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Kaffir Lime Leaves

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.

  1. a
    Akash Jayaprakash 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.

    1. p
      peg 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
        omoo Jun 28, 2005 10:25 AM

        They have a nice plant right at the window.

      2. x
        XChef 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. e
          Erik M. 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

          Angkor Market
          4661 N. Broadway

          Tai Nam Market
          4925 N. Broadway

          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.

          Erik M.

          Link: http://www.silapaahaan.com

          4 Replies
          1. re: Erik M.
            veghead 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
              Erik M. 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.

              Erik M.

              Link: http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=3546

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

            2. re: Erik M.
              veghead 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.
                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. ;)

                Erik M.

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

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