Where in Henderson can a person find Japanese gobo root or authentic Mexican salsas?
Many might travel miles to Chinatown in Spring Valley to find Asian delicacies or other areas in search of Hispanic dishes.
In the middle of larger supermarkets and convenience stores, some markets in Henderson are offering ethnic-specific foods.
Cuevas Meat Market, 530 S. Boulder Highway, has been open since 2010.
In a city of more than 270,000 people, Henderson’s population is about 15 percent Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2010 census.
Cuevas Meat Market offers authentic cuisine found in the culture.
Cynthia Landeros, the finance manager, said the space had been another Hispanic food market before the owner, Manuel Cuevas, purchased it.
“We have the same product and clientele,” she said.
Some specialty items people might find there include carne asada, a variety of salsas, Mexican candies and treats.
“They are things you won’t find at a Walmart or at an Albertsons,” Landeros said. “Some stores are starting to add in some of those things, but it’s not the same. Our ingredients are authentic. Since it’s a Hispanic market, we know the tradition.”
There is also a traditional Mexican bakery that serves a variety of pastries.
Cuevas Meat Market even has a dining area for people to purchase a taste of the culture.
Landeros added that the market gets a surge of people in the area wanting carne asada.
The store still offers items similar to other stores with a produce section and aisles of canned and boxed products.
Despite catering to Hispanic traditions, Landeros sees the store as a typical market.
“People use us not because of our ethnic food per se,” she said. “They enjoy our prices along with our quality product. That’s what distinguishes us.”
Cuevas also owned a produce distribution company, allowing the store to get fruits and vegetables at a lower rate.
“Because other stores have to go through multiple distributors, it can get expensive,” Landeros said. “Since we buy directly, we don’t have to mark up the prices.”
The store maintains the quality ingredients while keeping the prices as low as possible, she added.
“Some stores keep the prices down or lure people in with deals, but when you get there, the quality isn’t good,” she said. “The product doesn’t match what they were advertising. I think that drives people away. It’s not good for business.”
Landeros said in the three years the business has operated under Cuevas, it has grown.
It recently received a license to sell beer.
“I think it adds to the business,” she said. “Some people like being able to go to a one-stop place and get everything they want as opposed to going to many different places.”
There are no plans to expand the market.
“It’s a really rough time right now to expand,” she said. “It’s very competitive in Las Vegas.”
Landeros said the business will keep the same community feel with only two cash registers.
The store is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
For more information, visit cuevasmeatmarket.com.
Surrounded by mostly franchise restaurants and businesses, Japan Creek Market, 9310 S. Eastern Ave., is nearly transparent at its location. Despite that, it offers what the other places do not: a variety of cultural foods.
The store, located off the 215 Beltway, is a hidden treasure for those looking for authentic Japanese food. Although small, the store caters to locals looking for a taste of Japan.
Henderson has about a 7 percent Asian population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau 2010 census, but customers hail from all over.
“We have so many different types of customers, not only Japanese but also Asian and Americans, as well, who like Japanese foods and products,” said Mizuho Ames, Japan Creek store manager.
The store has a kitchen in the back, where workers prepare hand rolls, sushi, onigiri rice balls and beef and vegetable bowls. Ames said the store’s bento boxes, a lunchbox with rice and three sides, are one of the most popular items.
She added that the meals are made fresh every morning.
During the holidays, Japan Creek sells osechi-ryori, a traditional Japanese meal eaten only on New Year’s Day. The meal consists of fish, meat and vegetables. Each item has a special meaning that promotes good health, good harvest and happiness.
Ames said the store starts selling the popular homemade meals on New Year’s Eve.
Workers make it a priority to help customers who cannot understand Japanese.
Margo Newman, a customer, said that although she does not speak or read Japanese, the workers always help her find what she needs.
“I love Japanese food,” Newman said. “Now that money is tight, I’ve been trying to cook more at home. I can’t read most of the Japanese labels, so I usually ask the workers for suggestions. They’re always helpful.”
In addition to kitchen meals, the store sells baked goods from Mammoth Bakery, which delivers fresh items every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The store also has popular brands of Japanese beer, such as Sapporo and Asahi.
Cooking ingredients, such as Panko breadcrumbs, homemade tofu, fish, Japanese sauces, noodles and fried rice mix, are abundant throughout the aisles.
Exotic fruits and vegetables such as daikon radish, satsuma mikan, a Japanese style of orange, and shiitake mushrooms are mostly imported from California, while the rest of the items come mainly from Japan.
The owner, Yasuyuki Tauchi, opened the market in 2009. Ames said Tauchi previously owned a Japanese restaurant but ran into financial hardships.
Since there was a need for a Japanese market in the area, Tauchi opened Japan Creek Market and has been attracting decent business ever since.
“There are some Japanese grocery stores in Las Vegas, but most of them are located on the west side of town,” Ames said. “Tauchi liked this location because it has good access to 215 highway.”
For people who want to cook Japanese meals with meat, the store offers sukiyaki and shabu-shabu meat, which is used for a Japanese dish consisting of thinly sliced beef boiled in water.
A unique item that cannot be found at most regular stores are quail eggs, which are often used in Japanese cuisine.
The store also has plenty of Japanese beverages, snacks, cookies, candies and ice creams in stock.
“This place has a good mixture of Japanese seasonal items that I can’t find at regular grocery stores,” said Megumi Sugiyama, a customer. “Everything tastes fresher from here, too.”
Jake Mahlik and his wife have been coming to the store since it opened. His wife, who is from Japan, enjoys cooking Japanese food and finds the prices reasonable.
“The workers are very friendly, and they treat you like family,” Mahlik said. “This is a quick corner market that provides you with a little bit of Japan.”