I noticed when I drove past the Fresh Oriental Market on Williamson Road last Wednesday that the lights were out at about 8 p.m. Since I knew it was usually open later than that, I suspected something was amiss.
Sure enough, the market at the corner of Williamson and Liberty roads has closed. The owners, Hien and Shilin Bui, also own Pho Viet Nam restaurant on Orange Avenue and opened QQ Bubble Tea in the Roanoke City Market Building in April. When I talked to Hien Bui yesterday, he said they decided to close Fresh Oriental Market because they have too many other things on their plate now.
I hope the Vietnamese restaurant and the bubble tea place work out, because it would be sad to see the owners sacrifice a longstanding business for the new endeavors. I wish them the best of luck.
Meanwhile, this reminds me that it’s been a few years since I did my series about ethnic markets in the Roanoke and New River valleys (That link is to Part 1 of the series; scroll down and click links in the bar on the left of your screen to see the other three parts). The landscape has changed since then. Certainly, some of those stores are still going strong or have expanded, but others have closed and new shops have opened since then. I think I ought to do another round-up to update readers on where they can shop for specialty food items.
I see some new markets when I’m driving around, but I’m sure I have missed some. If you know of an ethnic market (whether it be Asian, Mediterranean, Latino, a mix of ethnicities or any other kind), please let me know so I can make sure they are not left off my list.
Do you shop at any ethnic markets?