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Loose/Bulk Spices in Santa Clara co. / Sunnyvale area?

vprasad Oct 5, 2007 11:16 PM

Just about all of the ethnic stores around here carry spices in the little 2 oz plastic packets-- are there any places in the Sunnyvale/Santa Clara co. area which carry bulk spices in bins? In particular I'm looking for:
black pepper (tellecherry)
star anise
cassia (scratch that; seen some nice big bundles of cassia in a few mexican supermarkets)

  1. chefj Aug 6, 2009 05:45 PM

    You should be buying your spices from a Indian grocery for sure. There is a big Indian population in your area and the busier stores should have fresh spices for a good price and larger packets than 2oz ers. Probably 50% or more less than Whole foods

    1. a
      anzu Nov 19, 2007 07:17 AM

      Elephant Pharmacy in Los Altos (on El Camino) has lots of bulk spices, herbs (including Chinese ones), and tea. Someone else mentioned WF in Palo Alto, which I think has all of the spices you mentioned.

      3 Replies
      1. re: anzu
        YSZ Jul 12, 2009 09:17 PM

        The Country Sun store on California Ave in Palo Alto has a very nice selection of bulk spices at a very reasonable prices. I bought clove powder, turmeric,garam masala, and chili powder today. Now I just have to find somewhere that has green mango powder (can you tell I'm starting to cook Indian?).

        They also have a lot of different chocolate bars, FWIW.

        Country Sun Natural Foods
        440 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA

        1. re: YSZ
          anzu Aug 5, 2009 08:47 PM

          Can you get that at an Indian grocery store?

          1. re: anzu
            adrienne156 Aug 6, 2009 12:05 PM

            Yes, it is commonly known as "amchoor".

      2. h
        hawaii_4me Nov 17, 2007 08:04 AM

        Maybe the best best bet would be to order through the internet:


        It maybe more efficient than driving to all these stores looking for specific spices. Hopefully they will be fresher also.

        I have never ordered from this company. I have seen their ads in food magazines. I have learned a lot about different black peppers by reading their catalog!

        1 Reply
        1. re: hawaii_4me
          screetchycello Nov 18, 2007 09:35 PM

          I adore Penzeys. They have excellent stuff, and it's cheap. I've never been disappointed by anything I've ordered from them, and I've probably spent $200 there in the last two years.

        2. daveena Nov 16, 2007 07:26 AM

          When I lived in Santa Clara, I bought mine from Kumud Grocery. They came in bigger bags - maybe half pound, or one pound bags. Plus, huge branches of curry leaves for a dollar. Although, I don't remember seeing nutmeg or star anise - maybe 99 Ranch would big bags of those?

          Kumud Grocery
          2039 El, Camino Real Santa Clara, CA

          99 Ranch Market
          10983 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino, CA

          1. t
            tristan Oct 6, 2007 10:12 AM

            I think Whole Foods has bulk spices, at least they used to.

            5 Replies
            1. re: tristan
              vprasad Nov 15, 2007 10:08 PM

              Whole Foods in Cupertino n/a
              Whole Foods in Los Altos n/a
              The closest place I've found to non-yuppie quantities of spices is Bharat Bazaar on Reed Ave in Sunnyvale. They're not bulk spices, but they are enough to last a while.

              Now I'm on a quest to find somewhere that's got bulk dried herbs such as dried oregano. Any suggestions?

              1. re: vprasad
                hawaii_4me Nov 16, 2007 06:16 AM

                I get my bulk spices at Whole Foods in Palo Alto. They have jars of spices and a decent selection. Whole Foods in Palo Alto is on Homer (between Emerson and Alma). I know that they have nutmeg and star anise. They have black pepper, but I am not sure what tellecherry is.

                If you find another source of bulk spices in our area, please let me know!

                1. re: hawaii_4me
                  Paul H Nov 19, 2007 09:04 AM

                  "Tellicherry is a higher-grade pepper, made from the largest, ripest 10% of berries from Malabar plants grown on Mount Tellicherry."


                  .... but I buy bulk black peppercorns in a plastic jar @ Costco. Good enough quality and remarkably inexpensive.

                  1. re: hawaii_4me
                    FlaSheridn Jul 11, 2009 03:09 PM

                    The Palo Alto Whole Foods stopped selling bulk herbs a few months ago, the new Los Altos one never sold them, and Elephant Pharmacy went out of business.

                    1. re: FlaSheridn
                      wolfe Jul 11, 2009 06:29 PM

                      One of the problems with old threads is that some things close but then new things open.
                      Menlo Park

                      771 Santa Cruz Ave
                      Menlo Park, CA
                      (650) 853-1785

                      Mon.-Sat.: 10:00AM - 6:00PM
                      Sun.: 9:00AM - 3:00PM

                      Penzeys Spices
                      771 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025

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