Kaffir Lime Leaves
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.
Kaffir lime leaves are (generally) available at a few different Asian markets around town. Here's a short list:
5014 N. Broadway
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.
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.
re: Erik M.
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. ;)
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.
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.