Update: Exotic star apple, dragon fruit available at newly opened Asian market

Coconuts, kiwi, mangoes and other fruits line display counters at the Trade Viet store in Boise.
Coconuts, kiwi, mangoes and other fruits line display counters at the Trade Viet store in Boise.

In the few days since it has opened, the Trade Viet grocery store has seen a run on star apples.

The green-skinned fruit, about the size of an orange, is meant to be massaged first, then broken open so you can drink its milky liquid. That’s why it’s commonly known as milky fruit. The inside reveals a star pattern when cut, and is typically scooped out with a spoon.

Shipped from Vietnam, the fruit was not available in Boise before Trade Viet opened. The store in Southwest Boise, at 10539 W Overland Road, has gone through 40 boxes, with 12 fruits per box.

“People love them,” store owner Joey Do said Tuesday.

The store, which opened late last week, has a large selection of unusual fruits, including golden and sand pears, Kent and Manila mangoes, dragon fruit and others.

“It really smells good,” said Hannah Nguyen, pushing a cart through the produce section. “I’m impressed by the size of the store and the variety they have.”

Trade Viet (1)

Shelves that were empty a week ago are now filled with Asian products from a host of countries, including Vietnam, China and Thailand. There is also a small selection of fresh meat, plus frozen cases filled with shrimp and other items.

Several people ate pho and other Vietnamese dishes at the store’s small food court.

Do said he is pleased with the number of people who have come by. “Customers have found we’re open,” he said.

A grand opening will take place Friday, Feb. 16, the Vietnamese New Year, the same date as Chinese New Year.

Dragon fruit, a member of the cactus family, is increasingly found in the United States. It is typically cut in half and the flesh scooped out with a spoon. John Sowell

The story below was published Feb. 1, 2018, under the headline, “This new Vietnamese market and eatery will be Boise’s largest Asian grocer.”

The books and videos are long gone from the old Hastings store at Overland and Five Mile roads. Soon the building, vacant for two years, will be filled with rice, fish sauce, fruits, vegetables and other products with a Vietnamese theme.

Owner Joey Do said he hopes to open Trade Viet Market within the next couple of weeks. The 22,683-square-foot building, built in 1978, has been remodeled and will be ready to open as soon as groceries arrive and are placed on the shelves, he said.

Do, who was a co-owner of Pho Le restaurant on Broadway Avenue before selling his interest in November, said he also will set up a small food court at the store. Seating will allow patrons to eat soup and Vietnamese entrees in a space at the front of the store that overlooks the parking lot.

The store will be larger than existing Asian markets in Boise. India Foods, at 6020 W. Fairview; Asia Market, at 9975 W. Fairview; the Orient Market, at 4806 Emerald St., and The Diana Oriental Market at 10387 W. Fairview Ave., have less than 5,300 square feet each.

“People have to run around to different places to get what they need,” said Do, who has lived in the Treasure Valley for 25 years. “We want to have everything they need in one spot.”

This story has been corrected to say Do is no longer an owner of Pho Le restaurant. His former partners, Greg and Hoa Campbell and Thuan Tran, own it.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @JohnWSowell

Related stories from Idaho Statesman