Late last year, I promised blog readers that I would revisit the subject of ethnic markets in the Roanoke and New River valleys. It had been about five years since I shared a comprehensive list with my readers, so I thought it was time to get out there and do a little scouting and update that list.
The result is what you see in today’s Front Burner column in Extra. Although the column includes a pretty long list of markets, I know for a fact that I’ve missed something. That’s because these markets are the kinds of businesses most people — including myself — discover either by word-of-mouth or by driving by and deciding to stop in. I hope that if you know of a market I’ve missed you’ll give me a little word-of-mouth so I can share it.
Also, while I reviewed five new-to-me markets in today’s paper, I discovered a sixth one after it was too late to get it in the story. I’d like to tell you a little bit about that market below (click “Read More”). To read the column and see the list, please click here. To see a recipe for Thai Curry, click here.
621-A Townside Road SW, Roanoke
This ethnic market and convenience store is located next door to Fiji Island restaurant in Roanoke. The sign says it is an Asian market, which is a bit confusing. When I went inside, I saw mostly Mediterranean and Middle Eastern products.
Nevertheless, this is a great little market. It was the first time I’ve ever had an owner approach me and ask if I needed any help finding a particular product. He said if the customer has a recipe, he can help them find the ingredients. He even showed me some of the unusual produce he had, which included tiny cucumbers about as big as a Tootsie Roll. He threw in a handful of them for free so I could try them.
This store has a wide variety of Middle Eastern snack mixes, produce, rice, meal mixes, cookies and other baked goods, ghee, flours, dried beans and lentils. And unlike any other ethnic market I’ve visited in Roanoke, this one sells beer. It’s probably because the store is located near so many apartments, but it would be nice to pick up a six-pack of Tsingtao to go with your spicy dinner.