6 Unique Things You'll Find At The Boise International Market

Jun 27, 2014

The Boise International Market is set to open its doors sometime in August. It will start out with 17 micro-businesses selling products from around the world. Developers hope to add more vendors soon after it opens.

This week, we told you all about the market from a 30,000 foot perspective. Now, we want to give you a closer look at some of the specific things you'll find inside the market.

1. An African, Middle Eastern or Mexican meal

Habiba Abdullah prepares a Somali meal. Abdullah owns a grocery store in the market and her sons co-own the restaurant Taste of Africa.
Credit Photo Courtesy International Market

Four restaurants will open in the market. You'll be able to sample East African cuisine at two vendors. One will feature Somali food, and the other Ethiopian and Eritrean. An Iraqi and a Mexican place round out the dining options.

2. Middle Eastern coffee, or unique tea

Terry Hathaway has a small home business selling lose tea like what's in these jars. But what he really loves is talking about tea. He hopes people will have a cup in his stall at the market, learn about where that tea comes from and how it's made, then take some home.
Credit Photo Courtesy International Market

More than 100 types of tea will be available at the International Market. You'll also be able to sample Middle Eastern coffee.

3. Mexican Desserts

One of Nava's specialties is the diablito. It's chili powder, lime, Mexican chili sauce and tamarind. It's sour and spicy. That flavor combination in something so cold is likely to surprise a first timer.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Sweet-tooth satisfiers have a Mexican theme. There will be a Mexican bakery and a shaved ice and ice cream shop. We recently introduced you to Victor Nava who owns Andy's shaved ice. His deserts rely on ingredients like tropical fruit, chili powder and condensed milk.

4. Ingredients for unique dishes

Somali refugee Abdi Haji has developed a bit of a following selling the vegetables he grows at farmers markets in and around Boise. Haji says he's glad he won't have to travel to so many different places and his costumers will always know where to find him.
Credit Photo Courtesy International Market

If you want to try some international cooking at home, the market will house six small grocery stores. One will sell only fresh produce. One will sell specialty meat and sausage. Three others will have a wider variety of products, like spices, from specific parts of Africa and Asia.

5. African and Mexican Clothes and Accessories

Rita Thara models the clothes she and her mother Veronique design and sell. Their business in the market is Thara Fashion.
Credit Photo Courtesy International Market

One of the African grocery stores will sell imported African clothes, accessories and crafts. One shop is just for African clothes, bags and jewelry designed and made by a mother-daughter team. There will also be a shop selling Mexican clothes, shoes and accessories.

6. Diversity

Some of the faces behind the Boise International Market. Back row, Kibrom Milash owns an Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurant, Lori Porreca and Miguel Gaddi are the market's developers, Terry Hathaway owns Joyful Tea. Front row, Gina Bessire works with META, a non-profit helping many of the refugee business owners get started, Susan Ikeagwu is British/Nigerian and is opening a meat and sausage shop, Abdi Hagi from Somalia grows and sells vegetables.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Ten of the business set to open inside the International Market are owned by refugees. They come from several African countries as well as Iraq and Bhutan. Four owners are immigrants from Mexico and England.

This is an iPad sketch of the market by Gaddi's daughter Vera.
Credit Courtesy Vera Gaddi

International Market creators Lori Porrecca and Miguel Gaddi want their market to be a place for Boiseans to experience the diversity that exists, but is often hard to see in their community. They envision a place where people come as much for the experience, as to buy things. Gaddi describes scenarios of people eating Ethiopian food and talking to the restaurant owner about the ingredients, then going across the market to buy the spices in order to try to make the dish at home.

Porreca talks about people using the market's common space for public meetings and performances. But even more she wants it to be a place where people meet and talk, they encounter surprises and learn new things, for it to be, as she puts it, "A place where life happens."

It may be asking a lot of one place, but they want their market to help Boiseans feel more connected to each other and to the world.

Follow reporter Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

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