Why you should explore Columbus, Ohio’s Vibrant Ethnic Food Scene

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Columbus, Ohio is full of surprises from having one of the largest gay communities in the US (and the bars to back it up) to having an awesome historic German neighborhood to being a haven for the arts and small business start-ups. It’s the Mid-Western American city that you didn’t know you need to visit. Sure, it may seem a little off-the-beaten path but that’s because IT IS off-the-beaten-path. With so much to offer, it won’t be long before it becomes well-known and more people start taking long weekends to the city. Get there before it gets too crowded, open your mind, and enjoy a not-so-conventional holiday.

Why you should explore Columbus, Ohio's Vibrant Ethnic Food Scene (Read More) - My Normal Gay Life Blog
Free-Photos / Pixabay

Free-Photos / Pixabay


Tours Galore

Just like any city you visit these days, you’re bound to discover a number of tours in Columbus that’ll show you what the city has to offer. Do you love coffee? There’s a tour for that. If beer is more your thing, give the Columbus Ale Trail a try. You can even explore the great outdoors and Columbus’ parks by following the Scioto Trail. Buy my personal favorites are the food tours offered by Columbus’ very own Columbus Food Adventures.

Alt Food Tour
Why you should explore Columbus, Ohio's Vibrant Ethnic Food Scene (Read More) - My Normal Gay Life Blog
andics / Pixabay

Columbus Food Adventures offers a variety of unique food experiences so that you can get a taste of the city…whatever your taste. These food tours take you into different parts of Columbus where you might not otherwise venture and let you taste the local side of things. You’ll explore the Short North Arts District, or the German Village, or even venture around to Columbus’s huge taco truck scene. My personal favorite is the Alt.Eats.Columbus food tour which focuses on the out-of-the-way and lesser known ethnic cuisine establishments. On the Alt Eats tour, you’ll try foods from all around the world which you normally wouldn’t be able to get unless you visited these countries. Trust me, there are a lot of ethnic restaurants in Columbus, Ohio which is pretty unexpected and your expert guide will answer any questions you have, recommend other restaurants you should try, and share his/her knowledge of the foods you are eating.

Why Are There So Many Ethnic Restaurants

Well, the short answer to this question is …refugees. People seeking asylum in the US, for whatever reason, are often settled in the Mid-Western part of the country. Before becoming a travel blogger, I worked for an organization focused on resettling refugees and certain Mid-Western cities met the majority of our criteria to help these people in need. So that’s basically the answer to that question. These refugees bring with them a wealth of culture including incredible, delicious food. Columbus is home to a number of refugee communities that have successfully incorporated themselves into the local scene without losing their identity. Luckily, as a result, we can all sample and enjoy their cultural cuisine!

Why you should explore Columbus, Ohio's Vibrant Ethnic Food Scene (Read More) - My Normal Gay Life Blog
Pexels / Pixabay
My Experience

When my husband and I arrived at the meeting point for the food tour, we checked in and loaded onto a large passenger van that was really quite comfortable. It takes about 15 minutes to drive out to the area where most the ethnic restaurants are and as we rode along, I realized I would never venture to the area on my own. The Alt.Eats.Columbus food tour takes you to a section of the city where tourists normally will not venture and I think it’s fantastic. Our stops included:


  • A Southern Indian Restaurant
    • We enjoyed dosas, idli, and utterpam at this stop.  
  • A Mexican Bakery
    • Churros were the pastry of choice here. 
  • A Nigerian Restaurant
    • The foods we tried here included moi moi, jollof rice, and egusi. 
  • A Vietnamese Restaurant
    • The best Bahn Mi I’ve ever had was the sample here. 
  • A Kenyan Restaurant
    • At this restaurant we tried samosas, a beef stew called Karanga Ngombe, and Chai.

Come hungry because, while a sampling is what you should expect, servings are generous and you will definitely have more than your feel of exotic, tasty food. At each stop, you taste a sampling of the foods and the menu can change each time so feel free to do the tour more than once. Not only can the menu change, but the tour itself will change each time. With over 80 partner restaurants, there are quite a few tour combinations just waiting for you to explore including cuisine from Lagos, Turkey, Somalia, Honduras, India, and China (just to name a few). It’s the perfect way to understand the Columbus’ local refugee community and contribute to their well-being while also trying something new!

Check out the best gay bars in Columbus, Ohio here

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Would you expect such a large ethnic food scene in Columbus, Ohio?

J. Harvey

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Why you should explore Columbus, Ohio's Vibrant Ethnic Food Scene (Read More) - My Normal Gay Life Blog

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J. Harvey

J Harvey is a travel writer based in North Carolina. With two masters degrees, he decided to forget working a normal 9-5 job and instead create a travel blog focusing on travel for a more inclusive community. He hopes to increase LGBT representation within the travel industry while inspiring others to travel in whatever capacity.

J. Harvey has 185 posts and counting. See all posts by J. Harvey

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