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Sep 6, 2007 10:42 AM

Merken (Chilean Spice Blend) ?

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!

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    1. 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. Merken is available at Whole Foods.

        5 Replies
        1. re: vachona

          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

            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

              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:
              supermarket version, mostly worthless/tasteless:
              dried unsmoked goat's horn chilis:
              smoked goat's horn chilis:

              1. re: hungry helga

                @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

                  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. 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.

                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.

                  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. 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.