One of my absolute favorite foodie things I did in 2017 was visit Jungle Jim's International Market in Fairfield, Ohio near Cincinnati. It was a totally unplanned and unexpected spontaneous stop - and isn't it the best when you discover something new that way?
I took a road trip to Ohio with two of my boys for a college visit and we also spent a couple days in Cincinnati since it was my first time in Ohio and we were driving through to get to our destination. As we drove through the Cincinnati area headed to the campus, I noticed a big building with "Jungle Jim's" on the side along the expressway and figured it was some kind of kids' entertainment center similar to the Chuck E. Cheese locations. I could not have been more wrong!!!
Once we got to Shawnee State for the campus visit, my son met up with a student there that he had met online and we were chatting and I told her I write a food blog and she told me I had to go to Jungle Jim's. She explained that it was a big international market and had tons of food there, but was hard to describe. It really is hard to describe (Like there is a whole section dedicated to hot sauces from around the world - and with a real full-size fire engine suspended over it). It is such a cool experience and you'll find food there from every place you could imagine.
I went a little crazy and made my way through pretty much every aisle in this gigantic place. I found all my favorite imported foods that I like to grab when I find them - Walker's shortbread from Scotland, candies from Belgium, marzipan from Germany, green tea Kit Kats, teas, Asian noodles, Pocky from Japan and so many more things. It is an absolute foodie paradise and I seriously would like to make a trip back to the Cincinnati area just to return to this market -- and then build the trip around it. Isn't that what foodies do? LOL
I ended up working it into a slot where we didn't have a whole lot on our itinerary and we ended up spending well over an hour there and I could have easily spent another one or two more there. There are several ethnic food counters so you can sit and dine on Korean BBQ, sushi and other items -- beats the heck out of the pizza at hot dogs and Sam's Club. :)
Anyway, scroll through the photos below. And if you are a true foodie, this place will go on your foodie bucket list and you will make it your mission to get there. There are more than 150,000 products in their 200,000 square-foot store. Even a little movie theatre at the entrance to watch a video on the store's history. It is truly a destination, not just a store.
There are two locations, both just outside Cincinnati. Oh, how I wish they'd expand elsewhere - especially Chicago.