Where to Get Caribbean Food in Jersey City + Hoboken

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The Caribbean islands have a distinct and dynamic culture and food tradition. As a result of colonization and immigration, food in this region has incorporated influences from cuisines around the world, such as West Africa, Europe, India, and China — all places where people hailed from and eventually ended up in the Caribbean. The traditional dishes in different island countries share many common traits, but each country also has its own unique set of flavors. 

Over the past few decades, individuals from these island countries have brought their vibrant food scene to our local community, enabling us to enjoy authentic Caribbean dishes without a plane ticket. Below we have gathered a list of must-try Caribbean dishes in Hoboken and Jersey City. Keep reading to discover more about Caribbean food in Hudson County — what it is and where to get it locally.

caribbean food jersey city hoboken

Nicole’s {521 Jersey Ave #2720, Jersey City} 

This restaurant makes some of the most typical Caribbean dishes, but meat curries are the stars of the menu. The curry gravy here is less heated than the dish’s Indian counterpart but is equally complex to the taste. A must-try is the goat curry —the meat is a bony cut and it is raised to a melt-in-your-mouth tender, but the area around the bones still has a pleasant chewiness. All the curries here come with generous sides of plantains, potatoes, as well as rice and peas.

Henry’s Caribbean Cuisine and Bakery{475 Martin Luther King Drive, Jersey City} 

This is a small family restaurant and bakery with a full Caribbean menu. One of the most beloved items here is the roti — a popular street food in Trinidad and Tobago. Meat or vegetable curry is scooped onto a big sheet of flatbread {a roti} and folded into a fat, wobbly pocket. Tear open the soft and stretchy flatbread, and take a quick bite of the juicy meat before the sauce oozes out. Your hands and face may get messy with the sauce, but it’s well worth it. 

Taste Of The Caribbean Roti Shop {800 Communipaw Ave, Jersey City}

Another place to sample some excellent rotis, made with freshly rolled roti wraps. The other very popular menu item is the “doubles”, a street food popular in Trinidad and Tobago. Essentially, it is chickpeas curry and crunchy chutneys sandwiched between fried doughs. The gooey, flavorful curry complements the hearty dough, slightly crispy on its edges. 

Read More: A Guide to Tacos in Hoboken + Jersey City

Trinidad Grocery & Deli {98 Mallory Ave, Jersey City}

The corner store looks small from the outside, but the inside has almost all the essentials for Caribbean and Hispanic cooking. If you are looking for specialty Caribbean seasonings {such as an authentic jerk sauce marinade}, for example, this store can be a good bet. The hot food section also offers a small selection of Trinidad comfort food such as yellow rice, beans, pernil {roasted pork}, baked chicken, and oxtail. Nothing fancy. Just honest, home-style cooking is done the right way.

Jerkin Chicken {234 West Side Avenue, Jersey City} 

The restaurant itself is located in the West Bergen neighborhood of Jersey City, but the food trucks visit Hoboken waterfront and Jersey City Grand Street regularly. Around lunchtime, when the trucks are at work, the smell of the fiery jerk sauce {a heady blend of allspice and scotch bonnet, one of the spiciest chili peppers in the world!} can be smelled from at least two blocks away. The chicken is cooked via a combination of grilling and smoking, which makes it crispy on the skin and juicy in the flesh. Other protein options, such as pork and shrimp, are also available at the truck. 

Golden Krust Caribbean Restaurant {2860 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City}

Another place to try some of the best jerk chicken wings in town. The fiery heat that seeps well into the moist meat will set your tongue on fire. Eaters also love the jerk chicken patti. The buttery, crust crumbles on the touch and smoothes out the spiciness of the filling. 

Tropix Latin Food {733A West Side Ave, Jersey City}

This is one of the few authentic Guyanese eateries in Jersey City. Frequent customers swear by its Guyanese fried rice. Loaded with chopped veggies, the dish has a pleasant crunch. The use of soy sauce and Chinese five-spice seasoning also gives the dish a full-bodied, well-rounded flavor. It’s great as a side, and also substantial enough as a stand-alone main dish.

