Ethnic eateries add spice to city’s dining scene

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Andy Dehus, co-owner of Columbus Food Adventures, is leading a group of hungry and inquisitive epicureans around town in search of ethnic eats.

As he pulls his van into the parking lot of Panaderia Guadalupana, a Mexican bakery on the north side of town, he describes the upcoming experience with all the excitement of a storm chaser following a tornado as it swells in size.

“If you haven’t had a fresh churro, you haven’t had a good one,” Dehus says.

The enthusiasm over authentic ethnic food in Ohio’s capital is spreading rapidly, and the growing interest is well-founded. In a state where immigrants account for roughly 4% of the 11.7 million population, Columbus’ foreign-born population is nearly triple that, accounting for more than 11% of the city’s roughly 896,000 residents, according to DataUSA.

Participants in the Alt Eats food tour dig into freshly fried churros at Panaderia Guadalupana in north Columbus. The Mexican bakery prepares popular pastries and breads, including conchas and bolillos, throughout the day.

Immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America have brought a whole new flavor to the city. Visitors can get a taste at the North Market, the city’s public market near the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

But to really discover what new immigrants are cooking up in Columbus, visits to the city’s north and west sides are in order. It’s there that many excellent mom-and-pop ethnic restaurants, often located in former fast-food restaurants and strip malls, are attracting a lot of attention.

Abdilahi and Mohamed Hassan dish up flavorful Somali cuisine at Hoyo’s Kitchen. Abdilahi opened the restaurant named in honor of his mother, Hayat Dalmar, in 2014 after graduating from Ohio State University. (Hoyo means “mother” in Somali.) They soon opened a second location in Columbus’ well-loved North Market.

“The wonderful thing about Columbus is the city is small enough and accessible enough to easily take advantage of where the ethnic restaurants are located,” said Bethia Woolf, Dehus’ wife and co-owner of the tour company. “We don’t have as much as New York City, but it’s easier to get to different parts of the city where you find them.”

Lu Sha, a native of the northwestern China town of Ningxia, is the driving force behind Xi Xia, a western Chinese restaurant in Columbus. The menu is heavy with lamb and beef dishes, noodles and Szechuan foods, favored by the natives of northwestern China. “A lot of the food is from my hometown,” Sha says.

Within the I-270 ring road, diners can experience northern and western Chinese, Nepalese, Afghan, Somali, Yemeni, Mexican, northern and southern Indian cuisine, even an Indian restaurant that specializes in egg dishes.

“I love Columbus,” says Momo Ghar owner Phuntso Lama, who hails from Nepal. “It’s very warm and welcoming, and people are happy with what I’m doing, so I feel grateful.”

Columbus Food Adventures boasts 17 different nationalities on their three culinary tours.

“You can have authentic, travel-like experiences in Columbus,” Woolf says.

Source link

About the author: travelnews

Related Posts