HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >

Merken (Chilean Spice Blend) ?

WildSwede Sep 6, 2007 10:42 AM

Does anyone know where I can purchase the traditional Chilean spice blend of Merken? It's a traditional spice blend made of dried and smoked aji cacho de cabra chiles, toasted coriander seeds, cumin, and salt Apparently, you can use it in place of black pepper in many recipes for a unique jolt of smoky heat. Anywhere in LA. TIA!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. d
    david s RE: WildSwede Sep 6, 2007 05:37 PM

    Try Rincon Chileno....
    4354 Melrose Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90029-3543
    Phone: (323) 666-6075

    they also have a locaation in Lawndale

    1 Reply
    1. re: david s
      WildSwede RE: david s Sep 7, 2007 02:44 PM

      Thanks, David!

    2. v
      vachona RE: WildSwede Jun 5, 2009 03:34 PM

      Merken is available at Whole Foods.

      5 Replies
      1. re: vachona
        hungry helga RE: vachona Sep 30, 2011 06:36 AM

        Merken is no longer carried by Whole Foods. I tried to purchase it yesterday. Nor is it carried by Penzey's Spices. I'm still looking for where to purchase it in the South Bay.

        1. re: hungry helga
          vachona RE: hungry helga Sep 30, 2011 11:01 AM

          It's also available online. Amazon has it, as do other sources. The company name is Chilean Gourmet, and "Merken" is also known as "mapuche". Try any combination of those names on Google or Yahoo. Penzey's usually doesn't carry other companies' spice blends, since they make their own. (They may have something similar.) Otherwise, you can also try The Spice House, and there are many other spice companies online.

          1. re: hungry helga
            Pata_Negra RE: hungry helga Sep 30, 2011 11:52 AM

            Merkén smells gorgeous! it was hard enough for me to find the smoked version already as soon as i left southern Chile (where i hit the Merkén 'jackpot'). good luck with your search!

            at first i also collected all the supermarket packages but quickly found out the quality was far inferior to artesanal smoked version. i came home with 4kg of Merkén all from different places i passed through!

            some pics for those who have never seen this wonderful chili mix before:

            artesanal version sold at the market. rarely a disappointment: http://bonvivant.shutterfly.com/pictu...
            supermarket version, mostly worthless/tasteless: http://bonvivant.shutterfly.com/pictu...
            dried unsmoked goat's horn chilis: http://bonvivant.shutterfly.com/pictu...
            smoked goat's horn chilis: http://bonvivant.shutterfly.com/pictu...

            1. re: hungry helga
              DiveFan RE: hungry helga Sep 30, 2011 01:59 PM

              @hungry helga, you might want to stop by Rincon Chileno (a Chilean deli) in Lawndale to see if they can get it.

              Rincon Chileno
              15418 Hawthorne Blvd Ste B, Lawndale, CA 90260

              1. re: DiveFan
                hungry helga RE: DiveFan Sep 30, 2011 03:52 PM

                Thanks DiveFan for the suggestion. Neither of the Rincon Chileno locations carries merken. I visited the Lawndale store today, but all was not lost as those empanadas and pastries were devine.

                Rincon Chileno
                15418 Hawthorne Blvd Ste B, Lawndale, CA 90260

          2. s
            Sam D. RE: WildSwede Sep 30, 2011 09:08 AM

            This week the L.A. Times food section carried a feature article about this spice. The only place specifically mentioned of where it is available was Whole Foods. It's interesting now to find out that info was not correct.

            You could try Spice Station, 3819 W Sunset Blvd, L.A. (323) 660-2565

            Spice Station
            3819 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

            2 Replies
            1. re: Sam D.
              Sam D. RE: Sam D. Oct 1, 2011 04:38 AM

              Disregard Spice Station. I was there Friday and they don't have it.

              Spice Station
              3205 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

              1. re: Sam D.
                Servorg RE: Sam D. Oct 3, 2011 04:49 PM

                Well, for some unexplained reason the URL is refusing to connect to the page listing all the merken spice for sale. Simply plug merken spice into the search box on the Amazon main page and you'll be taken right to their suppliers

                As noted I saw the merken flavored olive oil for sale at the WLA Whole Foods but didn't happen to ask about the availability of the spice itself.

            2. j
              Jerome RE: WildSwede Oct 3, 2011 04:32 PM

              I would call Catalina Market on Western near Santa monica blvd and ask if they carry it. It's a long shot but worth a phone call.

              1. c
                chez cherie RE: WildSwede Oct 3, 2011 04:44 PM

                i'd love to find some too. the LA times food section article peaked my interest, but i tried and failed three times to comment online, asking for an alternate source. maybe someone more tech savvy than me can figure out how to do that...shouldn't be that hard!?

                2 Replies
                1. re: chez cherie
                  stevebass RE: chez cherie Nov 3, 2011 09:31 AM

                  Whole Foods definitely does not carry it.

                  But I found a source and the price is reasonable -- $6 for a 50g jar. They charge a flat fee of $10 per order (high, I agree), so I purchased 4 bottles to make it a worthwhile order. Had I known how much we liked it, I might have ordered the 12-bottle special for $57 plus shipping.


                  BTW, Merken is a versitle spice and we've fallen it in a big way. We use it in lots of dishes: soups and omelettes, for instance, and sprinkled on sauteed vegetables and mixed in with canned tuna.

                  1. re: stevebass
                    WildSwede RE: stevebass Nov 3, 2011 11:39 AM

                    Wonderful! Thank you, Steve!

                2. WildSwede RE: WildSwede Oct 3, 2011 05:29 PM

                  Whoa, that is a blast from the past!! ;-)

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: WildSwede
                    chez cherie RE: WildSwede Oct 3, 2011 05:34 PM

                    oh wow. your original post must have gotten revived due to the food section mention last week. didn't even notice the date on the OP---so maybe whole foods has it now (as the times article metnioned). yay!

                    1. re: WildSwede
                      Jerome RE: WildSwede Oct 4, 2011 12:17 AM

                      So, L did you ever find it?

                      1. re: Jerome
                        WildSwede RE: Jerome Oct 4, 2011 12:28 PM

                        Hi Jerome! Actually, no. I think I may have forgotten about it. Had to have heard about it on a food show or magazine. I cannot even remember what I was planning on using it for. I just love anything with chile in it, so that is probably why I wanted it!
                        Either way, I am going to take a trot over to WF sometime this week to see if they have it. Will report back.

                        1. re: WildSwede
                          sibaik RE: WildSwede Nov 8, 2011 01:27 PM

                          I just tried looking for it at the Whole Foods in Woodland Hills--they discontinued it. I've also tried the Whole Foods in Pasadena (on Arroyo) and they didn't have it either. I guess I'll have to order it online...

                          1. re: sibaik
                            WildSwede RE: sibaik Nov 8, 2011 02:15 PM

                            Thank you! I wonder if there are any Chilean Markets in the area and if they would carry it. I am going to research that. Will let you know if I find anything.

                            1. re: WildSwede
                              Jerome RE: WildSwede Nov 9, 2011 06:36 PM

                              CAll Catalina on Western - call Rincon Chileno Deli on Melrose, call me prob saturday because I'm a going for LUTEFISK at norrona.

                              Rincon Chileno
                              4354 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

                              1. re: Jerome
                                WildSwede RE: Jerome Nov 10, 2011 06:06 PM

                                ;-) Good to hear from you, Jerome!! I called one place in Redondo and she said that maybe the Value Markets have it. I went to the one on Rosemead and they did not. Will call the others. Have fun at the dinner!!

                    Show Hidden Posts