Where to buy Thai curry paste (DC)
Where can I buy ingredients for Thai food? Right now I'm just looking for green Thai curry paste for a dinner party tonight! Never move somewhere new, promise a dish and then realize you can't find all the ingredients for it.
My ideal source would be somewhere between downtown DC (Farragut Metro stops) and Eastern Market, but send me all sources so I can make the trek if need be.
Eventually I'd like to locate a good source of kaffir lime leaves and other key ingredients to make it from scratch.
Trader Joes used to carry great green curry paste but I could only find 'green curry sauce' at the new TJ's on M and 25th NW(Foggy Bottom). The sauce is a lot easier and taste is okay, but paste was much better. Not sure that Trader Joes would have the kaffir lime leaves though - I know they didn't have lemongrass last time I was there.
Otherwise, why not head to the Logan Circle Whole Foods (14th and P NW) - they definitely have both.
If you have a car, you can trek out to Duangrat's Thai market near Bailey's crossroads off Leesburg Pike. That's where I go to pick up instant thai ice tea packs and thai tea leaves. The market is around the corner from the restaurant Duangrat's.
Interesting. I never checked Zagat's to see that Duangrat's menu is there. Neat. I've always just used the website they have - http://www.duangrats.com/
The market, though, is NOT around the corner from the restaurant. It's at the western end of the strip mall, which is bit of a stroll, past the bed store, and next to Rabieng, the "country" Thai extension of Duangrat's.
It is also next door to a marvelous Greek market, and if you're in the mood for the best yogurt in the world, among other wonderful foodstuffs, that's a great, great place.
There's a great Korean grocery chain (details below) that has two locations in the DC area. They have at least three brands of Thai green curry paste, plus other curry pastes. They also have Great produce at good prices. Worth a weekly or monthly visit if you're into Asian food. Some of the Whole Foods sometimes have Kaffir Lime Leaves, in little plastic boxes.
Han Ah Reum
either at 8103 Lee Hwy, Merrifield, VA or
Wheaton Park Shopping Center, 12015 Georgia Ave, Wheaton, VA
Han Ah Rheum sometimes has kaffir lime leaves, but not consistently. They're much better priced than Whole Foods, which sells four or five leaves in a little clamshell pack for like $4. HAR also has galangal sometimes, and carry several different brands of coconut milk (get the Chaokoh). You can also buy fish sauce, chili sauce, and just about everything else there. Make the trip and stock your pantry.
Wegman's can get lime leaves, but they don't always have them in stock. Ask and they'll get them. They come in bulk, so you can buy a bunch and freeze them. They're like $50 a lb., but a quarter lb. will last me most of a year, and I use them frequently.
It's way past your dinner party (which I hope was a success), but these tips might serve you well in the future.
I did find a place to get curry pastes in a pinch (which i was in) at Yes! Organic Markets, several DC locations. I really appreciate all of these suggestions for where I can find the real ingredients to make my own paste (and other delicious things) next time. Thank you!
Also, they have it at World Market (Penatagon Row, Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights) and Wegman's but you would need a car for that.
Of all places, I've found a decent selection of curry pastes in the Asian foods section at Giant. The Columbia Heights location especially, but I've also found it at the one near 9th and P.
I know it isn't "foodie" to say this but Giant supermarkets all sell Thai curry paste and other ingredients. There's also a good Asian supermarket across from MOM's on Parklawn Drive in Rockville.
This website sells Nittaya Curry which is very exciting if you have ever been to their market in Bangkok and want to get it here in the states. This is where local Thais go for their curries. They a have all Thai curries too. They come in zip lock bags too for storing.
...Or you can always get your mortar and pestal out to make at home. But this is easy and you know it will taste great!