HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Jun 27, 2005 12:16 AM

Kaffir Lime Leaves

  • k

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. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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.

      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

        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?...

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

      2. re: Erik M.

        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.

          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...

        2. 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. ....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

              They have a nice plant right at the window.

            2. a
              Akash Jayaprakash

              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.