International markets create community for immigrants in mid-Missouri

1 year 8 months 1 day 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
SPRINGFIELD- A retired Catholic priest has been charged in Missouri with multiple counts of child sexual abuse stemming from... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 7:54:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - While the snow disappears with warmer weather, potholes are opening in roads around mid-Missouri. Street division employees... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 5:43:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A U.S. Army Veteran is passing through Jefferson City on Thursday as part of his effort to... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 4:37:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
ASHLAND - After the Landmark Bank and Simmons First National merger on February 18, residents in Ashland are seeing some... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 4:16:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Clean Missouri was approved by 62% of Missourians in 2018. Now, some Missouri lawmakers want to reverse... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 3:19:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A public defender representing a Columbia man who plotted a terrorist attack has asked for a 15-year sentence.... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 2:43:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – People from all around Missouri and lawmakers packed into a hearing room in the Missouri Capitol Wednesday... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 2:22:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia parents and candidates for the Columbia Board of Education met Wednesday to discuss special education. This... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 2:04:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - State lawmakers on the House Elections and Elected Officials committee heard testimony on a bill that could... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 12:59:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A Fulton man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for a 2018 Columbia homicide. 30-year-old... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 12:23:00 PM CST February 19, 2020 in News
FULTON - The State Technical College of Missouri is partnering with the Callaway Chamber of Commerce to provide the MoAMP... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 10:55:00 AM CST February 19, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced his candidacy to keep the seat Wednesday. Schmitt was appointed... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 10:13:00 AM CST February 19, 2020 in News
Loxahatchee, FL – According to the national institute of mental health, nearly one in five people in the United States... More >>
2 days ago Wednesday, February 19 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 9:20:00 AM CST February 19, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — The man suspected of shooting an off-duty police officer at a Walmart store in the... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, February 18 2020 Feb 18, 2020 Tuesday, February 18, 2020 8:53:16 PM CST February 18, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - One Missouri advocacy group will show up in numbers to support its cause on Wednesday. Decoding... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, February 18 2020 Feb 18, 2020 Tuesday, February 18, 2020 7:50:00 PM CST February 18, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA-- Lawyers for a Columbia businessman, Dimetrius Woods, are employing last ditch efforts to keep him out of prison. ... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, February 18 2020 Feb 18, 2020 Tuesday, February 18, 2020 7:00:00 PM CST February 18, 2020 in News
BOONE COUNTY - A deer was saved today at Lake Chapperal, north of Hallsville, by The Boone County Fire Protection... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, February 18 2020 Feb 18, 2020 Tuesday, February 18, 2020 5:21:00 PM CST February 18, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones issued a statement on Tuesday about police transparency, following the release of a... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, February 18 2020 Feb 18, 2020 Tuesday, February 18, 2020 5:06:00 PM CST February 18, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 27°
11am 33°
12pm 38°
1pm 40°
2pm 43°