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Kaffir Lime Leaves

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Katherine Jun 27, 2005 12:16 AM

does anyone know of a store that sells these, or a good southeast asian grocery in general? I just moved here from Cambridge Mass. where we bought them from the ice cream parlor of all places, but I assume that's not the usual approach.

I live on Fullerton near Lincoln Park, so the closer to that the better, but definitely willing to drive.

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    Erik M. RE: Katherine Jun 27, 2005 01:08 AM

    Kaffir lime leaves are (generally) available at a few different Asian markets around town. Here's a short list:

    Thai Grocery
    5014 N. Broadway
    773.769.0800

    Angkor Market
    4661 N. Broadway
    773.728.2753

    Tai Nam Market
    4925 N. Broadway
    773.275.5666
    www.tainammarket.com

    The best *value* that I have found, though, has been at "Asian Food Grocery, Inc." on Kedzie, adjacent to the Brown Line tracks. They sell large bags (1#?) of leaves of exceptionally high quality. [A caveat: it is likely that these bags contain more than you need.
    ]
    Kritsana Moungkeow at Sticky Rice Thai Restaurant told me just the other day that there is a "run" on the leaves presently. She did not have any explanation for it, but she insisted that the leaves are quite scarce at this time. I was fortunate enough to be gifted with a beautiful leafy tree this year, so I have not had the need to confirm/disaffirm this information. It is something that I should get straight, though.

    I will let you know what I find.

    Regards,
    Erik M.

    Link: http://www.silapaahaan.com

    4 Replies
    1. re: Erik M.
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      veghead RE: Erik M. Jun 28, 2005 09:35 AM

      Erik, you mention you have a kaffir lime tree? How do you grow such a thing--in a pot or in the ground? Can it make it thru the winter outside? Thanks for clearing up my ignorance.

      1. re: veghead
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        Erik M. RE: veghead Jun 28, 2005 09:52 AM

        How timely! I explained many of the details, just yesterday. See the link below.

        A regular poster, here at Chowhound, gave me a 36" tree as a gift. It arrived in the mail direct from an orchard in Texas. I generally followed the instructions provided, with some supplemental detail coming from an expert at the Garfield Park Conservatory.

        It has been alot of fun so far.

        Regards,
        Erik M.

        Link: http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?...

        Image: http://www.silapaahaan.com/images/lth...

      2. re: Erik M.
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        veghead RE: Erik M. Jun 28, 2005 01:03 PM

        Erik, you mention you have a kaffir lime tree? How do you grow such a thing--in a pot or in the ground? Can it make it thru the winter outside? Thanks for clearing up my ignorance.

        1. re: Erik M.
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          Erik M. RE: Erik M. Jul 2, 2005 06:45 PM

          After talking to a few restaurateurs and shop clerks this past week, here is what I have gleaned:

          At present, the FDA is not allowing the importation of lime leaves (in any form) from SEA. And, while the majority of the fresh leaves sold in Chicago come from a few select growers in Florida, they are in very, very short supply due to the ban.

          Inventoried leaves (in any form) are going for a premium in Chicago. I have friends who paid $200 for a box of *frozen* leaves, just a week ago.

          I made phàt phèt lûuk chin plaa, or "spicy curry fry with fish balls," for lunch yesterday, and it was a real pleasure to finally be able to use leaves from my own tree. ;)

          Regards,
          Erik M.

          Image: http://www.silapaahaan.com/images/lth...

        2. x
          XChef RE: Katherine Jun 27, 2005 08:14 PM

          I have seen loose Lime leaf for sale at the Wholefoods on Ashland and School periodically in the past. However, I do not shop there often any more. Therefore, I do not know of current availability.

          Happy hunting.

          1. p
            peg RE: Katherine Jun 27, 2005 08:41 PM

            ....if you don't see any fresh, ask the very nice folks who run the place if there are any frozen ones in stock. They freeze beautifully. Just transfer them to either a heavy freezer bag or a plastic freezer container, and you'll be golden for a long, long time.

            1 Reply
            1. re: peg
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              omoo RE: peg Jun 28, 2005 10:25 AM

              They have a nice plant right at the window.

            2. a
              Akash Jayaprakash RE: Katherine Jul 13, 2005 02:34 AM

              Wow, thanks for the info on the ban, ErikM. Wondered why I was having trouble finding them--they used to have lots at Tai Nam Market, but recently there was none, and nobody there speaks good English (and I speak lousy lousy Vietnamese, so I'm just as guilty).

              Side note: szechuan peppercorns are legal for import again. Just picked up a bag at Spice House in Evanston.

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