Imagine this: you’re in New Jersey having fun at the local tourist attractions, eating the local food, and just generally having the time of your life. Then you realize that your money is almost out. Not only will you not enjoy New Jersey at its fullest anymore, but there’s also the possibility of not having enough money to eat or go home.
But let’s say you want to tackle the problem of food first. How can you eat on a budget while traveling? Surely you don’t want to rack up debts or, worse, get haunted by a zombie debt in the future. Fortunately, you can do many things to enjoy the local food while still limiting yourself on a budget.
Here’s how you can save money on food while in New Jersey.
Go for Street Food
There was a time when street food only meant burgers and fries. But nowadays, it’s far from the truth. In Central Jersey, you can find restaurants and food stalls from all around the world. From the spices of India to the cuisine of China, there are a lot of foods you can enjoy.
The best thing about it is that they’re cheap, especially since most of the food is available in food stalls. If you prefer to go for some fine dining, there are high-end restaurants all around you. However, you won’t get to experience New Jersey in them.
It’s on the street where the real fun begins. Lines of food stalls will welcome you in every corner you turn to.
If you’re up for some bao buns or ramen, you can go to Ani Ramen to taste authentic Japanese cuisine and fill your belly. Ani Ramen is a Japanese ramen house in New Brunswick and Cranford, filled with Asian cuisine from restaurants and stalls.
Or, if you’re hungry for Italian food, you can go to Lombardi Pizza co., where you can locate its food truck and restaurant that’ll fill your Italian appetite. Lombardi Pizza co. is famous for its $7 arancini, which they’ve been selling since 2013.
If you’re hungry for some roasted corn on the cob slathered with chipotle mayo, toasted bread crumbs, and cheese, you can buy them from the Red Cadillac in Union. It’s their best seller, and literally, hundreds of people buy corn on the cob from them every day.
You don’t even have to worry about them running out since they will always be ready and available for everyone.
Find Cheap Food
Food is an essential part of traveling. You travel because you want to experience different cultures, and an integral part of a culture is food. However, it can be a struggle if you’re on a budget. Fortunately, there are ways for you to enjoy the local cuisine while still on a budget.
The first places you should consider going for food are bars, restaurants, and even stores around colleges. Of course, bars have their promos and discounts like in The Archer or Dingo’s Den. Some even offer free food if you show them your passport or any proof that you’re a tourist.
The same also goes for restaurants like Cesare or Heirloom Kitchen. You can also find cheap food around colleges. This is because most college students are broke, so the stores around colleges take advantage of this fact by offering cheap food.
Or you could also Google your way through the city in search of cheap food. There are a lot of sites that offer reviews of restaurants and bars around the city that provide cheap food like Shut Up and Eat and Mamoun’s Falafel. Read these reviews and ratings to see if an establishment is worth going to.
Also, if you notice that there’s a free event going on like art gallery openings, open houses, etc., you should try them out as most of the time, they offer free food for the guests willing to check their stuff out.
Visit the Local Grocery
It may sound odd to go to grocery stores when traveling, but it has some benefits. The first of them is the price. Instead of going to food shops all the time, why not try your hand at making the local cuisine yourself?
Not to mention you’ll find a lot of deals when going to the grocery stores. Also, you can go there for cultural purposes. The grocery store is meant for the locals, which is a good insight if you want to know the popular items and the food they usually make for their everyday lives. There are several good grocery stores in New Jersey, like Super Foodtown of Ocean or Exito Fresh Market.
Also, by doing this, you can put yourself in the locals’ shoes when going to the grocery stores. Even if only for a few days, you can pretend to be a local and go to the grocery store and see the available items that the locals usually use. The feeling is priceless as you can take a peek at someone who lived there for a long time. Of course, to get the full experience, leave your camera.
Food is essential when traveling. Going to tourist attractions on an empty stomach is rather hard. That said, if you’re on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice a chance to immerse yourself in getting the New Jersey experience, you can try the tips talked about above. Not only will you save money, but you can also experience what it’s like to be a local in New Jersey.
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About the Author/s
The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.