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Feature Stories

Nomad Asian Bistro a 'Hidden Gem'

From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 4

By Kirt Ramirez

It’s the restaurant people have trouble finding.

But those who have discovered Nomad Asian Bistro insist the food is excellent and the portions, generous.

Retired Long Beach City College commercial music faculty member Tim Parsch recommended the Marketplace center eatery to the Beachcomber.

“I just happened to go by there and saw it when they just opened up. So I went in and tried it,” Parsch said. “Unless you know it’s there, you’re not going to just stumble across it.”

Parsch, his wife Vickii and the family have returned often, either dining in or taking out.

“It’s kind of a hidden gem if you will,” he said.

“My wife likes the roti beef roll but I like the honey sesame chicken wings. Those are my favorite things on the whole menu,” Parsch added. “But there are lots of other things that are wonderful.”

A reporter tried to find Nomad in the Marketplace. After locking his bike near Trader Joe’s, he zig-zagged on the various walkways inside the shopping square – with storefronts all around – but did not see it.

Finally – almost out of the Marketplace bounds – the Asian bistro was found.

An easier way to locate Nomad is to enter the El Torito/Claim Jumper/Tilted Kilt/UA Theatre driveway on PCH. Go towards the Tilted Kilt and take the isolated roadway between the pub and the UA Theatre. Nomad is hidden directly behind the Tilted Kilt and is not visible from PCH.

The restaurant is quite spacious with Asian décor.

First-time visitor Wendy Jacobs, a licensed esthetician with Catalyst Skin & Body in Long Beach, said her meal was excellent. “I had the hand-made chow mein noodles. It was large, very fresh tasting and a great value.”

Jeff Kerby, a Trader Joe’s employee, goes to Nomad on his lunch break three or four days a week either alone or with co-workers.

“The food is great,” he said during a pause from spooning hot and sour soup as he waited for his order of orange beef with white rice. “There aren’t too many good Chinese places in Long Beach. This is the one.”

Trader Joe’s employee Allison Dill said, “I’m vegan. I eat here four days a week. They are super accommodating to me. I got the spicy green beans.”

Nomad is a mother-daughter operation with Taiwan-born Jamilla Ma being the mother and Linda Campillo being the daughter and only child.

“My mother has been in the restaurant business her whole life. She began working in the family’s noodle shop in her childhood,” co-owner Campillo later said in an e-mail.

“Food is her passion,” she said of her mother. “We decided to do a business venture together to be able to work with each other.”

Nomad opened April 26, 2013.

“The location is a little challenging. However, business is getting better and better every month,” Campillo said.

“My mother’s family has several restaurants in Northern California and Southern but there is only one Nomad Asian Bistro,” she added.

“The Ma family is Chinese. My maternal grandfather is from the Hunan province of China which a lot of people are familiar with, the Shaolin Temple area. My maternal grandmother is from Taizhong, Taiwan. They met after the Chinese Revolutionary War,” Campillo said of her grandparents.

“My mother’s family has been in the restaurant business for over 30 years. My grandfather went on his first business venture for one year in Hawaii,” she said.

“After my grandfather’s first business venture failed in Hawaii, he moved to Los Angeles California in the late 1970s to try his luck with the restaurant business like he did in Taiwan.”

Campillo said her mother’s favorite part of owning Nomad is watching people enjoy the food.

“Food is a vehicle into people’s hearts and mind. I like how people open up and share their joy and experiences with us,” Campillo said.

The menu can be found at Nomad is open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The website states:

“Nomad Asian Bistro prepares fresh Asian cuisine along with Hui specialties. The Hui are a Chinese ethnic tribe who originate from regions along the historic Silk Road. The unique blend of traditional Chinese food with Mediterranean influences introduced by Persian and Middle Eastern travelers along the trading route culminated in what we know today as Hui cuisine.”