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Oriental Markets

by Joe Sing


Spring Volume: 1995 Issue: 2(1) page(s): 22

With the growth of the Asian population, food markets that cater to this population have proliferated and scores of Asian groceries have sprung up in the suburbs. Two decades ago, the only places Asians could go to for their native foods were the Chinatown areas located in large cities and to a few small groceries in the suburbs, many with a limited selection of Chinese food products. These smaller stores often had a gift section, did catering, and offered cooking classes for their American customers, as well. These small stores slowly gave way to large ones that stocked fresh vegetables and a larger selection of canned, dried, and frozen Oriental foods. Few, if any, had a fresh seafood or fresh meat department.

As Chinese populations in their areas grew, the smaller stores added fresh seafood and meat and some started Chinese deli’s featuring roast ducks, red-cooked chicken, barbecued whole pigs, roast pork strips, and even ready to eat dishes such as cooked chicken feat, pigs knuckles, beef tendons, noodle items, soups, and other delicacies. At some, one could even buy medicinal herbs and ginseng, patent medicines, and ointments. More recently, at Chinese, Indian, Philippine, and Japanese stores, one finds rental video tapes from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and other Asian countries. These rentals have, in many cases, become the most profitable items to their store owners. On Long Island, Country Meadow Farms, a Chinese market; Spice and Curry, an Indian market and restaurant; and Shim Nippon Doo, a Japanese store, are examples of those that feature videos for rent.

A few locations and featured items are listed below:
Shin Nippon Do (63 Mineola Avenue, Roslyn Heights, LI, NY 516-652-1814) is a small clean and well-organized Japanese food store. It carries a large assortment of dry and canned Japanese foods, fresh vegetables, frozen meats, and fresh fish. Home-made sushi and prepared meals are available, made on the premises. Japanese videos can be rented.
Country Meadow Farms (4145 Broadway, Hicksville, LI NY 516-938-0300) is one of the first Chinese supermarkets to open in Long Island's Nassau County, at the more western end of the island. It caters to the local Chinese population and to others interested in its wares. It has a large selection of dry and canned Chinese foods, fresh seafood and live fish, and a selection of well-trimmed pork and beef. The store features a hot buffet with a selection of home-cooked take-out dishes, and Chinese videos are available for rental.
Spice and Curry (on Hemsptead turnpike opposite the Nassau Medical Center, East Meadow, LI NY) is a popular eat-in and take-out Indian restaurant and grocery store with a good selection of Indian sweets. This large place carries a good variety of spices, rices, and grains. An Indian hot-food buffet is available at both lunch and dinner time. Indian videos are both for sale and rental.
Tacks Oriental Grocery (977 Richmond Avenue, Staten Island, NY (718-982-8888) is a new large Chinese supermarket, popular among the local Chinese and local Italian populations. This grocery has the look and feel of a city Chinatown market offering a wide variety of food items for many Asian populations.
Crown Plaza Oriental Food Center (1281 Highway 35, Middletown, NJ) deserves special mention because it features a large up-to-date supermarket, a Hong Kong-style seafood restaurant serving dim sum. And a Chinese bakery called Royal Cake Shop. These are together as one in a modern free-standing shopping center.
Kam Man and Kam Kuo in Manhattan’s Chinatown are perhaps the oldest large Chinese supermarkets in Chinatown. Kam Sen in Flushing, New York, Kam Lin in Elmhurst, New York, and Kam Sen in Tenafly New Jersey. are others owned and run by most successful operators of Oriental supermarkets, Mr. Terry Hwang, who has five large supermarkets in the New York area. Every one of these stores are well-run and stocked with fresh vegetables, fresh seafood, fresh meats, a prepared food deli department for take-out, and a wide variety of Chinese and other Asian dry and canned foods and related products. In addition to food and herbal items, this family of supermarkets carry Oriental gifts, books, herbs, household items, cookware, and more.
Rhee Brothers’ Koreatown (located on College Point Boulevard at 39th Avenue in Flushing NY) is a mega-market with a wholesale side and a retail market as large as a good-sized supermarket. This huge store with plenty of parking features mostly Korean foods with a good assortment of dry, canned, and frozen products from China, Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia. It has large vegetable, fresh seafood, and meat departments, as well as a good selection of prepared items, both fresh and frozen, and prepared Korean and Chinese take-out foods in a help-yourself area. Many ordinary and less popular household items such as electric heated rugs and Korean barbecue stoves are available, too.

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