Where to get street food in Central Jersey from around the world

There was a time when street food meant burgers and hot dogs at the county fair. But across the world, it’s a way for people to showcase their skills, recipes and heritage.

Thank social media or an increased interest in worldwide cuisine, but street eats have finally made their way to America. Restaurants from high-end, white-tablecloth hotspots to grab-and-go food trucks have adopted their own versions of international street foods, so you can get everything from Thai chicken sate to Mexican birria tacos without getting on a plane. 

In a region as diverse as Central Jersey, you can bet that we pretty much cover the world when it comes to street food. Here are just a few local restaurants offering their own takes on international street favorites. 

Chinese food: Bao buns, Ani Ramen, New Brunswick and Cranford

Soy glazed chicken bao buns from Ani Ramen New Brunswick.

Bao buns may originate from China, but the soft, pillowy buns filled with savory meat have made their way to many Asian cuisines, especially now as a trendy street food. That includes at Ani Ramen, a Japanese ramen house with Central Jersey locations in New Brunswick and Cranford known for its authentic fare with modern touches. 

Ani Ramen’s bao buns are just as popular as its ramen. They sell more than 5,000 $9 orders — with two buns in each — every week throughout their seven New Jersey locations. Variations include buns filled with panko shrimp, soy-glazed chicken, fried tofu, pork belly, soft shell crab, beef brisket and Berkshire sausage.