Our favorite Ohio Foodie Instagram is @Nom_Life! They know of the best places to find the most delicious food all over Ohio! Their Insta page features thousands of top notch Ohio noms. We were fortunate enough to interview Ewa & Jeromy about their Life of Noms!
Question 1: What are your favorite restaurnts in Ohio's biggest cities - Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati?
If we're in Cleveland, we're getting dim sum whether we want to or not (we always want to). It's a family tradition to gather at least 10 relatives and set up base at either Bo Loong, Li Wah or Emperor's Palace on a Sunday afternoon. When ordering off the rolling carts, be sure to get: ha gao (shrimp dumplings), sui mai (pork dumplings), sticky rice with meat filling, cheung fun (various meat fillings wrapped in rice noddle), dan ta (egg tart), and cha siu bao (BBQ pork bun). These are some recommendations, but really, you should give everything a try. The great part about dim sum is that it’s all small portions (like Chinese tapas). You'd also be remiss if you didn't order a dish of beef ho fun.
Columbus is an eclectic place for food with a lot of different options. A fun way to spend a weekend night with friends is at Gogi on Bethel Road. If you've ever had Korean BBQ, you know that this the experience is just as much about having fun as it is about the food. We recommend ordering one of their 3 meat combos (or more, depending on how big your group is). When they bring it out, you get to cook the food on a grill, which is built right into the table! You get a bunch of side dishes, called banchan, with each combo, so the variety is there. You can never go wrong with the steamed egg or spicy beef soup either. Next, you’ll want to order copious amounts of soju. Enough to take a group shot every 10 minutes.
After dinner, you should hit up The Voice Karaoke Bar (near OSU campus) to keep the good times rolling.
Our favorite spot in Cincy is Sotto , no question about it. This Italian restaurant is located right downtown and features one of our favorite dishes ever (more on that later). When you get inside, and go down into the basement for the dining room, you’ll find a very dim light atmosphere. You get the vibe that this is a classy joint. However, you’ll be pleasantly surprised as it is quite lively. The menu itself focuses on simple, rustic Italian fare. However, the spotlight dish is the truffle pasta. The perfect amount of truffle flavor drapes the pristine cooked pasta to create the ultimate umami flavor for your lucky mouth. This was better than some of the truffle dishes we had in Italy, no joke! We’re not sure if this dish is always on the menu, so you’ll want to check beforehand.
Question 2: What is your favorite type of cuisine and where is your favorite local place to eat it?
We both grew up with, and love all kinds of Asian food. For Ewa, Japanese food is a must. Tensuke Market is our favorite anytime spot in Columbus. This spot is a Japanese grocery store/restaurant hybrid. They offer tasty Japanese street meals such as udon, curry rice and yakitori. However, where they really shine is the sushi. They share a fish plug with Akai Hana (the neighboring Japanese restaurant which they also own). The fish is high-quality and affordable — 2 things that go really well together.
For Jeromy, his favorite hangover cure meal is Arirang , a Korean grocery store with a little restaurant in the back (sensing a trend yet?). You’ll get a bunch of banchan with your meal and you can do some grocery shopping after! What makes that even better? That their soups are only $6.99.
Must Try Item
At Tensuke -- Any of the sushi rolls, nigiri or sashimi. You can customize your order at the sushi window, or grab a pre-made pack to go. Another bomb dish is their tonkatsu curry over rice. At Arirang, their top dish is the Yuk Gae Jang (spicy beef and vegetable soup).
Question 3: What is your favorite dish & Where can we find it in Ohio?
You could sneak into Jeromy’s dad’s house and see if he’d make you his famous Chinese style spare ribs. But, if you’re not down for that, our next favorite dish is Shrimp Paste Ong Choy (xia jong ong choy). This is a very simple dish, but might not be for everyone -- The shrimp paste flavor can be overwhelming to some. It’s Ong Choy (a kind of Chinese vegetable), sauteed in shrimp paste and garlic. They serve it at most sit-down Chinese restaurants, even if you don’t see it on the menu. Just be sure to drink a bunch of tea and eat some mints after, because your breathe will be kickin’.
Question 4: How did you get the idea to start Nom_Life?
Our lives have always centered around food. Jeromy's family owned a restaurant and Ewa's father has worked in the food industry for over 25 years. We even met while working at Ho Wah Chinese restaurant in Cleveland (shout out!) Growing up, both of us knew how much blood, sweat and tears go into the restaurant business. But it’s all worth it because food is something that brings people together. Whether it's a first date, a family gathering or a group of old friends getting together -- the meal may be temporary, but the moment can become a favorite memory.
We originally started the Nom Life IG for fun. There wasn’t really a greater goal, other than to showcase the food that we love and to highlight places that we frequented. As our follower base grew, we started using the platform to encourage people to try new places or dishes that may be outside of their comfort zone. Hopefully, they create a great memory by visiting the spots that we feature!
What has been your favorite part of the Nom_Life journey?
Our favorite part of the Nom Life journey has definitely been the people. We’ve been lucky to meet so many talented chefs, bartenders and people in the food industry. These people help to shape the culinary scene in Columbus and in the other cities we visit. We can feel the passion and dedication these people put in their work, and we appreciate their drive.In addition, our followers have been our biggest inspiration. It’s really rewarding to have such an active following who we can engage with and share (or receive) restaurant and food recommendations. We love and appreciate everyone who follows us. It is incredibly exciting when someone posts a picture or tags us in a photo of a restaurant they tried because they saw it on our page.
Why do you enjoy exploring Ohio?
The best part of exploring Ohio are the surprises. When people picture Ohio, they imagine flat farmland as far as the eye can see. While it’s true that this covers most of the state, the hidden gems are what make the exploration worth it. Taking a trip to the newly renovated Edgewater Park in Cleveland (which you previously saw a fish die in the water at), you’re surprised by how beautiful of a little beach it is now. Or, walking through any of the state's’ Metro Parks, you’ll be surprised at how expansive the sprawling forests are. How about visiting The Wilds in Zanesville and being surprised that the largest wildlife conservation center in North America is right in our backyard? Seriously, you get to drive right up to the rhinos!