Wednesday, November 11, 2009




Stephanie examines authentic rice steamers.

When Stephanie Crowder first announced to our small but diverse foodie group that she wanted to have our next get-together at her home, she also said that she wanted our party to have a Japanese theme. I was reluctant. I love to eat at Asian restaurants, but I don’t like to prepare the food myself. I had to put my thinking cap on to come up with something authentically Japanese.

Wayne, the founder of our group, recommended that I visit the Asian markets in Roanoke before deciding what I wanted to prepare. Since I’ve previously written about interesting local businesses in my blog, he thought I could combine my search for Japanese dish ideas with a tour and blog post on the area’s Asian markets. He volunteered to join me in the effort and suggested that we have Stephanie show us some of the best local markets.

Stephanie became addicted to Japanese food a few years ago when she sponsored an exchange student from Japan. Marina (the student’s American name) lived with Stephanie for over a year and introduced her to some of the best of Japanese cuisine.

Marina and best friend

Beautifully carved wall sculpture

We started our evening with dinner at Taipei, a wonderful Chinese restaurant. We then headed to three Asian markets to purchase ingredients for our upcoming dinner party.

The first market we visited, coincidentally, is also named Taipei. Owner Amay Liu made us feel right at home, allowing me to take all the pictures I wanted to while she introduced us to some new oriental foods. Taipei Oriental Market is located at 3120-B Peters Creek Rd. Roanoke, Va. 24019

Owner, Amay Liu

King Oyster Mushrooms

Thai Rice

Tapioca Pearls

Wayne gives potential ingredients for his party dish a thorough inspection

Next, we visited Worldwide Food Market, Inc. Owner Teap Chhouk. and his wife, Sovann, are from Cambodia and sell Asian furniture and gifts as well as food. They are located at 5623 Williamson Road, Roanoke, Va. 24012.

Teap Chhouck

Statues for sale at Worldwide Food Market

Fine hand-crafted steamers

Alters to the Buddha; Teap changes the food offerings daily

Our last stop was Fresh Oriental Market owned by Hien Bui. They are located at Suite 12, 2501 Williamson Road, Roanoke, Va. 24012 and are open Seven days a week from 10 AM-10:PM.

A customer of Fresh Oriental Market

I’m not sure I will be purchasing these; are they anchovies?

What is bloodmeat? Do I want to know?

Crabs aren’t just for eating!

What a wonderful time we had exploring markets that I didn’t even know existed.

We’re all looking forward to our dinner party at Stephanie’s. Only authentic Japanese, please! I’ll be posting a report on the outcome Friday. I hope you'll join us!

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