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Sep 24, 2007 09:24 AM

Where can I buy annatto powder and banana leaves?

Any recs on a market on the west side (Culver CIty, Palms, Venice, Santa Monica) that sells these ingredients?

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  1. I know Jon's Marketplace carries them, but I'm not sure if there is one over near you.

    1. I've never Seen Annatto Powder... I've seen seeds and PASTE. I use the paste...

      I was just at Don Felix this weekend and saw they had the paste. Also Whole Foods sells fresh banana leaves. For one stop, check out Top Valu on Inglewood. They should both the Paste and Leaves (most likely frozen, but those will work just fine)


      3 Replies
      1. re: Dommy

        Hey Dommy,

        So there's no lack of flavor with using the paste?
        I've read a few recipes for cochinita pibil and home made paste was preferred over store-bought.

        1. re: vinosnob

          Yeah, that is why there are seeds you can get... to make your paste, but it's like making your own Mole, it is more 'traditional', but on the scale of true taste, there is no guarentee... I've gone to several restaurants that tout their own 'mixture'. One of them got it plastered on the front page of the LAT food section. Guess what, I've had it SEVERAL times and it lacks the true soul found within the stuff I and my mom makes with paste. I think there is a real risk in making your own, to throw off the balance of spices (Achiote is pretty tasteless anyway, so the simplier with the mixture the better).

          Anyway, for paste I ONLY use the El Yucateco brand... I make sure to make my 'slurry' with Sour Orange Juice (Or aproximation of Vinegar and Orange Juice), and then also salt and pepper the butt and then drop in a few cloves of garlic and an habanero before wrapping it up. That is it... I let the pork juices and the banana leaves them meld everything together...


      2. I've seen refrigerated banana leaves at El Camaguey and try Bahay Natin or any Filipino grocery for that matter, for the annatto powder. Bahay Natin sells banana leaves but they're frozen.

        El Camaguey Market
        10925 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

        Bahay Natin Food Mart
        9903 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

        2 Replies
        1. re: eatit1s

          Good call, I love El Camaguey and I think they carry the paste there.

          1. re: vinosnob

            Just as an update, I bought everything at El Camaguey. They didn't have pork butt, so I used shoulder instead and I couldn't find the El Yucatero brand paste, but the pork was still quite good. The banana leaves looked a little haggard, but they still did the job.

        2. El Camaguey has banana leaves AND annatto powder. It is referred to as "Bijol" by Cubans (pronounced "bee-hole"). If you don't see fresh banana leaves in the produce section, they always have them packaged in the frozen section.

          1. I know you said west side, but if you ever happen to be near the San Fernando Valley there is a thriving filipino community in Panorama City. There you will find restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and grocery stores. The largest of which are Island Pacific and Seafood City. Both have everything any filipino could ever want.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bothsides

              Also at the Seafood City on Carson and Main St. in Carson.