Arielle
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While there are several delish sit-down restaurants in Hoboken and Jersey City, sometimes, you just need something simple and easy to eat on-the-go. If you’re looking for that, and something that’s 100% unique, hit up Koro Koro for their rice balls. Read on to learn more about this special, local gem and why we love it:

koro koro jersey city hoboken

Located at 538 Jersey Ave in Jersey City {their downtown Hoboken location, pictured above, recently closed permanently}, Koro Koro specializes in delicious and unique onigiri, or rice balls. Koro Koro’s onigiri are stuffed with a wide variety of fillings and flavors; as they say, onigiri are as versatile as a sandwich {and even better tasting}.

Co-owners Carrie Grosso and Vincenzo Bove {who are also husband and wife} opened Koro Koro in Jersey City in 2014. The dynamic duo, who both came from strong restaurant industry backgrounds, and have lived in Jersey City for over 13 years, decided to open a Japanese inspired rice ball cafe after having some for the first time in California. Grosso reminisces, “We thought it was a perfectly healthy, fast food. Being Gluten Free myself, it was also a perfect replacement for a sandwich for me, so we created an entirely GF menu. We also wanted to create a more eclectic menu featuring fillings from many different cuisines, as well as many vegetarian and vegan options.” — and they truly do have something for everyone.

koro koro hoboken

Koro Koro offers traditional Japanese fillings as well as fillings inspired by cuisines from around the world. Their menu includes fish, meat, and vegetarian/vegan options {some of our favorites are the Miso Beef and the Mediterranean Onigiri}. They also have a “Rice Ball of the Day” – make sure to check their website for their daily offerings. Koro Koro also serves a few sides, including soups and salads, plus a wide variety of drinks perfect for hot or cold weather.

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READ: The Best Vegan Soups in Jersey City

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The best thing about Koro Koro is the origin story behind their name. In Japanese, Koro Koro is an onomatopoeic expression for the sound of something spherical, fat or small “rolling” or “tumbling.” The expression is often associated with a charming Japanese fable about an elderly couple and the fortunes they reap by sharing their rice balls! You can read the full fable below:

There was an old couple who lived in the mountains. One day, when the husband set out to fetch some firewood, he stopped to eat the rice balls his wife always packed him for lunch. While he was eating, one rice ball fell on the ground and koro-koro rolled down the mountain, into a hole. When the man approached the hole he heard singing. “Rice Ball Koro Koro, Rice Ball Koro Koro.” Curious about this unusual song, he tried to throw another rice ball in the hole, when he lost his balance and fell in. On the way down he heard more singing. “Old Man Koro Koro, Old Man Koro Koro.” He had fallen into a mysterious underground world of mice. He stayed for a while to eat, sing and dance with the mice and when it was time for him to leave, they presented him with a box for kindly having shared his rice balls! When the old man arrived home, he and his wife opened the box to find it filled with gold! Enough to last them the rest of their days.

See More: 13 Vegan Restaurants in New York City to Try

When the old couple’s greedy neighbor heard of their story, he decided to try and get some gold for himself. He found the hole and threw a rice ball in. He heard the same singing “Rice Ball Koro Koro, Rice Ball Koro Koro.” He jumped in the hole and saw all the mice and the same box his neighbor had received. To scare the mice away from the gold, the neighbor pretended to be a cat crying “meow meow!” Suddenly, the hole went dark and everything disappeared! There were no mice and there was no box of gold and there was not even a single rice ball left for the old neighbor to eat!

Since that time, no one has ever found the mouse world again. Although sometimes, if you are walking high up in the mountains of Japan, you may hear this song carried by the wind…“Rice Ball Koro Koro, Rice Ball Koro Koro.”

A chest of gold would be nice, but truthfully, Koro Koro’s onigiri are treasure enough!

Have you been to Koro Koro? Share your experience with us in the comments below, and don’t forget to tag us on Instagram @HobokenGirlBlog + #HobokenGirl

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