International markets create community for immigrants in mid-Missouri

4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 2:34:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
By: David Estrada, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA – Although "Shwe Market International Foods" mainly sells Asian products and "Chihuahua Mexican Market" Hispanic products, both stores have one thing in common. They bring memories from a land far away.

Laldin Liana came to Columbia in 2015 from Burma. He says some of the foods in Shwe Market remind him of his home country.

"I like the store because, you know, there are some many kinds of my favorite here," he said.  

Zo Sanga is also from Burma. He came to the United States nine years ago, and since then he has not been back to his home country.

"We are coming to this store because our favorite food is all here," he said.

Gene Raiti is American, but his mother’s father was in the U.S. Air Force and worked in a station in Taiwan, after World War II.

Raiti said in the Asian store he finds products that remind him of his childhood.

"It's comfort food you had as a kid, and if you can't find it anywhere else, it's really nice to have some place where you can go and get it," he said.

Spenser Crum is also American, but her husband is Mexican. She is a customer at Chihuahua Mexican Market.

"A lot of the drinks and things I like here, they don't sell in other stores at all," she said. "My daughter is half-Hispanic, so I kind of got accustomed to the food that her dad eats, and the things he buys."

But these stores also represent a "safe environment" for people who have to adapt to a new culture, after moving away from their home countries.

MU Assistant Professor of Sociology and Black Studies, Tristan Ivory, said the process of acculturation can be very traumatic for people who have spent most of their lives with certain cultural reference points.

"That can cause a great deal of homesickness, and issues in terms of identity and finding one's place in the society," he said.

Ivory said ethnic stores could help those people cope with the feeling of being an outsider and feeling unwelcome in a particular community.

"Having stores and having places where people feel comfortable, where people don't feel they are under scrutiny, where people don't feel like they are being attacked are very vital," he said. "In some ways, places where you can be yourself, where you're not feeling like you're always kind of watched, or feeling as though people are judging you are pretty vital for people feeling, or embodying, their full selves."

Sanga said he comes to Shwe Market because he can relate to the owners of the store.

"We know these people, we are all Burmese people," he said.

Crum said the Chihuaha Mexican Market makes it easier for her husband to live in a foreign country.

"He feels a lot more comfortable. He misses being home, but being here, it's a lot easier when you have a store you can go to and get things that remind you of home," she said.

Ivory also said this type of store provides an opportunity for people to get to know other cultures different from their own.

"For the greater community at large, a lot of times ethnic restaurants, ethnic stores, cultural events, and cultural centers provide a window into parts of the world and other cultures beyond those that might be sort of long-term associated with a particular place," he said.

For that reason, Ivory said ethnic stores could also promote tolerance in society. He said those businesses allow people to come in contact with foreign cultures that could be similar or not too different from their own.

"I am not saying that ethnic grocery stores are the solution to all of the ills in terms of what's behind xenophobia or "other-ing" of people from other ethnic groups," he said. "But it can be one small step toward that."

Raiti also said Americans could learn about other countries by getting out of their comfort zone and visiting one of the international stores in town.

"It's a good way for people who aren't familiar with the culture and the food to see what's there, try new things," he said. "They can understand Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, whoever, that much better by eating the foods that they eat."

Crum also said international stores could bring people closer to foreign nations.

"It opens people's eyes to other culture. It helps people understand, a little more, the way that other people live and their customs," she said.

Co-owner of Shwe Market, Soethu Halmyo, and co-owner of Chihuahua Mexican Market, María del Carmen Portillo, said they are happy to provide a piece of their native culture.

More News

Grid
List
(CNN) -- Russian intelligence operatives attempted to hack into the online accounts of staffers on three congressional campaigns in the... More >>
40 minutes ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 8:46:27 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — As Charlotte, North Carolina, celebrates being chosen Friday to host the 2020 Republican National Convention, an... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 8:05:32 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- A cardiologist who treated former President George H.W. Bush was killed Friday morning in a bicycle-to-bicycle drive-by shooting... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 7:34:02 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department will move into a new neighborhood over the next few weeks. In July,... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 6:41:00 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A Steedman man was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of domestic... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 5:22:00 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — A Missouri man has pleaded guilty in the fatal beating of his 77-year-old grandmother while he... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 3:59:00 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The FBI is in possession of a recording between President Donald Trump and his former personal attorney Michael... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 3:38:16 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY – House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty will resign from the Missouri House of Representatives effective Sunday in... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 12:57:00 PM CDT July 20, 2018 in Top Stories
COLE COUNTY — The Cole County Sheriff’s Department responded to possible weapons violation on Thursday night. When the officers... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 11:47:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in Top Stories
(AP) - President Donald Trump has indicated that he's willing to hit every product imported from China with tariffs and... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 8:52:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
BRANSON - A press conference was held Friday morning following Thursday's fatal boat capsizing at Table Rock Lake. As... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 7:23:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
BRANSON (AP) — The death toll of the tragic duck boat accident has totaled 17 on Friday. It was... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 7:16:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
BRANSON - The recent boat incident that killed 11 and injured seven in Branson isn't the first time Ride the... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, July 20 2018 Jul 20, 2018 Friday, July 20, 2018 2:06:00 AM CDT July 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Thursday evening around 9:00 pm, two cars collided head-on at the intersection of Worley St. and W. Boulevard.... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 11:14:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A southern Missouri sheriff and a subordinate with whom he was having a romantic relationship have... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 10:46:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia confirmed Friday the household hazardous waste collection is cancelled. The waste collection was... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 10:16:00 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- More illnesses have been reported across the United States in two separate cyclospora outbreaks, federal health officials said... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 9:31:35 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Gun-rights activists have reached a settlement with the government that... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, July 19 2018 Jul 19, 2018 Thursday, July 19, 2018 8:57:04 PM CDT July 19, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 80°
10pm 79°
11pm 76°
12am 74°
1am 73°