Off the PATH Train: Jersey City’s Little India

If you’re craving Saag Paneer or a nice buttery slab of garlic Naan, take a break from your go-to Indian food joint and hop on the PATH to Jersey City. Once above ground you can follow your nose to Little India, located just a few blocks from the Journal Square stop. The wafting scent of spices will lead the way to a lively three-block strip lined with Chai Walas, sari shops, restaurants and temples. Marigolds and other good luck charms adorn facades of small businesses and colors pop from unlikely corners.

Little India in Jersey City is a vibrant and colorful destination for anyone who loves Indian culture, cuisine, and shopping. It is one of the largest and most diverse South Asian ethnic enclaves in the United States, with a population of over 27,000 Indian Americans. Whether you are looking for a spicy curry, a sparkling sari, or a spiritual experience, you will find it in this bustling neighborhood.

Where to eat

One of the main attractions of Little India is the food. You can choose from a wide range of regional cuisines, such as Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, South Indian, and more. You can also sample the street food, such as chaat, samosas, and dosas, or the sweets, such as ladoo, barfi, and jalebi. If you go on the weekend, you can take advantage of the all-you-can-eat buffets that many restaurants offer, and get the most biryani for your buck. 

Eat lunch at one of its many restaurants and enjoy fluffy Samosas and piping hot Marsala over a bed of fresh jasmine rice. 

Tip: If you go on the weekend, the majority of restaurants offer all-you-can-eat buffets, and that means getting the most Biryani for your buck.

1. Dine on veg and non-veg entrees at Rasoi, which bustles on the weekends. (810 Newark Ave)

2. If you are a vegetarian or even vegan, try Sapthagiri, which features both North and South Indian cuisine. (804 Newark Ave)

3. For no-frills, almost fast-food dining, hit up Dosa Hut, for everything fried. (777 Newark Avenue)

4.  The Bengali Sweet House will provide dessert lovers with traditional cardamon treats like Ladoo and Barfi. (836 Newark Ave)

Where to shop

After lunch, get the blood flowing with a stroll down the strip and poke your head into a sari or jewelry shop. Don’t skip a visit to one of the many “Cash and Carry’s” where you can find imported grocery and beauty products. 

As you explore the three-block strip, you will discover a variety of shops, restaurants, and temples that cater to the diverse tastes and needs of the Indian community. You can find everything from traditional clothing and jewelry, to imported groceries and beauty products, to religious books and artifacts. You can also enjoy the cultural events and festivals that take place throughout the year, such as the Holi festival of colors, the Navratri festival of dance, and the Diwali festival of lights.

As you head back to the train, stop at the Apna Bazar, a large grocery store filled with everything from spices to statues of the Hindu Gods. (2975 John F. Kennedy Blvd)

For a dazzling array of saris, lehengas, and kurtis, visit Nazranaa, a boutique that also offers custom tailoring and bridal wear. 

For a wide selection of gold and silver jewelry, browse the showcases of Tanishq, a renowned brand that offers exquisite designs and quality.

For a variety of Indian books, magazines, CDs, and DVDs, stop by India Bookstore, a cozy shop that also sells religious items and gifts.

When it’s time to go home, you’ll already be thinking about taking your first trip to India—or at least another jaunt to JC.

Directions: Take the PATH to the Journal Square stop. Walk three blocks north on John F. Kennedy Blvd and take a left on Newark Avenue.

Photo: Devika.

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