Eat it: Fried Cassava with Pork Crackling @ Main Street Cafe in Hackettstown

Hackettstown, in short, has got it figured out. The Warren County hamlet is a treasure trove of small, independently owned global food purveyors—Latin and South American, Southeast Asian, Chinese, Italian and more styles of food are prepared in establishments steps from one another along Main Street. Plus, it’s got two craft breweries (Czig Meister and Man Skirt) right downtown, with Jersey Girl just a quick jaunt up the road.

And, not for nothing, Mars Wrigley has a facility in town, so you can got some global food, wash it down with craft beer and then—why not—have some M&Ms.

With plenty of options at hand, we opted for the Main Street Cafe, with its large menu of Colombian entrees, plus tacos, burritos, baleadas and more.

We recommend you get something with cassava in it. Main Street Cafe treats the tuber right, frying it and thus giving it a tender flesh and crispy skin. It’s starchy innards hold up to whatever’s heaped on it, and if you’re not familiar with it, you’ll quickly find its slightly nutty, vaguely bitter taste irresistible.

It was both the foundation and star of a fried cassava and pork cracklings plate—meaty spears of cassava are topped with abundant chunks of crisped, unctuous pork belly. It’s all smothered in a mild, slightly sweet pink sauce, crunchy cabbage and queso fresco. The balance of sweet and savory is perfect, and the fattiness of the pork balances out all the acidic notes in the dish.

Too, it comes in a portion that we’d be impressed if you could eat it all. Go try it; let us know if you did.