Ann Arbor transplant’s accidental foodie Instagram account has mouths watering

An interview with Hsiao-wei Liao of ohheyyy_hsiaoweiii

Hsiao-wei Liao of Instagram account ohheyyy_hsiaoweiii.
Hsiao-wei Liao of Instagram account ohheyyy_hsiaoweiii. (Photo courtesy of Hsiao-wei Liao)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Having come to Ann Arbor to study at the University of Michigan 15 years ago, Hsiao-wei Liao, creator of the ohheyyy_hsiaoweiii Instagram account, didn’t plan to stay in Treetown long.

But much like her accidental foodie Instagram, Liao found herself an accidental Ann Arborite. After receiving two degrees from the University of Michigan and starting a family, Liao, who had planned to eventually move back to her native Taiwan, found that she called the city home.

With just under 2,000 followers, her Instagram account, ohheyyy_hsiaoweiii, wasn’t intended to be a popular Ann Arbor foodie account. But with a devoted following, the small account has continued to gain traction.

We emailed with the busy mom of two about her favorite dishes in the area and the challenge of being a foodie with kids.

A4: It’s pretty clear from your account that you’re an Ann Arbor foodie. What do you think is so special about the food scene in Ann Arbor?

Liao: “I think Ann Arbor has a very diverse food scene. You can have all sorts of Asian cuisine here, and Italian, Mexican, Mexican-inspired, American bistros, barbecue, even Ethiopian -- the list just goes on. Craving Korean fried chicken tonight? Well, no need to fly to NYC, because you can find some in Ann Arbor!”

“I had a cousin visit me from Taiwan a few years ago, and I took her to eat at a Chinese restaurant with lots of Szechuan Ma-La dishes. She was hooked - she wanted to eat there at least once a day. I found it so interesting (in a great way) that she could love Chinese food so much being from Taiwan, because it tasted familiar yet different from anything she could get back home. I haven’t tasted everything that this charming town has to offer, but I hope to keep working towards it!”

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A4: What inspired you to make a foodie account?

Liao: “I actually didn’t know that I had a foodie account, until a coworker who found me on Instagram informed me that I’m a “foodie”. Ha! I think it simply started with an appreciation for delicious food, and perhaps wanting to remember time spent together with friends over a tasty meal.”

A4: Not only are you a foodie but you’re also a mom. Do your children go on food adventures with you? Does this ever become a challenge?

Liao: “Having little kids can definitely be challenging when eating out. We [Liao and her family] certainly don’t eat out as much as we used to - and when we do, we have to pick a place that’s kid-friendly.”

“Another great thing about living in Ann Arbor is that it's very family-oriented, and we do run into a lot of servers who understand what it's like eating out with kids. I try to raise children who aren't picky eaters, but I also don't want to force them to try something when they just don't want to. I think as they get older, there will be plenty of opportunities to go on more food adventures together. I can't wait!”

A4: Do you have any favorite eateries in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti? Any go-to favorite dishes?

Liao: “There are so many great spots in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti! I’m always very excited to go to Mani [Osteria & Bar] and/or Isalita, because I can count on the food being delicious and the service being friendly. I must have the pork belly every time we go to Mani, it’s so good!”

“We go to Songbird a lot - great coffee, easy menu (for both adults & kids), plus the Northside location has a lot of space so we never have to worry about getting a table/seats. Weber's is classy but pretty kid-friendly, and our in-laws love going there when they visit. We also love Ma Lou's in Ypsilanti. I work for a nonprofit in town, so we do tend to frequent businesses that give back to our community. Just naming a few, but this list does not end!”

Check out ohheyyy_hsiaoweiii for lunch ideas, tasty food photography and the occasional photo of Liao’s cute kids.

Hungry for more A2 foodies? Read: Treat yourself with Ann Arbor foodie Instagram, smallgirl.fatappetite

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