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Indonesian and other Southeast Asian ingredients in Philadelphia

f
Fatty Lumpkin Oct 13, 2006 06:09 PM

Does anyone have any first hand experiencing purchasing candlenuts, galangal, or fresh turmeric in Philadelphia? Just got laughed out of an asian grocer in Chinatown. They had never heard of candlenuts.

Lacking firsthand experience, does anyone have any suggestions for where to buy these items? Thanks for any help you can offer.

Fatty Lumpkin

  1. b
    Buckethead Oct 13, 2006 08:18 PM

    You may want to try the giant complex of Asian markets on Washington Ave. around 6th and 11th.

    http://www.chowhound.com/features/sho...

    1. d
      devain Oct 13, 2006 11:42 PM

      try the indonesian grocerys around 16th or 17th and morris. they have everything.

      1. Suefoo Oct 17, 2006 11:58 AM

        I went to the Indonesian grocery yesterday. It felt like a living room and kitchen! There are lots of take out meals set out. There are plenty of grocery items also. A younger man asked if I needed help, and I replied that I had read about the store on the internet and was just looking around. He told me that they had just cooked a couple of dishes (they were in the process of assembling a box of about 30 meals to go). A woman brought out a container with vegetable patties (cabbage, carrots and pork with an egg binder) and then a container with big chunks of beef and mushrooms with a boiled egg in a rich brown broth. Sort of a soup/stew deal. I took both, paid six dollars, headed to a neaby park and had Indo al Fresco. Very interesting experience, allowing someone else to pick my lunch.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Suefoo
          missclaudy Oct 18, 2006 12:25 PM

          Right on Suefoo, I love food exploration ! Was the food good? I ate at Hardena a few weeks ago, right there in the Indonesian hood and was swooning, especially from DELICIOUS blue crabs cooked in spicey, sweet sour sauce. The weekend is the best time to go as the delightful Ena, chef owner( who used to cook at the Indonesian embassy in NYC) prepares extra dishes for her hungry compatriates. You can eat in the tiny place, surrounded by happy Indonesian eaters. I shared a table a great conversation with a young woman who insisted on sharing her lunch when she saw how curious I was. I had purchased an overflowing plate of deliciousness already. We talked about her mother's cooking when she was a kid. Pure fun and CHEAP!!!!! Foodthrapology at it's best! 1754 Hicks St. in South Philly.

        2. joluvscards Oct 17, 2006 12:50 PM

          Thai place at the reading terminal has many items. Also the veggie stand just next to the thai place has some asian ingredients like lemon grass. I have seen galangal in whole foods.

          1. f
            Fatty Lumpkin Oct 17, 2006 02:07 PM

            Thanks to everyone who replied. I was able to find the galangal and fresh turmeric at 11th and Washington, though I have yet to come across anyone who even knows what candlenuts are. I'll be heading over to 16th and Morris once the rain abates.

            As for interesting culinary experiences, I recommend just heading over to 11th and Washington and just browsing in the market. Truly a fascinating place, with lots of exciting and inspiring foods.

            Thanks again, and I’ll let everyone know if I can track down the candlenuts – I’m sure you’re all dying to hear about it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Fatty Lumpkin
              s
              sudyatmiko Nov 9, 2006 07:08 PM

              hey there- just got married and my husband is indonesian so am slowly learning about the food. Found candlenuts and other hard to find ingredients at indomerchant.com but many recipes say you can sub macadamia nuts.

            2. l
              Lotus7 Oct 18, 2006 02:06 PM

              I've had some great dinners at Indonesia Restaurant in Chinatown. Staff is friendly too. Perhaps they can help you locate candlenuts.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Lotus7
                missclaudy Oct 18, 2006 03:03 PM

                Great that you like Indonesia. I have eaten at Indonesia and found it not nearly as deeply delicious as Hardena in S. Philly. Try it sometime.

              2. FrancisdeR Nov 10, 2006 12:04 PM

                I strongly second Hardena. An Indonesian friend took me there, and I enjoyed thoroughly, although I am hardly an expert in Indonesian food. Very informal, but friendly, and laughably inexpensive.

                2 Replies
                1. re: FrancisdeR
                  jen kalb Nov 10, 2006 12:21 PM

                  I think you might ask Ena where to shop for this stuff - she is very friendly - that whole neighborhood - farther south and E. than Hardena - is peppered with little Indonesian bodegas - grab an indonesian newspaper in one of them and check out the ads - if you get fed up looking, you can sub macadamias, or mailorder from Kalustyans in NY - I know they carry candlenuts in their retail store.

                  1. re: jen kalb
                    f
                    Fatty Lumpkin Nov 10, 2006 03:34 PM

                    Yep, found candlenuts at Kalustyans - what a hound mecca! I still haven't uncovered candlenuts here in philly, but I'm thinking that this weekend should offer ample opportunities for exploring some of these little "Indonesian bodegas." Appreciate the input, and I'll post if I find them.

                    I did use macadamia nuts the first time I made this recipe, and candlenuts the second. My palate for Indonesian being what it is, I suppose it’s not surprising that I couldn’t really taste a difference. Though, I was a little disappointed that the candlenuts didn’t seem to make the dish any thicker, which is apparently their primary function – or at least according to James Oseland in “Cradle of Flavor.” Again, thanks for the heads-up.

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