From Samuel L. Jackson to Uma Thurman, Hoboken has recently been flooded with celebrities — and yet another has joined the list. On May 9th, TikTok cooking sensation Lynja Yamada Davis — a.k.a Cooking with Lynja (@cookingwithlynja) — posted a TikTok at what appeared to be the Hoboken Trader Joe’s. Lynja herself has now confirmed with The Hoboken Girl that she was, in fact, shopping at Trader Joe’s in Hoboken. With 10.7 million followers on TikTok, it’s not surprising that Lynja has an observant Hoboken following. Here’s what we know about the woman behind Cooking with Lynja and her visit to Hoboken’s Trader Joe’s.
Screenshot from @cookingwithlynja
Lynja’s Unexpected Rise to Stardom
Before she had millions of followers on TikTok, Lynja Yamada Davis was a mom and a retired MIT engineer.
In the spring of 2020, Lynja — alongside her videographer son, Tim — decided to film a cooking video.
“I was trying to preserve my father’s sukiyaki recipe because the kids loved it so much, just like I loved it as a kid,” Lynja told MIT Alumni. “Tim had all this equipment because he was doing freelance videography.”
What began as a tiny YouTube channel expanded to TikTok and Instagram, and by July 4th of that same year, Lynja had gone viral.
Lynja was shocked at the initial fame.
“I thought [Tim] was really joking with me,” Lynja said to MIT Alumni. “I really did, because why would anybody watch a bacon, egg, and cheese video?”
But watch it we did. Lynja’s charm and cooking chops launched her to peak internet fame. She’s accrued 10.7 million TikTok followers and 179.1 million TikTok likes. On Instagram, she’s at 974k followers. Her bio — “Just a regular mom with killer cooking skills” — encompasses her sparkling personality, sense of humor, and cooking skills that have gained her such an impactful social media career.
Lynja is currently based in New York City, which makes her visit to Hoboken make all the more sense.
Screenshot from @cookingwithlynja
The Hoboken-Based TikTok
The Tiktok starts outside a Trader Joe’s with Lynja and fellow TikTok chef Nick DiGiovanni (@nick.digiovanni), who some may recognize for coming in 3rd on the 10th season of MasterChef. They proceed to play three rounds of rock, paper, scissors to decide who gets to pick the Trader Joe’s ingredients for their shared appetizer, entrée, and dessert date night.
Lynja wins round 1 and cooks up mouth-watering crunchy dumplings. Nick pulls out a win for round 2 and prepares a vibrant-looking salmon. Round 3 goes to Lynja once more, so she opts for a TJ’s classic — the mini ‘Hold The Cone!’ ice cream cones. The TikTok ends with a cheeky line from Nick, as he whispers in Lynja’s ear, “Thanks for the date, Lynja.”
Eagle-eyed viewers were quick to flood Nick DiGiovanni’s Instagram post of Lynja’s TikTok to ask if this was the Hoboken Trader Joe’s — which many have claimed it is.
“There’s the parking garage entrance in the back!” one user (@floopy1029) pointed out.
“Definitely is!” said another commenter (@devin_michael17).
We also certainly had the same light of recognition go off when we saw the TikTok. It sure looked like Hoboken to us.
Hoboken Girl received confirmation from Lynja that these users were right — she’d been shopping in Hoboken. She also told us that she really enjoyed this shopping experience.
“I loved how convenient the parking garage is plus what a great store it is,” Lynja told HG.
Fans who were quick to suspect that Lynja was in Hoboken should give themselves a pat on the back — you were right!