ROCHESTER, NY – The Lunar New Year is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit. While retailers put out food and decorations to celebrate the special day, one couple in Rochester took time to celebrate at their business.
The Asian food market rings in the Lunar New Year.
“It’s like Christmas time when you come home,” said Asian Food Market owner Ling Ren. “So everyone has to come home and then stay together for one big family. If you have 10 brothers, 10 sisters, it’s everybody’s house. So we prepare Chinese New Year, eat together and then have fun together.
The retailer released red lanterns and red envelopes for the Year of the Rabbit.
“It’s a great opportunity, especially for kids, and they give out the red envelope,” said Rocky Ren, owner of the Asian Food Market. “good luck [and] Say hello to those with red envelopes.
Owners Rocky and Ling Ren opened their first Asian Food Market location in the Rochester area in 2007. It soon expanded to locations in upstate New York, such as Buffalo, Syracuse, and Ithaca.
“I’ve been here for 30 years,” Ling Ren said. “When I came here, not many supermarkets had fresh seafood. I grew up by the sea so I have to eat seafood. So my major was to open a seafood market. That’s why we opened it.
The couple felt there was a lack of Asian cuisine, a big part of their culture, and decided to create their own.
“We tried to find great Chinese food, but we couldn’t find it here,” said Rocky Ren. “And my husband and I decided why not open an Asian grocery here. Another thing is that we want to serve the Asian community better here,” he said.
They are offering different food options.
“Peking duck is a traditional Chinese dish and this is for everyone at home or if my neighbors want it,” said Ling Ren. “And we still have barbecue whole hogs, that’s very traditional because a lot of people in the Rochester area cook those and when you go to a restaurant, not a lot of people can get it.”
They are distributing food from all Asian communities.
“We have to serve the community, the Asian community better, because we have the mandate to better serve the Asian community and get more products and better serve them,” Rocky Ren said.
They hope not only to provide a taste of Asian cuisine, but also a sense of culture.
“Support the Asian community because Asian communities are still small,” Ling Ren. “We have to grow big.”
While serving customers on the busiest weekend of the year, they still like to remind everyone to have a Happy New Year.