Five New Jersey foods that feed the Garden State and beyond

When you think about food in the Garden State, you might think of pork roll, egg and cheese, the old-fashioned diner, boardwalk food, and the local pizzeria. But five foods are inherently New Jersey, and some were invented here in the Garden State.

You probably didn’t even know it.

New Jersey is known around the country for its great food. Italian food, pizza, bagels, delis, and boardwalk food are our most thought-of food, but if you look deeper, you’ll find some unexpected foods that make up the core of the extremely diverse New Jersey food items.

Favorite foods differ depending on which part of the state you’re in. In North Jersey, bagel shops, pizzerias, and delis are the go-to food places for locals. You’ll find different types of pizza in the Philadelphia area, including regional-specific tomato pies, cheesesteaks, and hoagies.

You’ll find cheesesteaks, salt water taffy, and sausage and pepper subs at the Jersey Shore.

But five foods have been the foundation of New Jersey’s food industry, and you probably don’t even know it.

The first is Goya Foods. Every supermarket and corner bodega in America carries Goya brand products, but you might not know that Goya is a New Jersey-based business. Based in Jersey City, Goya is one of the world’s largest makers of Latino food products.

When you think of Jersey, you might not think of Campbell’s Soup, but guess what? It all started right here in Jersey. The Campbell’s Soup Company started in Camden in 1869 before becoming an international brand.

Another worldwide staple from New Jersey is the M&M. The favorite chocolate treats coated in a candy shell are made at Hackettstown’s manufacturing plant. M&Ms have been made in New Jersey since 1958.

Speaking of chocolate and sugar goodness, the Oreo cookie was also historically a New Jersey-manufactured item. Sadly, in 2001, after 63 years, Nabisco closed its plant in New Jersey.

New Jersey is home to one of America’s largest populations of Jewish residents, so it should be no surprise that the most iconic Jewish and Kosher food brands hail from New Jersey. Manischewitz is known for its delicious kosher dessert wines and matzo crackers. While the wine is made in New York, the company’s headquarters is in Jersey City, and they operate a manufacturing plant in Newark.

Jews around America love both, and yes, they’re both made right here, in Newark at the company’s 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

You can’t mention food that is ironically New Jersey without giving an honorable mention to Taylor Pork Roll. Pork Roll, or if you live in North Jersey and ‘incorrectly’ call it Taylor Ham, is made right here in New Jersey.

Other notable iconic Jersey foods include the diner, where we’re the diner capital of the world with over 500 privately owned diners statewide; salt water taffy made at the Jersey Shore; Jersey Mike’s Subs; and the local pizzeria.

When it comes to traditional Jersey foods, we claim ownership of disco fries, Italian hot dogs, sloppy Joe’s, tomato pies, sausage and pepper sandwiches, pepper and egg sandwiches, and the hard roll with butter.

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