S.E.A. Market

Southeast Asian Grocery

For second-generation owner Kevin Liang, S.E.A. Market’s Market Line location will be a return to his family’s roots. Growing up just a few blocks away from Essex Crossing, Kevin could be found working in his parent’s grocery store in Chinatown. As the business grew, Kevin and his wife Ina moved the business across the East River to Gowanus. Today, they now operate as a Southeast Asian wholesaler (distributor) supplying over 2,000 items to chefs in New York City and throughout the Northeast. Their first retail location in The Market Line will be a grocery store specializing in imported Southeast Asian goods recalling Kevin’s childhood family business.

Get to know: S.E.A. Market

Kevin Liang

Owner

How have your childhood experiences with your parents’ grocery store and the Lower East Side influenced the concept behind and realization of S.E.A. Market?

Every morning, as a young child, I walked 5 blocks to go to school. And more often than not, every day after school, I would walk 3 more blocks to my parent’s grocery store. And in the grocery store, I would play. The boxes became my sand castle, the dried goods became my action figures, and the canned goods proved to be perfect Lego alternatives. I soon started dusting the shelves and organizing coins in preformed coin wrappers. And in time, I started learning about the food, meeting the families, and familiarizing myself with the multitude of cultures within the confines of 8 city blocks. These 8 city blocks housed such a vast community of families, interlocked together, through language and food. And it is this exact sense of community, that drives Southeast Asia Market.

What is one ingredient or item that your market will carry that you think all visitors to The Market Line should try?

We will carry a unique collection of premier Asian goods that has yet to be introduced in New York City- everything from 100% soft-pressed yuzu juice to a wide selection of Asian snacks. We want New York City chefs and food lovers to have access to special items created by both local and national manufacturers.

When I think of the Lower East Side, I think of…

Lower East Side is the true heart of New York City. There is so much raw diversity, culture, and life in this part of the city, that truly resonates with America’s growing melting pot.

Best thing about NYC and worst thing about NYC

New York City is not for everyone. It is loud, dirty, and abrasive. But New York City is my home; it will forever be my home. And as Frank Sinatra so melodically says, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere”.

What is your earliest food memory?

My older brother and I would hover over the stove top, on our tiptoes, trying to measure out the correct amount of water to make instant ramen. It took a few failed attempts, but I can proudly say that I’ve mastered the craft.

What’s the one food you can’t live without?

Instant ramen, topped with a couple of slices of Spam, fried egg (with the optional runny
yolk), and melted American cheese.

Preferred method of transportation

The Q Train. It chauffeurs me to work, accompanies me to a quick lunch in Chinatown, then shuttles me to Barclays Center, so I can end the evening with a nightcap with the Nets.

What is your most essential ingredient in the kitchen?

Our newest must-have ingredient is Smoked Shoyu Soy Sauce. It is cold smoked with Mizunara Oak, to give it that heavier, umami palate. There are many ways you can incorporate it into your everyday recipes. And, our showroom aspect of Market Line will provide instructional classes that showcase different ingredients, such as the Smoked Shoyu Soy Sauce. My wife uses it as a soy sauce substitute when she makes fried rice. It is one of her best culinary decisions, to date.

How have your childhood experiences with your parents’ grocery store and the Lower East Side influenced the concept behind and realization of S.E.A. Market?

Every morning, as a young child, I walked 5 blocks to go to school. And more often than not, every day after school, I would walk 3 more blocks to my parent’s grocery store. And in the grocery store, I would play. The boxes became my sand castle, the dried goods became my action figures, and the canned goods proved to be perfect Lego alternatives. I soon started dusting the shelves and organizing coins in preformed coin wrappers. And in time, I started learning about the food, meeting the families, and familiarizing myself with the multitude of cultures within the confines of 8 city blocks. These 8 city blocks housed such a vast community of families, interlocked together, through language and food. And it is this exact sense of community, that drives Southeast Asia Market.

What is one ingredient or item that your market will carry that you think all visitors to The Market Line should try?

