|The takeout counter at Pollos El Chevere, where the menu of Peruvian specialties goes far beyond its signature rotisserie chicken.|
Editor's note: Today, I discuss some of the great ethnic food available in North Jersey, and shop with a coupon booklet from H Mart, a Korean supermarket chain.
North Jersey's increasing diversity pays big dividends: Great ethnic food at nearly every turn.
I often did my "ethnic-food runs" on Saturdays, starting in the city of Passaic with a snack of tacos, stopping in Paterson for a takeout soul-food dinner, and ending with food shopping and a meal in South Paterson's Middle Eastern bazaar.
The soul-food restaurant closed, and three and a half years ago, I stopped eating meat. But I can still do a food run.
Last Saturday, my wife wanted to shop some of Passaic's cheap clothing stores.
That set up a visit to Pollos El Chevere, an inexpensive Japanese-Peruvian-owned restaurant that is one of the nicest and cleanest in that poor city.
We ordered takeout for the meat eaters in the family:
Pollo Entero Solo, a whole rotisserie chicken with a side of white rice, french fries, green or sweet plantains or yuca ($10); an order of Tostones or fried green plantains ($2.75); and two Empanadas with ground meat and boiled egg ($2.50 each).
We also ordered an extra container of a pale green, spicy chili-cheese sauce ($3) that can be poured over the chicken, green plantains or just about anything else.
Plenty of seafood
I fondly recall meals at Pollos El Chevere, especially enjoying my favorite dish, Ceviche de Pescado ($12), a Japanese-Peruvian twist on sashimi, served with sweet potato and popped corn kernels.
Another great dish is called Tallerin Verde, a green or pesto-like pasta dish available with shrimp, fish or steak ($12.50 to $14).
The menu also offers many seafood dishes, including stews, fried fillets and steamed fish.
Pollos El Chevere, 228 Washington Place, Passaic; 1-973-249-6330.
Web site: www.cheverechicken.com
|Al-Shark Moroccan Sardines in tomato sauce or spicy oil are still only 99 cents a can in the grocery section of Fattal's Bakery in Paterson. We use them in pasta sauce and salads.|
Our next stop was Corrado's Family Affair, a big, ethnic supermarket on the Clifton-Paterson border where I used to go for salted cod from Canada in 1-pound plastic bags.
After two earlier visits to Corrado's, only to find they were out of those bags of salted cod, I called ahead and was told by a fish counter worker the cod had finally come in.
But what the employee called cod turned out to be salted Alaskan pollock, a cheaper substitute I buy at Costco Wholesale, and I left empty handed.
We drove less than a mile to Fattal's Bakery on Main Street in Paterson, where I picked up 21 cans of Al-Shark Moroccan Sardines in tomato sauce or spicy oil (99 cents each).
|Aleppo Restaurant offers a great Syrian meal in a pleasant setting, above the below, free of the annoying hookah smoke so prevalent in other restaurants in South Paterson or over the border in Clifton.|
|If you like spicy food, Aleppo Restaurant's Muhammara is a must.|
We finished our "ethnic-food run" with another great meal of soup, salad, fish and kebabs at Aleppo Restaurant in Paterson.
See a previous post:
My heart goes out to the city of Aleppo, Syria
Aleppo Restaurant, 939 Main St., Paterson; 1-973-977-2244.
Fattal's Bakery, 975-77 Main St., Paterson; 1-973-742-7125.
Corrado's Family Affair, 1578 Main Ave., Clifton; 1-973-340-0628.
|One of the coupons in a book sent to some H Mart shoppers offers 20% off on big seedless watermelons, but that's just $2 off the price of $9.99.|
|The best coupon for me gave a $1 discount on 2 pounds of wild mussels harvested in Massachusetts just a week before I bought them. The discounted price was $1.99.|
|Whole whiting, here swimming in a sake-organic diced tomato sauce, were $3.99 a pound. There is no coupon for fresh fish.|
H Mart has sent a "summer savings" coupon booklet to holders of the Korean supermarket chain's Smart Card, which gives a 1% rebate on purchases of $1,000.
On Wednesday, at the Englewood H Mart, I used coupons to get 20% off the price of green peppers ($1.59 a pound), and to buy 2 pounds of wild mussels for only $1.99.
I steamed opened the mussels in a little inexpensive sake, and they were deliciously tender and grit-free.
Non-coupon items I bought included a box of 20 intensely sweet Champagne or Ataulfo Mangoes for $8.99, a dollar less than before.
The store was having an even better special -- 2 boxes or 40 mangoes for $14.99. The regular price is $15.99 a box.
Jinga's Cheese Kimbap -- a seaweed, rice and vegetable roll -- were half price after 4 p.m. or just $2.49.
Fresh collard greens were 99 cents a pound.
H Mart has other stores in Fort Lee, Ridgefield and Little Ferry. Coupons are good through July 14, 2013.
See its Web site: