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fellowpeon

hard to find ingredients in sf?

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Hi, all. Before moving to SF I used to live in the east bay, not too far from Berkeley Bowl, and have been bemoaning the downgrade in grocery options ever since. I'm within walking distance of a half dozen small grocers in the Mission, but they all seem to carry pretty much the same stuff: a wide variety of central/southern american ingredients and the basic staples, but not much else. Anyway, I thought a thread devoted to finding rare ingredient items in the city might be useful.

I'll start:

veal

for thai food:

cilantro (coriander) root

galangal

kaffir lime leaves

pandan leaves

beef tallow, or the fat around the kidneys for making beef tallow

Thanks for the help!

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Veal is available at most any butcher. I'm fairly certain the chain grocery stores carry it also. For Thai food you're best bet will be May Wah market on Clement. They have everything you list, kidney fat included.

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I'm not in CA, but isn't the cilantro sold with the root still on? Many of our grocery stores sell it that way, plus almost all of the ethnic grocery stores.


Rebecca Hassell

Cookin' in Brookland

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Hi fellowpeon,

If you're looking for Asian Veggies, try the Alemany Farmers' Market on Saturday morning.

It does skew a bit more toward Chinese/Filipino/Vietnamese; but, I've found most of the the vegetables you mention there from time to time. Though, I am not familiar with pandan.

I recently found a pretty awesome Chinese grocery near 20th and Irving. Sorry, don't know the name.

Rainbow is the best source for bulk dry culinary and medicinal herbs, dry goods, and other odd health foody type items.

Rainbow Grocery

Casa Lucas near 24th and Harrison is reputed to be a very good Latino market.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Hi fellowpeon,

If you're looking for Asian Veggies, try the Alemany Farmers' Market on Saturday morning.

It does skew a bit more toward Chinese/Filipino/Vietnamese; but, I've found most of the the vegetables you mention there from time to time.  Though, I am not familiar with pandan.

...

I recently espied cilantro with the root still attached at the Alemany Farmer's Market as well. Thanks for mentioning this market a bit, eje. I had a great time there a week ago and will write more about it on the SF Farmer's Market thread.


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I know this thread is for SF, but I live in Los Angeles and have searched for cilantro root without luck also. My local Asian markets stock galanga, kaffir lime leaves, and almost everything else, but not cilantro root. My local farmers' market stocks cilantro but not the root. In desperation, I started growing my own, but the plants are still very small and I would love to buy some.

Does anyone know where cilantro root can be purchased around LA?

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Ah, I'd forgotten about the Alemany farmer's market. Thanks for the tip, eje and ludja! Will be sure to check in there soon. I've seen someone selling live chickens and fresh eggs out of a truck, but have never had the gumption to get one.

Pandan leaf is used to flavor soups, rice and to garnish dishes in Thai cooking. It's also used in teas and as a scent in cleaning products (sort of like the Thai version of pine or lemon scent -- its scent was everywhere when I was in Thailand) . It probably has more uses that I don't know of.

Veal seems to be not that easy to find. Neither Safeway, Cala Foods, nor Ranch 99 carry it. Have not tried Trader Joe's. Berkeley Bowl has it, though. . .

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[...]

Veal seems to be not that easy to find.  Neither Safeway, Cala Foods, nor Ranch 99 carry it.  Have not tried Trader Joe's.  Berkeley Bowl has it, though. . .

I'd try Molly Stone or Drewe's for veal. I've seen too many scary things in the Safeway meat department, to even try there. Carts rolled out with uncovered meat and left sitting for hours... There is also a butcher on Mission near 22nd.

Check this thread for some previous cogitation about Mission neighborhood groceries.

If that doesn't work out, there is a butcher in North Beach on Stockton at Vallejo, Little City Market. Surely, they must have veal.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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[...]

Veal seems to be not that easy to find.  Neither Safeway, Cala Foods, nor Ranch 99 carry it.  Have not tried Trader Joe's.  Berkeley Bowl has it, though. . .

I'd try Molly Stone or Drewe's for veal. I've seen too many scary things in the Safeway meat department, to even try there. Carts rolled out with uncovered meat and left sitting for hours... There is also a butcher on Mission near 22nd.

Check this thread for some previous cogitation about Mission neighborhood groceries.

If that doesn't work out, there is a butcher in North Beach on Stockton at Vallejo, Little City Market. Surely, they must have veal.

Thanks for the tip about Drewe's! It's not too far away either, I see. I'm about to head over there right now. The Mission Market butcher at 22nd is a good one -- I go there about two or three times a week -- but, alas, no veal.

That thread link was an added bonus -- I hadn't yet discovered Good Life Grocery.

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For pandan (screw pine) leaf, your best bet is a Southeast Asian market -- which would mean a trip out of SF. However, at a 99 Ranch market, pandan is normally kept in the freezer section. I've only encountered fresh pandan in San Jose at Thien Thanh market (take 280, exit at Mc Laughlin, right at Story, continue about 3 miles to Keyes; the market is at 455 Keyes St, San Jose, CA). This funky little market stocks super fresh Viet herbs, and you'll find nice galangal too.

A small warning, the fresh pandan I've found in the U.S. doesn't seem to have great flavor, so you may want to use the frozen imported stuff. When you get your galangal, use what you need, cut the rest into chunks and freeze them for later. Galangal is pricey so make it last!

Cilantro roots are the stuff of farmer's markets so like everyone else recommends, mine the SF markets, particularly the stalls of the Asian farmers.

Take care,

Andrea


Andrea Q. Nguyen

Author, food writer, teacher

Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors (Ten Speed Press, Oct. 2006)

Vietworldkitchen.com

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I have bought cilantro root at the 99 Ranch market in Van Nuys. It may be seasonal, like some of the other produce they carry. If there is one near you, call and ask.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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