We will carry a unique collection of premier Asian goods that has yet to be introduced in New York City- everything from 100% soft-pressed yuzu juice to a wide selection of Asian snacks. We want New York City chefs and food lovers to have access to special items created by both local and national manufacturers.

When I think of the Lower East Side, I think of…

Lower East Side is the true heart of New York City. There is so much raw diversity, culture, and life in this part of the city, that truly resonates with America’s growing melting pot.

Best thing about NYC and worst thing about NYC

New York City is not for everyone. It is loud, dirty, and abrasive. But New York City is my home; it will forever be my home. And as Frank Sinatra so melodically says, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere”.

What is your earliest food memory?

My older brother and I would hover over the stove top, on our tiptoes, trying to measure out the correct amount of water to make instant ramen. It took a few failed attempts, but I can proudly say that I’ve mastered the craft.

What’s the one food you can’t live without?

Instant ramen, topped with a couple of slices of Spam, fried egg (with the optional runny
yolk), and melted American cheese.

Preferred method of transportation

The Q Train. It chauffeurs me to work, accompanies me to a quick lunch in Chinatown, then shuttles me to Barclays Center, so I can end the evening with a nightcap with the Nets.

What is your most essential ingredient in the kitchen?

Our newest must-have ingredient is Smoked Shoyu Soy Sauce. It is cold smoked with Mizunara Oak, to give it that heavier, umami palate. There are many ways you can incorporate it into your everyday recipes. And, our showroom aspect of Market Line will provide instructional classes that showcase different ingredients, such as the Smoked Shoyu Soy Sauce. My wife uses it as a soy sauce substitute when she makes fried rice. It is one of her best culinary decisions, to date.

How have your childhood experiences with your parents’ grocery store and the Lower East Side influenced the concept behind and realization of S.E.A. Market?

Every morning, as a young child, I walked 5 blocks to go to school. And more often than not, every day after school, I would walk 3 more blocks to my parent’s grocery store. And in the grocery store, I would play. The boxes became my sand castle, the dried goods became my action figures, and the canned goods proved to be perfect Lego alternatives. I soon started dusting the shelves and organizing coins in preformed coin wrappers. And in time, I started learning about the food, meeting the families, and familiarizing myself with the multitude of cultures within the confines of 8 city blocks. These 8 city blocks housed such a vast community of families, interlocked together, through language and food. And it is this exact sense of community, that drives Southeast Asia Market.

What is one ingredient or item that your market will carry that you think all visitors to The Market Line should try?

We will carry a unique collection of premier Asian goods that has yet to be introduced in New York City- everything from 100% soft-pressed yuzu juice to a wide selection of Asian snacks. We want New York City chefs and food lovers to have access to special items created by both local and national manufacturers.

When I think of the Lower East Side, I think of…

Lower East Side is the true heart of New York City. There is so much raw diversity, culture, and life in this part of the city, that truly resonates with America’s growing melting pot.

Best thing about NYC and worst thing about NYC

New York City is not for everyone. It is loud, dirty, and abrasive. But New York City is my home; it will forever be my home. And as Frank Sinatra so melodically says, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere”.

What is your earliest food memory?

My older brother and I would hover over the stove top, on our tiptoes, trying to measure out the correct amount of water to make instant ramen. It took a few failed attempts, but I can proudly say that I’ve mastered the craft.

What’s the one food you can’t live without?

Instant ramen, topped with a couple of slices of Spam, fried egg (with the optional runny
yolk), and melted American cheese.

Preferred method of transportation

The Q Train. It chauffeurs me to work, accompanies me to a quick lunch in Chinatown, then shuttles me to Barclays Center, so I can end the evening with a nightcap with the Nets.

What is your most essential ingredient in the kitchen?

Our newest must-have ingredient is Smoked Shoyu Soy Sauce. It is cold smoked with Mizunara Oak, to give it that heavier, umami palate. There are many ways you can incorporate it into your everyday recipes. And, our showroom aspect of Market Line will provide instructional classes that showcase different ingredients, such as the Smoked Shoyu Soy Sauce. My wife uses it as a soy sauce substitute when she makes fried rice. It is one of her best culinary decisions, to date.