Jungle Jim’s in Ohio – a Food Lover’s Paradise

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Last Updated on May 20, 2015 by Chef Mireille

Well, it has been a few weeks since my last entry but I came back from Cincinnati quite ill. I am much better now and ready to tell you about Jungle Jim. Jungle Jim’s has got to be the largest international market in the country. – An adventureland for Foodies!!
Every country is represented in the world – from South Africa to Brazil to Turkey to Ireland to the Phillipines. Many European countries have their own little storefront’s in the country’s architecture – Ireland, Holland, France, Spain and Scandinavia – just to name a few. Very quaint!!
But every country has their own section – from the spicy salsa’s of Mexico to the strong coffees of Greece and Turkey. If you would like to have a native read your future in the coffee grains, you can purchase the coffee here or if you would like to see what the troops might be eating, you can try some Iraqi Date Syrup. My South African friends were always telling me about Tim Tam’s – now I can try them myself!!
White Coconuts, Red Tamarillos, Red Bananas and fresh Banana Blossoms are just a few of the products you can purchase in the expansive produce section. Usually I have to settle for the canned version in brine, when I am using banana blossoms in Thai or Malaysian cuisine. Once in a very rare while I am able to find one or two fresh ones in Chinatown, but here there was a whole section of them. I purchased a red tamarillo in order to try something totally unique. I did not even know how to eat it. After attempting to bite through the skin, I realized it was like a mango and the skin was not to be eaten and the inside had little black seeds like dragonfruit and it tasted like this – a cross between and mango and a dragonfruit.
There are lots of large exhibits also for your viewing and listening pleasure – the Campbell Soup Can on a swing welcomes you, The Cereal Bowl Band (characters from different cereals) plays music for you and there is a huge fire truck above the Hot Sauce isle – the largest Hot Sauce section I have ever seen. There are even some bottles inside a glass case titled Adult Oriented Sauces. These you must sign a waiver in order to purchase.
An expansive olive bar, butter from Ireland, beer from Poland, cheese from Norway, tea from Turkey, Zulu Spice Rub from South Africa, Valencia Orange Olive Oil, Sweet Potato Gnocchi and the list goes on – No matter what country you are from, you can find the foods from home here. My suggestion – if at all possible, DRIVE!! because you are going to want to take home so many rare goodies and since you can only carry a few ounces of bottled products or pay to check your luggage, you will be limited in what you can purchase.
I am sure I only mentioned half of what I experienced at Jungle Jim;s, so if you have the opportunity to visit Fairfield, Ohio – make it your business to visit Jungle Jim’s!!!
Oh, how I wish there was one in New York!!!

Chef Mireille
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