New Jersey Date Night is a series on NJ Flavor by relationship writer Craig Rogers.

There comes a time in every relationship when a little something extra is needed. It’s not that the spark is gone nor is the relationship in any sort of trouble … it just needs a little spicing up. The same thing can be said for your date nights.

Ready to try something new? Flavorful, diverse and highly memorable, these restaurants serving Asian cuisines may be just the ticket. Get ready for a New Jersey Date Night guaranteed to spice things up!

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Some Like it Hot

If hot and spicy is your thing, then Cheng Du in Wayne is the place for you. Known for their expertly prepared Sichuan dishes, you and your date will have lots of spice from which to choose.

Start out your meal with a classic appetizer like hot and sour soup or Sichuan pork dumplings with roasted chili vinaigrette. Diving into the Sichuan main courses will leave you with a lot of choices, including twice cooked pork (simmered then fried with garlic, leek, hot bean paste and sweet soy sauce) and dry chili beef (with Chinese celery, bamboo shoots, dry chili and Sichuan peppers).  If you’re feeling adventurous, try the crispy pork intestines with hot long green peppers and Chinese celery.

For more information about Cheng Du, visit www.chengdu23.com.

Some Like it Cold

The flavors of Japan are always a favorite and Sagami is a master at bringing the best to your plate.  Located in Collingswood, the restaurant will transport you and your date to Tokyo with each bite.

Choose one of their classic main courses like sukiyaki (thinly sliced beef with vegetables in sauce), teriyaki (broiled steak with sauce) or yosenabe (fish, chicken, shellfish and vegetables cooked in a fish broth). If you’re hungry for noodles, their udon and soba are delicious, such as kitsune udon (noodle soup with fried bean curd) and zaru soba (cold buckwheat noodles with sauce). 

You can’t go wrong choosing sushi with rolls including unagi tobiko maki (eel and flying fish roe), hamachi maki (yellowtail with scallion) and the classic California roll (king crab and avocado).

For more information about Sagami, visit www.sagamirestaurant.com.

“Bowled” Over with Flavor

Koreander is the place to go to experience the flavors of Korea. At their restaurant in Upper Montclair, you and your date will love their rice bowls such as bibimbap (with seven kinds of seasoned vegetables, your choice of meat, an egg on top and spicy sauce) and samgyubsal dupbap (grilled pork belly with mixed vegetables and sweet potato noodles). 

Other spicy offerings include jaeyuk bokum (marinated pork grilled with a spicy sauce) and beef bulgogi (marinated and grilled spicy beef). Ending your meal with some green tea ice cream is a must!

For more information about Koreander, visit www.koreanderbbq.com.

Flavor at its Best

Indian food is known for flavor and Delhi Garden in Edison doesn’t disappoint. This restaurant is take-out only and ordering online is simple and well worth the pick-up.

Start out with aloo papdi chaat (mint chutney, tamarind chutney and yogurt with potatoes and chickpeas) or bhel puri (vegetables and puffed rice with a tangy tamarind sauce). Main dishes are perfect for folks who want to keep it meatless with options like navrattan korma (nine vegetables cooked in an traditional sauce) and kadhi pakora (vegetable dumplings simmered in a yogurt sauce with ginger and curry leaves).

Meat dishes include their clay oven specialties like hariyali chicken (boneless chicken marinated in mint and coriander) and sheekh kebab (skewered ground chicken rolls).  Be sure to save room for dessert — you’ll want to try Indian rice pudding and ras malai (spongy cheese dumplings soaked in vanilla, cardamon and saffron milk).

For more information about Delhi Garden, visit www.delhigarden.wixsite.com/delhigarden.

Culinary Art Imitating Life

Asian cuisines are known to meld spices and flavors that Westerners would typically think contrast each other, such as blending salt and sugar to make savory dishes. In some cuisines you’d never think of mixing the two but in Asian recipes the contrasting ingredients find balance, resulting in a most flavorful dish.

If you think about it, the same can and does happen in relationships. Everyone knows that one couple — the couple where one is sloppy and one is neat or where one is a high-energy powerhouse and the other is laid back and quiet. As individuals you might not set them up on a blind date because you just don’t see the two intermingling to the point of creating a tasty relationship.

Perhaps that premise needs revisiting because opposites do attract and the potential of their pairing knows no bounds. Embracing the contrasts you have within your own relationship is not only key but something to really cherish. Those differences create a balance that, if you’re lucky, gives you a lifetime of love that never gets boring.

Craig Rogers is the guy who gets relationships write. Author of The 49th Challenge, Craig has written countless articles on dating, relationships and breakup recovery. To learn more about Craig, visit www.CraigRogers.nyc.

What’s your idea for a great New Jersey Date? Tell Craig all about it at crogersnyc@gmail.com.

 

More Date Night Ideas:

The Best Brunch Spots

Getaway to Lambertville

Indulge in Amazing Cheesecake

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