In English we have bread, cookies, and cakes; in Polish, chleb, ciastka, and ciasta. No translation is needed, however, for espresso and cappuccino (though a spell-checker couldn't hurt). The names of these two beverages are loanwords, which are rendered in the recipient languages just as they are in the donor language.
"Loan," some linguists maintain, is misleading, since the original spelling is appropriated rather than borrowed with the expectation of return. Payback, however, can take many forms, in this case through the acknowledgement of the preeminence of Italian coffee culture. The local Polish-American community offers a culinary return, too: On the largely Italian-American menu, several items that include sausage also have a kielbasa analog. I have my eyes on a hot sub with kielbasa, peppers, and onions.
At certain sunny times of day when the blinds are set just right, the signage by the front door suggests, inadvertently, a lenticular ad — the sort that changes its appearance as you change your point of view. So, too, with the menus. Originally, citing one bill of fare, I'd written that daily dim sum service begins at 4:00. However, a separate dim sum menu, the sort with boxes to be ticked off, gives hours of 11:30-3:30 daily and lists even more items. Thanks for the fact-check, Anne!
Silver Pond 230 Main St. (Gerome-Center Aves.), Fort Lee, New Jersey 201-592-8338
Gari, granular fermented cassava, is a component of many West African meals. Lightly fried, perhaps in palm oil, it decorates Ghanaian waakye; cooked in boiling water, it is transformed into a wad of Nigerian eba. Gari keeps well at ambient temperatures, an important factor when refrigeration may not be reliably available. It's likely that all the gari used in New York kitchens is imported from Africa.
So, too, are these cakes (170.25 g., $3), which list as ingredients just gari, sugar, and peanuts. To call them confections would be stretching the definition — the sugar is at best in equilibrium with the sourness of the gari, and the initial rush of peanut flavor tails off after a couple of crumbly bites — yet they are oddly compelling.
Also shown: the market beside its Jamaican neighbor, 14 Parish Caribbean Kitchen.
KB's African Market 96 Anderson St. (Pangborn Pl.-Linden St.), Hackensack, New Jersey 201-880-6773
"Sujux" — spelled many ways, but usually with a final "k" — denotes both a meat and a sweet. At a similar market that sources its wares from far and wide and is strongest on items from the Caucasus, a fellow customer once explained that the word refers to the oblong shape. (A language barrier thwarted fuller explanation.) The savory sujux is a dried sausage often made of spiced ground beef. Confections like these (1 lb., $14.99, courtesy of EthnoJunkie) typically consist of nuts strung on a stout thread, dipped in thickened fruit juice and dried, again and again, till the desired thickness is achieved.
Walnuts, as shown here, are common, but the thread that held them must have been uncommonly thin: I couldn't find a trace of it, by sight or by touch. Grape is an easy sujux flavor to find; this was my first taste of sour cherry.
Nizam International Groceries 608 Anderson Ave. (Washington-Lincoln Aves.), Cliffside Park, New Jersey 201-313-9540