I talk about DC a lot because that’s where I live now, but I’m a native New Jersey girl. People always talk shit about New Jersey. When we native New Jerseyans leave the state, we sometimes feel like expats in foreign, hostile lands where the bagels taste terrible and the natives are not at all friendly. The rest of America has it out for us, and I don’t think I’m overstating that. Listen, in New Jersey, we don’t pump our own gas. It’s just not how we do things so please stop making fun of us because you’re secretly jealous and want to know why the hell you’ve been pumping your own gas all these years. Also, if you see someone with NJ plates at a local gas station where they have to pump their own, feel to help them because they’re probably a little clueless. “Get out of my car? Pump my own gas? What?”
Anyway. There are a lot of fun things to do in NJ and one of them is my absolute favorite supermarket. I like this place more than I like Wegmans, so you know I’m not fucking around when I say this: Mitsuwa Marketplace is in Edgewater, New Jersey right across the water from Manhattan and near the entrance to the George Washington Bridge. I come from central NJ where it’s really easy to find Chinese and Indian grocery stores, but Mitsuwa is a Japanese supermarket where you can’t read 75% of the labels, the food court is the most amazing place ever, and there are other Japanese stores like a bookstore, Shiseido make up store… There’s even special Japanese ice for sale. It’s a magical place.
Also, spotless, which is something I highly value in a supermarket. (Take notes, Dupont Circle Safeway…) Imagine walking around in a larger version of the Japan pavilion in Epcot with a much better (and cheaper) candy selection.
I stopped in on Saturday since my sister is moving to northern NJ and it was just as magical as I had remembered it, right down to my C.C. Lemon soda I walked out drinking.
The food court looked amazing, but my mother wasn’t in the mood to dally since we still had to drop off my sister’s stuff and get to the bridal salon but there was just SO much I wanted to try! Croissants stuffed with pineapple cream, the yaki soba noodles I get there that I JUST LOVE SO MUCH, and the Japanese gourmet food marketplace. There, they had a stand making sweet pumpkin something. The sign just said “sweet pumpkin” in English and had a picture of a chef shaking some guy’s hand, I don’t know, long story short: THEY’RE AMAZING. He was making them fresh on a giant griddle with circular insets, filling them, then putting the two halves together with different fillings. There was caramel, custard, green tea, and red bean paste fillings. The caramel was amazing, I got it and it was still warm, filled with really sweet caramel, and the dough was almost like undercooked pancake batter. It was just. It was amazing.
You can walk into Mitsuwa and order in Japanese without a problem. The food court has a variety of Japanese counter service places in addition to the things you can get in the gourmet market section (which included fried octopus and scallops on a stick). It was just like I remembered it from when I used to go there, right down to the fact that some items (like the Hello Kitty lunch set) are insanely expensive. Nonetheless, if you love Japanese food or are looking for a place to stop for lunch or dinner or something, Mitsuwa is a great place.