Ethnic Expo

One of my favorite events held in Columbus (Indiana) is the Ethnic Expo. Every year for a weekend in October (as if October could get any better), the Expo features booths from countries all over the world, each serving multiple types of traditional foods and drinks from their countries. There is a different “host” country every year which makes it super fun. This year’s host country was Germany. There are musical performances throughout the weekend, as well as a parade Saturday morning. We’ve never made it to any of the performances or the parade, but the food booths have kept us more than occupied.

After the gym on Friday evening, Jake, Josh, and I made our way downtown to the Expo. We made sure to walk around to every booth (and stopped to chat with several friends along the way) to make sure we picked the best foods to try. One of the great things about being married to Josh is that he’s willing to get a bunch of “little bites” at a lot of different places to share, so we get to try a lot of different things, but don’t feel sick from eating too much.

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Our first stop was at Babushka’s Polish Foods where we sampled three pierogies. One pierogi was filled with meat, one with potato and cheese, and one with sauerkraut and mushrooms, all topped with onion, sauteed bacon, and sour cream.

Review: This booth gets a thumbs up from me! The potato and cheese filling was my favorite- the filling was creamy and gooey, the perfect balance of cheese to potato. The sauerkraut and mushroom was my next favorite- I loved the bite from the kraut with the earthy flavor of the mushrooms.

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Our second stop was to Uncle Zorba’s Gyros. Here, Josh and I split an original gyro- flatbread pita filled with lamb, tomato, onion, and lettuce topped with tzatziki sauce.

Review: This was my favorite food of the night! I have a serious love for any kind of warm pita/ flatbread…plus add in some tender lamb meat, tangy tzatziki sauce, and the crunch of the different veggies and it’s game over for me! We probably looked like animals, taking giant bites out of the gyro, food falling all over the ground lol

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The next stop on our food tour was La Petit Caraibes for a samosa. Pakistan was going to be our stop for samosas, but they were sold out before we could make it there, so Le Petit Caraibes it was. Samosas are crispy deep fried snacks usually with a savory filling. The samosa here had a creamy, spicy potato filling.

Review: While the filling was very tasty, overall the samosa was cold and not as enjoyable as if it had been served hot out of the fryer. I would be willing to try another samosa from there, if it was hot out of the fryer.

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Our next stop was at the Phillipines booth. We opted for an order of the pancit noodles (stir fried rice noodles with chicken and veggies) and the longganisa (Filipino sweet sausage).

Review: These dishes were delicious. The rice noodles were so yummy, I couldn’t stop shoving them in my mouth. I loved the texture- they were slightly crunchy from being stir fried. The longganisa was really good too- there was a nice crunch from the casing which contrasted nicely with the meat inside. And it was the perfect portion for snacking. I wasn’t able to get a pic of the sausage before Jake ate it all 😛

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Next up was the Vietnam booth for a giant steamed bun filled with some type of ground meat and crispy noodles.

Review: This was Josh’s favorite food of the night. It was definitely one of my top foods too. The texture of the bun was so fluffy and different than any other buns we see here in the US. The crunchy/meat filling worked really well with the soft texture of the bun. Delish! (Excuse the quality of the picture, it was dark and the street lights did not provide great lighting)

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Pholourie from the Trinidad and Tobago booth was next up on our food list. One of the reasons we stopped here was the pholourie came in an order of 10 dough balls and was only a couple dollars- who doesn’t love a lot of bang for your buck? Pholourie is a common snack food in Trinidad and Tobago of fried dough balls. This booth served theirs with (what I think was) tamarind sauce.

Review: Not what I expected. I didn’t know before trying this what exactly it was. I expected sweet dough balls with sugar, maybe something similar to what you would find at a Chinese buffet…I don’t know why lol but I did. The dough wasn’t sweet at all, but it was yummy. We dipped the dough balls into the tamarind sauce, which was tangy and kind of vinegary. This dish wasn’t bad, but I’m not sure about trying it again.

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The last stop of the night was at the Kenya booth for their Chapati flatbread. A friend had stopped at this booth for lunch earlier and suggested we try it out. Like I said before, I’m a sucker for flatbread, so I had to try it. The flatbread was served warm with your choice of a mild or spicy mango salsa.

Review: This dish was delightful. The flatbread was so warm, it tore apart really easily to dip into the mango salsa, which had just enough spice to amp up the neutral flavor of the flatbread. I would gladly order this again.

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Overall, our experience at the Ethnic Expo was great! I can’t wait to go back next year to try lots of new foods and eat even more of our familiar favorites!

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