Authentic restaurants that tastes like where it claims to be from

I want to start a thread. We have such a diverse population in NJ but there’re too many restaurants that are fusion or American modified (very little difference between these two descriptions).
I want a thread that lists all the restaurants (along with recommended dishes) that refuses to bend to what the general public wants by bringing a lot of authenticity. This is for any continent, country, and region. Even domestic (creole, cajun, southwest, midwest, native American, cali, etc).

Examples would be, most authentic Korean Chinese (used to be Crystal palace), cantonese (non dimsum), dimsum, florentene, alsatian, sicilian, swedish, dutch, tuscan, okinawan, Canadian poutine, German, vietnamese, etc. You get the picture.

I’ve looked all over the board and it’s hard to find these places where you can go out to really discover a region. I for one enjoy discovering and would love to do so when we do decide to go out for a meal.


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I’m not in NJ, but how can something be “authentic” if it is made in America. Isn’t that our essence as a society, to make it our own and put our unique touch to whatever is involved?
Minus your Midwestern reference, I suppose, though even regional cuisines out of region seem to be in the same boat.

The argument for “authenticity” is a little bit interesting and a debate I’ve had before with friends. If a robot makes a dish using the exact ingredients/technique/kitchen as inputted by an “authentic regional chef,” is the food no longer authentic?

People often come out of the woodwork to bash restaurants or recipes as not being “authentic." However, the chefs/cooks who originated these recipes never cared about being “authentic” and neither should you. They know that good food is good food and only the end result is what matters.

I suggest you check out for a good list of cuisines and restaurants listed by region/origin.


Interesting question. I hope it’s OK with you if I quote it over at the Bankrupt for Authenticity? thread.

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About 10 years ago I ate at Mars2112 in Manhattan. Kind of hard to judge how authentic it was since I’ve never been to Mars and I’m pretty sure they don’t have any restaurants there. ((shrugs))


Didja have the ‘Red Dust’?

But as far as your original post, some of my favorites are:

Chinese: Shanghai Bun in Matawan
Portuguese: Clark BBQ in Clark
Peruvian: Inca Grill in Middlesex
French: O Bistro Francais in Red Bank
Indian: Haldi Chowk in Middletown
Mexican: International Mexican Grocery in Red Bank
Colombian: Brisas Colombianas Bakery in Elizabeth
Uraguayan: Pizzarra’s Restaurant & Pizzeria in Union City
Argentinian: LaLa’s BBQ in Sayreville
Puerto Rican: LaLa’s Puerto Rican Kitchen (Food Truck) in Old Bridge
Cuban: Yoly’s in Elizabeth


The food wasn’t too bad but the place really lacked atmosphere.


Was that the place that had cameras in the bathroom that let you see the other bathrooms?

(I’m not sure if you are joking or not, so I’ll just say I have absolutely no recollection of that. Honestly it was probably closer to 15 years ago I was there when my kids were young. It was below ground and the place was decorated by the same person who designed the foreign planets for the original Star Trek. They had costumed aliens that would walk around etc. I don’t recall camera’s in the bathroom though.)

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Welcome Eathru! I will try to remember some of what I posted originally on the other site. I think they deleted my post there because I had one link to a review on this site.

We already talked about Asian in Edison - but there is also a ridiculous Indian population there too. If you haven’t been, a trip to the Indian area in Oak Tree Road Edison/Iselin is near mandatory. I’ve been meaning to get a group together for a trip for a while now. There’s just too much to eat there in 1 day.

There’s also the Korean/Japanese stuff in the Pal Park/Fort Lee area, but I gather you’re familiar with those options already.

I haven’t been much but there’s a ton of ethnic greatness in Paterson. There’s supposed to be a huge Peruvian population there, and also a huge middle eastern representation. Well worth diving into.

There’s also the Portugese/Brazilian stuff in Newark. And Jersey city is supposed to have an enormous Filipino population and you can get BBQ whole pig at some places, even.

I mean I haven’t been to any of these countries other than Korea and Japan so I really can’t comment on any of this authenticity stuff anyway! :smiley:


“Most authentic available” shouldn’t be controversial. If someone from a region our country moved here and wanted to have something that closest resembles what they know where would they go? What dishes would they get there that would accomplish this? Regards to ingredients and person cooking it I’d imagine the person in my example would know what’s good and what the shortcomings are. I have a lot of friends from several different countries (science community is very international). It was relatively easier in the city. Wondering what those spots are in NJ. Distance is not an issue

Thank you for the link but I’ve ended up there before and was disappointed in the list. At least for the cuisine I was familiar with. I personally wouldn’t trust that site.

And to your statements, yes, whoever made the dishes originally weren’t thinking about whether it was authentic cause they were using ingredients, skill set, and understood the culture to know what would work there. They’ve since stick around and became tradition or memories of what used to be available. In the US, when talking about authentic we’re talking about those traditions and memories rather than creating something new.

Regarding the robot making the food question, as long as it knows how to handle the ingredients and prepare them in a way that yields the same result, yes, they would be authentic. It doesn’t matter who cooks them. A Mexican immigrant to Japan could become an apprentice at a sushi restaurant and after years of experience can be a great sushi chef. Why couldn’t a robot be able to do all these things several decades later with improved AI and mechanical dexterity?

That’s why I added regional restaurants. It’s precisely the same. I’ve answered the rest in a previous post in this thread. =)

I got hooked on Greek food years ago because someone on Chowhound (or maybe eGullet?) posted about a (then-) new restaurant where he saw dishes listed that he’d only ever seen on his grandmother’s table–in Greece. On the island of Karpathos, to be specific, and the dish that really blew his mind (from a memory perspective) was Makarounes. His post pushed me to go and try it and as I said, I’m HOOKED!

That restaurant is Stamna, and they now have 3 locations: Bloomfield, Little Falls, and now Lincroft. I haven’t been to Little Falls, but Bloomfield was a very regular spot for me when I lived in NNJ and now I’m thrilled to have them in Lincroft.

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Awesome!! This is what I’m talking about. Gotta try this place!! Which dishes were the ones that reminded him of his grandmother’s?

Mind you, I’m not against searching for food from different cultures in their most original state, I just think authentic is a bogus term as used in the USA. Feel free to disagree.

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I don’t believe it’s a bogus term. I just feel it’s misused and misinterpreted. Authentic by region/country when it comes to food is something that was, is, or would be popular in that country/region. You’d have to understand the community to make that happen. This of course is very different from fusion. There are extremists in most topics

I’m anything but an extremest. Carry on. I’ll bow out of your quest.

Where are you located? I might have a few spots to try for you

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