Asian family grocery store an 'American Dream' story

Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Rebecca Spera continues her tour of international grocery stores with a stop at Viet-Hoa Supermarket
Rebecca Spera continues her tour of international grocery stores with a stop at Viet-Hoa Supermarket

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- One Houston family has embodied the American Dream as they emigrated from China to Vietnam and finally to the United States to open their own store.

Viet Hoa International Foods is a family-run grocery store. "Viet" stands for Vietnamese and "Hoa" stands for Chinese.

Vican Sun is the owner of Viet Hoa International Foods, and the name of the store has significance.

"My parents are descendants from China. After WWII, we migrated to Vietnam. After the fall of Saigon, everybody tried to escape," says Sun.

In 1982, he reunited with his family here in Houston.

"We are actually immigrants from Vietnam, so Chinese from Vietnam," he adds.

That's how they came up with the name Viet Hoa and opened the 4,000 square foot grocery store in 1984.

Now, it has expanded to over 100,000 square feet to accommodate shoppers from all over, offering up things like fish sauce and sriracha.

"Sriracha started by David Tran after the fall of Saigon, and he's just like us - a refugee," explains Sun.

He also says dragon fruit - the national fruit of Vietnam -- is a must-try.

"One good thing about dragon fruit is it's low cholesterol, low fat, high Vitamin C, and high calcium," says Sun.

When you cut this purple fruit open, it's a black and white sweet surprise on the inside.

You can't come to this market without stopping for a Banh Mi sandwich.

"Banh Mi is what Vietnamese call French bread," Sun explains.

"When you have a bite, you have different flavor come into play, so sometimes you question where this flavor comes from," he says.

Another food to try is Chicharone, or fried pork!

"It's one of the most popular sales in this store. Whoever tries it, they all come back for it," he says.

Viet Hoa also carries over 300 varieties of tea from loose to bagged. It's a part of entertaining, and a tradition to pour the tea over the bottoms of the cups to make the cup hotter when you drink the tea.

When they serve, instead of "Cheers," they say "Campe!"

"Campe is another way to say 'bottoms up,'" adds Sun.

Finally, a popular Vietnamese dessert is Che. Vietnamese desserts are usually very refreshing. They often have coconut milk, tapioca and fruit in them.

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