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Thai market in SF?

  • s

Recently returned from Thailand and want to cook some of those tasty recipes I learned. Is there a Thai market in SF? I found mention of one in Berkeley, but am looking for something in SF city limits. Thanks!

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  1. Look here (Markets with Thai Ingredients in the San Francisco Bay Area)

    I've been to Battambang Market in the Tenderloin, and while small and seemingly disorganized, they're stocked to the rafters with Thai products.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Paul H

      Re that list, I was in Tuk Tuk in Berkeley a few weeks ago and it looked like it was closing. Several of the aisles were empty, the freezers were empty and had for-sale signs, and there was a for-lease sign in the window.

      1. re: Paul H

        Battambang Market has nothing but old, long-expired foods. Complete waste of time going there.

      2. It is not specifically Thai but new may wah on Geary in the Richmond has always had everything i need to make Thai recipes. Green papaya, lime leaf, tamarind etc. There are also small neighborhood markets that will have these ingredients, a couple that come to mind are valencia farmer's market at 24th and golden produce on Church.

        Valencia Farmer's Market
        1299 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        New May Wah
        719 Clement St, San Francisco, CA

        Golden Produce
        172 Church St, San Francisco, CA

        3 Replies
        1. re: sfeater

          What is the Valencia Farmers Market, and which Thai ingredients do they regularly have?

          1. re: david kaplan

            It is just a small neighborhood market, but the family who owns it is Cambodian. When I used to live in the hood they would regularly dig up hidden items for me from the chock full shelves. Bean thread noodles, lime leaves, dried Thai chilies etc. It's not a destination place but my point is just that neighborhood places often have more then meets the eye

            1. re: sfeater

              It's a wonderful store. And they do have odd-good things: blood oranges, the best fresh ground organic peanut butter, slices of tangy cream cheese.

        2. Does Bangkok Grocery still exist? 3236 Geary, (415) 221-5863‎. The places feature doesn't find it, maybe it went out of business.

          Battambang Market
          339 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA

          3 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I don't remember seeing it recently, but when it did exist it was less a grocery and more a market, as in Thai language movies and music. I think the only edible items were a few extracts and sauces.

            For the best selection in SF, I go to Battambang market on Eddy in the Tenderloin. For just a few more common items, I pick them up at New May Wah, which as mentioned above is not a Thai market but has a decent selection of all Asian ingredients and a reasonably complete selection of Chinese ingredients.

            1. re: SteveG

              I bought lots of Thai ingredients at Bangkok, they were pretty well stocked. But that's some years ago.

            2. re: Robert Lauriston

              I believe they are closed (out of business).

            3. Also, the vendor nearest the live chicken truck at the Civic Center farmers' market (Wed. and Sun.) always has Thai basil, lemongrass, Thai bird chiles, and Thai green eggplant, and usually has hot basil (bai ga-prow) and lime leaves.

              1. The Alemany Farmer's Market has vendors that sell fresh kaffir leaves and you can get 5 fat stalks of lemongrass for 50 cents.

                Manila Oriental Market on Mission just after it crosses 280 has lots of Thai goodies as well.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Kosmonaut

                  I also recommend Manila Oriental Market - it has a pretty big Thai section with lots of Thai products.

                  sf415, what products are you specifically looking for? As the above recommendations indicate, depending on what you want, you might find options closer to where you are at a primarily Chinese or Vietnamese market.

                2. I realize you're looking for sources in SF. But when we lived in Berkeley, I could almost always do one-stop shopping for Thai at Berkeley Bowl: meats, fish, chilies, galanga, kaffir lime leaves (fresh), etc etc. And while you're there, get lunch and the rest of your groceries taken care of.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wontonsoup

                    Berkeley Bowl does have most things, including fish sauce and a good Thai brand of coconut milk.

                    For more obscure ingredients:

                    Thailand Grocery
                    1704 University Ave, Berkeley, CA

                  2. Any of these places have "Golden Boy" fish sauce? Kasma Loha-unchit swears by it and it's become my favorite though hard to find. I did find it in Oakland at May Kong, they also have lime leaves and Holy basil. Next door is Lao Market, and they have plenty of fresh thai chilies sorted by color.

                    May Kong
                    1613 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

                    Lao Market
                    1619 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: DezzerSF

                      Berkeley Bowl does carry the "good" brand of coconut milk : Chaokok? Also recommended by Kasma. Her tip for remembering this brand? The letters "OK" is in the middle of the name.

                      Battambang in SF would be a good bet for Kasma's favorite Golden Boy fish sauce. Paul H recommended thaifoodandtravel.com -- it's Kasma's website and chock full of shopping information, recipes, class info. Her classes are the best, hands down. I couldn't eat out for Thai for a year after I stopped taking classes from her.

                      1. re: DezzerSF

                        I'm 80% sure I got my Golden Boy fish sauce from Tuk Tuk market (in Berkeley) or the small Thai market diagonally across the street.

                        As a more general lime leaf suggestion--I bought a plant from the guy who sells plants (maybe only in the spring/summer months) at the Alemany farmer's market. I haven't worked very a hard to keep it alive and while it hasn't produced any kaffir limes yet, it easily keeps enough leaves on it for me to use them a couple times a month. I think a small one was about $10 and I have fresh leaves whenever I want, not frozen or accidentally dried in my refrigerator.

                        Tuk Tuk Thai & Asian Market
                        1581 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94703

                        1. re: ...tm...

                          Tuk Tuk in Berkeley usually has Golden Boy.

                          As for lime trees, it usually takes a few years for a tree to get comfortable with it's surroundings to start producing fruit. As for the leaves, it is best to cut branches, rather than just picking a leaves here and there when harvesting.

                          1. re: ...tm...

                            There's a citrus vendor at the Alemany's Farmer's Market in SF on Saturdays that almost always has fresh kaffir lime leaves. They're the vendor that sells the most citrus varieties - Rangpur limes, Buddha's Hand, kumquats, etc. They always set up their booth near the vendor selling the fresh eggs/duck balut.