Malaysian ingredients (e.g. laksa leaves)
Anyone know of any good places in the Toronto region where one can find a good variety of Malaysian ingredients? I really want to expand my repertoire of southeast Asian cookery now that MataHari Grill has made me an addict (and as a student, I can't afford to eat there very often). The two Chinatowns carry most of what I need, and traveling to the Pacific Mall area, I was able to find a little more, but I'm still missing a lot of things like laksa leaves, candlenuts, kaffir limes, ginger buds, asam gelgur, pandanus extract, etc.
I know that some of these things have substitutions, but I'd rather go for as authentically Malaysian as I can manage.
If anyone has any idea where to find any of these, or of a general place to get good Malaysian ingredients, I will thank you forever. I asked at MataHari and they had no idea.
My mother is Singaporean, so I've grown up eating Singaporean and Malaysian food. She's never been able to find candle nuts or some of the other ingredients you've mentioned. And she's lived in T.O. for over 30 years! I'm pretty certain you can find frozen kaffir limes in the Broadview/Gerrard Chinatown. And I know you can find laksa leaves. Unfortunately, I don't recall which stores -- I just wander through them until I find what I need.
I know my mother has taken to smuggling back ingredients in her luggage when she travels to Asia. I can admit this here since I'm posting under my pseudonym!
I've posted on this before, but never had any luck. I heard there was an Indonesian Grocer somewhere in Scarborough, but I haven't ahd the time to track it down. This may be your only source of any of these things...
Note that candlenuts may not even be legal here as, untoasted, they are quite poisonous I've been told. A good substitute are macadamia nuts.
Any leads on that Indonesian grocer at all? I'd be happy to make the trip to Scarborough if I thought I could get my hands on even a few more ingredients.
I *think* candlenuts are legal here... I spoke to the chef at MataHari and she told me that they do indeed use them there, although they buy wholesale. I've been sticking with macadamias for now (I heard you can even use cashews as a substitute), but I'd love to taste and compare the difference!
Have you done much Malaysian cooking?
Just a little. I visited there about four years ago and was blown away by the food. Such a varied cuisine (indonesian, chinese and indian rolled into one). Have tried to make roti chanai with some success.
Here is the thread on the indonesian grocer: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/102853
At shephard and Warden?
According to this thread, candlenuts may also eb available at T&T http://www.chowhound.com/topics/101719.
I have found a few ingredients in Chinatown (shrimp paste), but usually only a small shelf devoted to indonesian products.