Filipino adventures in Jersey City (And Smorgasburg)

Recently hit up Jersey City because a friend wanted to go to Smorgasburg. I’ve been to the one in JC and I’m not a huge fan, it’s mostly way overpriced street food you have to wait in line for, which is my least favorite type of food.

There’s a filipino stall that commands probably half of all people there. They sell 3$ skewers of alll sorts of weird shit which is awesome. And their names are hilarious, like chicken feet are called adidas. We did not eat here, because we didn’t want to wait in line, and also because we planned to hit up some places for filipino food later.

We had:

Duck fat fries. Pretty tasty but not worth 8 bucks for an order.

Fried anchovies. I’ve had this at the Brooklyn location. It’s fine, but not worth 10 bucks for me.

Things that were worth it:

Birria tacos. They were better than the ones I had recently at some supposedly famous place in Queens. Well worth the 10 bucks for 2 tacos and consome.

Barbecue tacos. Got a PP, brisket and fish tacos. All were very good. 4-5 bucks. My faves were the super juicy PP and the fish tacos were classic.

Italian lamb skewers: 2$ a pop when you buy a few. Good flavor and char and their spicy powder is great.

Afterwards we headed over to a filipino grocer and got some balut. More on that later…

But for our second meal we ended up at JayHan’s. I really liked this place. We got:

Crispy Pata: One of my favorite things ever, but they did not have it. :frowning:
Sisig: First time having it. Good but I thought it was supposed to be made with pig head. I couldn’t detect that much pig headyness like ears or anything cartilegy. But would get again.

Tofu sisig: Surprisingly tasty, but it was for a vegetarian friend and no reason to get it otherwise.

Grilled chicken feet aka adidas: Maybe the best chicken feet I’ve ever had!! The grilled flavor is awesome and the skin gets a little crisp from the grill. They were also huge and easy to eat. I only wish it was grilled a little crispier, which I will ask for next time.

Arros caldo: Chicken rice porridge. It was fine.

Beef intestine skewer: Intestine quality was good, but it was a fried skewer that wasn’t crispy at all. :frowning: I can see it being fantastic when fried right.

Lechon Kawali: Braised and fried so the skin gets crispy. This one was absolutely amazing. How can you go wrong with fried pork skin? You can’t.

Came to 14 bucks a person after tip. Now that’s a great value.

Afterwards I came home and shared my balut with a couple friends. I had two eggs. They started first, had a bite and said it wasn’t bad. I cracked mine open and the first thingI saw was feathers. Bit into it and it tasted like… death.

I tried really hard to swallow it but my body just refused to obey my commands. On further inspection, mine was way more developed than theirs - they had mostly yolk, and in mine you could clearly see the bird and the yolk was mostly gone. But I don’t think that was the issue, it just tasted way past expiration. Also, in all the videos I’ve seen of people eating balut, there’s always a ton of juice that comes out when you crack it open, in ours there was no juice… Even though the underdeveloped one was more palatable, it was definitely not tasting so fresh…

So anyway, I’m super excited to try more flip food in JC. There seems to be a lot of awesome places to try! No pics today, but I’m sure all of these can be found on yelp/google.


Great report, Joon! You are the Andrew Zimmern of HO for trying balut! Yuck!!


Filipino food has SO much nasty bits in regular rotation, I love it! Check out this beautiful abomination:

Menudo $9.99 (single serving) $16.00 (family style)

Pork, liver, hotdog, carrots, potato, red bell peppers, served with rice for single serving only

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That DEFINITELY sounds like something you’d eat. :rofl::rofl:

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Will definitely try it and report back!!

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Am curious about Smorgasburg if you don’t mind a couple of questions:

  • Is parking readily available nearby?
  • Do they have places to sit and eat your food?
    Thank you!

We had no problem parking reasonably close street parking. There are also lots in the area if you don’t mind paying extra.

Nowhere to sit, it’s a stand and eat thing.

I’ve done Brooklyn and JC Smorgasburg and honestly it’s pretty low on the list of food destinations for me. There’s 1 or 2 vendors doing great things but if you want to eat until you’re full at smorgasburg it’s going to cost you like 40 bucks, which can be much better spent almost anywhere else.

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Thanks for the response and info.

Was thinking about the JC one if anything… I have to drive into NY for work fairly often, and driving in Brooklyn is the worst. :flushed:

Sounds like one of the many things where the pictures look better than what you get. :joy:


I feel kind of bad for discouraging you, it’s certainly an interesting food experience. But specifically I have a peeve against waiting in lines for overpriced street food that really yucks my yum. If you aren’t bothered by that then I think it would be a fun experience!

Please don’t feel bad, I appreciate the honest assessment and guidance on parking! Am still thinking about going because I live in Hunterdon County where mediocre food is always overpriced :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:, and I have 3 dogs so am always looking for day trips since I don’t travel much other than for work even pre-COVID. If I go I will report back… and if you are right and it sucks I will be honest and tell you! :slightly_smiling_face:


Here’s a video of me trying balut for the first time, 3 years ago on Thanksgiving.


Yeah. I tried to try Balut when i was in Manila a few years ago. Cracked it open, saw the juice and feathers and that was it. My colleagues took a couple of bites and also said enough. Interesting to try, but I’m not experiential enough to try a second time.


You are brave! Interesting, but I don’t think I could do it.


LMAO that was fantastic!!! You really took the time to savor that huh? :joy: :rofl:

Did you steam it yourself?

Also welcome back!!

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