El Sabroso {414 Central Avenue, Jersey City}

El Sabroso is the spot for unique, delicious Puerto Rican fare. Start with a hearty alcapurria, a fritter made of green bananas and taro root, and stuffed with seasoned ground meat. Try mofongo for the main dish — a traditional Puerto Rican dish of green plantains are fried, mashed, generously seasoned, and mixed with bits of crispy pork. On the meatier side, there’s pernil, or slow roasted pork. Make sure to ask for the crispy skin — it’s packed with flavor! Oh, and make sure to get the tomato and avocado salad on the side. Creamy, pleasantly acidic, and refreshing, it will surely be a nice complement to  the heartier dishes.

Freetown Road Project  {640 Newark Ave, Jersey City}

The restaurant offers a creative, contemporary take on traditional Antiguan food. Chef Claude Lewis, champion of the Food Network cooking show Chopped, combined techniques from French and Italian cuisine with ingredients and flavors of the West Indies to “bring a modern and focused  representation of West Indian cuisine.”The menu includes Caribbean classics such as roti and meat curry, as well as more unique Antigua delicacies such as stewed red snapper and salted cod fish cakes. Check out the restaurant’s Instagram account for periodic specials, such as mussels — similar to the French moules marinières but lightly seasoned with West Indian spices.

Pio Pio Restaurant{449 Central Avenue, Jersey City}

This is a no-frills counter-service eatery serving classic Cuban dishes. The menu is protein-heavy, consisting of everyday Cuban dishes such as garlic chicken, fried steak, and grilled red snapper, all served with yellow rice and sweet plantain. For a quick bite, the Cubano sandwich or pan con bistec {steak sandwich} are both satisfying. Make sure to get the tres leches for dessert — a buttery sponge cake soaked through with a milky sauce made of condensed milk, evaporated milk, and regular milk, and topped with a light frosting.

See More: Must-Try Latin Restaurants in Hoboken + Jersey City

La Isla {104 Washington Street, Hoboken + 25 12th Street, Hoboken}

There are so many splendid choices {including an excellent brunch} at this beloved Cuban diner. For a more lavish upgrade to your go-to pressed sandwiches and pan-seared steak, keep an eye on the daily special menu for a lechon asado. The pork is slow roasted and pulled, and the meat, bathed in its own juice and fat, is so tender that the texture becomes almost creamy. For something of a “fusion” twist, get the truffle flavored yucca fries on the side. And don’t forget to finish the meal with a really strong espresso.

Quisqueya Restaurant {214 Bright Street, Jersey City}

Come to this small eatery for simple, delicious Dominican dishes. A most popular one is bistec de palomilla encebollado, or steak stewed with onion. The meat is generously spiced and tender to the bite. Accompany it with a creamy bollitos de yuca, yuca coarsely mashed and rolled into a cheese and meat-filled fritter. Don’t forget to pack one or two empanadas. Flaky, buttery, stuffed with minced meat, best eaten when piping hot.

El Sol Del Caribe {150 Sterling Avenue, Jersey City}

This is another place for tasty, home-style Dominican dishes. The stews {chicken is great, okra even better!} are soothing, flavorful, and heartwarming. Make sure to have a serving of extremely creamy beans on the side. Or try their buttery, smooth mangu, or mashed plantain, a staple that can be eaten with all Dominican meals.

O’LaLa Empanadas  {600 Communipaw Avenue, Jersey City} 

This cheerful cafe features fusion-style empanadas. The flavors are inspired by worldwide cuisines such as cajun chicken, mozzarella with basil, and Philly steak. Of course, traditionalists can also get classic flavors such as beef, chicken, and cheese. For those with a sweet tooth, try the dessert empanada with guava juice and cream cheese, a hearty tropical treat. 

Have you been to one of these restaurants? What was your favorite menu item? Let us know in the comments! 

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Yiwei was born and raised in China. She has lived extensively in Beijing and Hong Kong, before finally settling down in New York. She moved to Hoboken after a few years in Westchester and immediately felt at home here. Two years ago, she left her job at an investment bank to travel the world and explore her interests, and has since then taken on a few freelancing gigs in career coaching, college admission consulting, and writing. When she is not wandering wildly in the streets of Europe, Asia, or Latin America, she can be found sipping an espresso in one of Hoboken's coffee shops or trying out restaurants in Hoboken and Jersey City area.