Alt Eats Tour
Like Pittsburgh, CBus is filled with a variety of ethnic cuisines. In fact, CBus 1 in 10 people in the city is born oversees and the city is home to the second largest Somali population in the country. So, you know when there is a vast amount of ethnic diversity, there is going to be some delicious ethnic eats.
To get a sampling of a variety of ethnic cuisines, we boarded the “Alt Eats Tour,” arranged by Columbus Food Adventures, a guided food tour company hosting tours like the “Taco Truck Tour,” “Dessert Tour,” and “German Village Walking Tour,” just to name a few.
All aboard the Alt Eats Tour, we headed to the strip mall-filled ‘Burbs and tested out four ethnic cuisines:
1. Vietnamese at Mi Li Café
At Mi Li Café, the owner hand makes each banh mi to order, even whipping up her own mayo. This was my first go at a banh mi and I was delightfully surprised how much I enjoyed it. My next try at Vietnamese cuisine will be pho.
2. Nigerian at Intercontinental Restaurant
On the tour, we learned that West African food is spicier than East African cuisine, and I can vouch for this plate that the cuisine was definitely spicy. We sampled moi moi (black eyed peas soaked and pealed and mashed and baked low and slow in the oven), jollof rice (rice mixed with the “trinity”- onions, tomatoes, and hot peppers), and egusi (ground melon seed cooked with spinach). This plate was filled with food I’ve never experienced up until this tour… and it has me yearning for more!
3. Southern Indian Cuisine at Udipi Café
You know, I’ve never had Indian food either. But, I’m glad I did in CBus. Dosas, Idli, and uttarpam and an arrangement of sauces fill our bellies from India.
4. Somali from Solay Bistro
My favorite stop on the trip was at Solay Bistro. The food was delicious, the owner, Nadira Abdirahman, was warm and welcoming, and well, I could have stayed here all night drinking chai tea while watching the Olympics. At Solay Bistro, I learned that Somali cuisine has influences from Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern, and other African cuisines, truly making it unique. It’s not strange to fine a pasta dish (such as Alfredo) on the menu next to an offering of goat. Yes goat (pictured above). The goat tasted somewhat like lamb, but more tender and was serviced in a sauce you just wanted to slop up with whatever you got your hands on, mostly the homemade breads.
The Alt Eats Tour of Columbus really has me wanting to experience these same cuisines in Pittsburgh. I’ll be taking your recommendations on where to go… strip mall locations welcomed! Learn more about the Columbus Food Adventures tours at: columbusfoodadventures.com