TWIN FALLS — Set back from Addison Avenue West behind a chain-link fence, a local international market may pack a few surprises.
During my first visit to Asian Food Market on Friday, a bespectacled man greeted me as he examined receipts behind the half walls of the restaurant dining area. I introduced myself and poked around the shop while Yip Tse casually joked about how “the boss” worked him very hard.
I soon learned this was none other than his wife, Sokry Heng, who owns five businesses under the same roof: Asian Food Market, Pak N’ Ship, Addison U-Haul, Little India Restaurant and Pho Taki Restaurant.
“Normally Asian grocery doesn’t have an Indian restaurant,” Heng said, explaining that a former chef at the restaurant inspired the idea. She’s since used her love of cooking and invention to alter the recipes.
But while the restaurants are well known for their beef pho and butter chicken dishes, the food market is just as intriguing. Among its many shelves, you’ll find items such as Beijing Royal Jelly, dried sardines, African corn flour, Ukrainian bread and Russian beer.
There’s also a diverse selection of sauces, spices, noodles, rice, teas and eggs — including quail, duck and goose eggs, and salmon caviar.
“Whatever you can’t find at the grocery store, I probably have it,” Heng said.
And if she doesn’t have it, she can order it.
Asian Food Market carries items from Japan, Thailand, China, India, and Middle Eastern and African countries.
“I have like 100 items from (each) country.” After all, she added, why would she bother with just one?
Heng moved here in 2000 from Cambodia, where she met her husband. They opened Asian Food Market two years later. The business moved to 404 Addison Ave. W. in 2009 and gradually expanded with the restaurants, U-Haul rentals and FedEx center.
Heng said that when the FedEx facility in Twin Falls moved out to the airport, she decided to bring the shipping service to accommodate people who don’t want to drive that far.
“We do pretty good overall,” she said.
At her suggestion, I agreed to return later for the butter chicken lunch special (definitely worth it). But before I left, Tse asked me if I was married. When I said no, he said I just hadn’t found a victim yet — and to let him know when I had.
Grinning, I decided it was the fun-loving and passionate owners, perhaps more so than the contents of its shelves, that characterized the Asian Food Market.