Find Asian specialties at market

Chinese New Year

Asia Market 2 has traditional snacks for Chinese New Year on Feb. 10.

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 10:56 AM.

PANAMA CITY — Asia Market 2 has become a resource for area restaurants and residents, including the owners.

“If we need to cook anything, we just grab stuff here,” said Thuan Nguyen, who opened the door and turned on the lights at his parents’ store, Asia Market 2, on Tuesday morning before his mother, Oanh Nguyen, arrived.

A table just inside the entrance was filled with containers of ginger candy, as well as other snacks, such as bags of taro chips, rice crackers and seaweed crisps.

“This whole section is traditional Chinese New Year stuff. We don’t have it all the time,” said Thuan, who was raised in Lai Thieu Binh Duong, Vietnam, “a half hour from Saigon.”

His father, who is visiting Vietnam, came to the U.S. in 1981 with Thuan’s oldest sister and brother. The rest of the family followed in 1984. The Nguyens have owned the market since 2001.

“Vietnamese follow the same tradition. We have envelopes here,” Thuan said as he showed me some of the traditional red envelopes for Chinese New Year, which is Feb. 10, that were being kept behind the counter. “Major customers are Thai, Vietnamese and Filipino.”

His biggest restaurant buyers from the beach include Jazmine Thai Restaurant, Oishi Thai Restaurant and Ketana Thai & Sushi Restaurant.

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