We lunched yesterday at Ansari’s Mediterranean Grill in Eagan (writeup coming in a week or two). On the way out of the strip mall we noticed a sign for the Viet Hoa Lao market and decided to stop in and and see if they had one of the brands of white rice we like. They were out but I took the opportunity to take a look around the market for future reference. There used to be another Vietnamese grocery in the area—very close to The Cellars, a liquor store I used to stop in at (which seems to have turned into Atomic Liquors at some point*)—but it moved further west to Burnsville. The presence of another viable market where we could pick up rice and Asian vegetables and coconut milk and fruit and so forth without having to go very far from the highway would be a good thing. I am glad to report that Viet Hoa Lao fits the bill.
Though the efforts of the Trump/Sessions regime may have damping effects, I am very interested to see what the ethnic demographic breakdown of Minnesota will be in the 2020 census. It’s no secret that we have significant South East Asian populations in the Twin Cities but I’m curious about shifts in the distribution of these populations around the Twin Cities metro area. Vietnamese restaurants are all over the southern suburbs (I’ve reviewed some of these) but the clearer indicator would seem to be the spread of groceries, which necessarily cater more to in-culture customers than do restaurants. And the signs seem to be that the numbers of South Asians and Southeast Asians in the southern suburbs may be growing. I can only hope that the populations, stores and restaurants will also move further south and closer still to us.
Anyway, here is a quick look at the store (1964 Rahncliff Ct. in Eagan, right where Cliff Rd. meets the 35) courtesy a Pixel phone with a smudged lens. As you’ll see, they carry a good range of veg and groceries along with frozen meats and seafood. They also have a small kitchen in the back where I assume they make the prepared food on sale in the front of the store (I didn’t try any, obviously, having just eaten lunch, but it smelled good).
If you know of other Vietnamese markets in the southern suburbs do let me know. I do need to track down the earlier store which moved further west to Burnsville—I think they might be located in the large strip mall that is also home to Thai Curry House.
*The Cellars has not gone out of business, by the way. They seem to have just contracted to locations in Plymouth, Roseville and White Bear Lake.