Jersey boys (and girls) know that the Garden State has a language all its own when it comes to discussing our home turf. But did you know that some folks from one region of New Jersey might have totally different experiences from other folks in different regions? It’s true! Ask your friends in Northern Jersey what a Sloppy Joe is, and then call someone from South Jersey and ask them how they make a pork roll. The answers will surprise you!

Enter the NJ Vocabulary series. Here at Best of NJ, we’re breaking down the most interesting topics that are exclusive to New Jersey and sharing them with readers far and wide. You don’t have to be from outside of NJ to enjoy the series, either; we’re willing to bet even lifelong natives won’t know about a few of these items. So sit back, relax, and be sure to check back often for new installments of NJ Vocabulary.

NJ RipperThe Ripper

Philadelphia has the cheesesteak, Chicago has deep-dish pizza and Portland has whatever the hell kale is — but when it comes to regional cuisine, nothing is quite as unique and delicious as the Ripper at Rutt’s Hut in Clifton. Rutt’s Hut opened in 1928, and it didn’t take long for the eatery to become the preeminent hot dog joint in North Jersey…

NJ Tomato PieThe Tomato Pie

It shouldn’t be any different, right? It’s the same three ingredients, simply arranged in a different order. But just as 123 isn’t the same as 312, changing the order changes everything. And there’s something delicious in the special way an authentic Trenton tomato pie is made — which is why it’s this week’s New Jersey vocabulary word…

NJ Pork RollThe Pork Roll

It’s breakfast. It’s lunch. It’s dinner. It’s brunch. It’s a sandwich, a pizza topping, a side dish or a main course. If you’ve ever been in a New Jersey diner (and if you haven’t, you’re living wrong), you’ve seen pork roll on the menu and smelled the smoky aroma in the air. It can be found in restaurants and grocery stores across the tri-state region…

NJ Sloppy JoeThe Sloppy Joe

While some can argue that a New Jersey tomato pie is similar to a pizza, comparing a New Jersey Sloppy Joe to a Sloppy joe anywhere else is impossible. And there are still some New Jersey residents who aren’t aware of the difference. That’s why Sloppy Joe is our New Jersey Vocabulary word of the week…