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Where to buy holy basil (/hot basil) in San Diego?

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Lillian Hsu Aug 12, 2008 03:02 PM

I'm on the lookout for holy basil (also known as hot basil) to make my favorite Thai comfort food dish, spicy basil chicken. After scouring Kirk's blog (which is an awesome resource, btw), I checked out United Oriental Food Market and Muang Laos Market, but I didn't find the holy basil. Was I just there on the wrong day?

Any other suggestions for where I could look? The farmers' markets back in Berkeley/Oakland used to sell holy basil; are there any farmers' markets in SD with Asian veggie vendors? (The potted plant lady at the Hillcrest farmers' market did have a tiny holy basil plant for sale, so I'm tempted to start growing some myself...but she said it would take a long time for it to flourish in my garden!)

Thanks in advance for any ideas!

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  1. DiningDiva RE: Lillian Hsu Aug 12, 2008 09:18 PM

    Try Specialty Produce. They sell to the trade but the public is welcome to shop their warehouse on Morena Blvd. Give them a call and see if they've got it, if not, they can probably tell you who does or do a special order.

    http://www.specialtyproduce.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiningDiva
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      Lillian Hsu RE: DiningDiva Aug 12, 2008 09:53 PM

      Thank you so much!

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      KirkK RE: Lillian Hsu Aug 13, 2008 07:02 AM

      Lillian - Don't they also use Holy Basil in Indian cooking as well? If so there are several Indian Grocers...including the huge Ker Little India Mega-Store off of Black Mountain Road in Miramar.

      Ker-Little India Megastore
      9520 Black Mountain Rd # 8
      San Diego, CA 92126

      Here's their website which has contact info:

      http://www.kerlittleindia.com/

      There are several other small Indian Grocers in the same complex as well.

      2 Replies
      1. re: KirkK
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        Lillian Hsu RE: KirkK Aug 13, 2008 09:33 AM

        I didn't know that Indian cooking also uses holy basil! I've been wanting to explore that India Megastore; I will hightail it there this afternoon. Thanks, Kirk.

        1. re: Lillian Hsu
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          Lillian Hsu RE: Lillian Hsu Aug 13, 2008 05:48 PM

          Hmm...no luck today. At Ker-Little India, they had never heard of holy basil or hot basil. I spied a green leafy herb that looked vaguely like holy basil, but it turned out to be something called gongura.

          You're definitely right, though, that it's used in Indian cuisine: http://www.organicindia.com/tulsi-hol...
          Now that I know they call it "Tulsi" or "Tulasi," I'll know what to ask for next time.

          The search continues...tomorrow, I'll call Specialty Produce.

      2. pinkamoeba RE: Lillian Hsu Aug 14, 2008 12:22 AM

        I believe you can find this at 99 Ranch Market. It's been years since I've purchased this. From what I remember, it's packaged on a styrofoam tray covered by plastic wrap. It's in the produce section but on one of the middle islands.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pinkamoeba
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          Lillian Hsu RE: pinkamoeba Aug 14, 2008 12:19 PM

          Thanks, pinkamoeba! I will check it out.

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          Lillian Hsu RE: Lillian Hsu Aug 19, 2008 03:18 PM

          So I had no luck finding holy basil at Ranch 99. Specialty Produce lists it as "sacred basil" on its website, but when I called, they said they just about never carry it.

          Last time I was at Seb-e-lee, I asked Koby if he knew where to buy it, but he says that even he has trouble finding ga prow locally. It sounds like he gets it in sometimes from L.A. He mentioned that a friend had found holy basil at a Cambodian market in San Diego but didn't know the name of the market.

          I called the only Cambodian market I could find on google--97 Super Market on University Ave.--and they carry it! They get shipments in on Wednesdays and Fridays, so I will definitely drop in this week.

          Thanks for everyone's help in my little quest.

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            chandrru RE: Lillian Hsu Feb 7, 2009 11:43 AM

            I have also been searching high and low for a place in San Diego to buy Holy Basil. Unfortunately, no luck so far. I just tried calling the 97 market and their phone number is out of service. So, I called a laundry place across the street and they said that the cambodian market had just closed down last month. :(

            Does anyone have another lead? :)

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              chandrru RE: Lillian Hsu Feb 7, 2009 11:44 AM

              Oh, FYI, I called both muang lao markets and they don't have holy basil. I also went to vien dong market on linda vista and ranch 99, no holy basil there either.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chandrru
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                Lillian Hsu RE: chandrru Feb 10, 2009 08:19 AM

                Hi chandrru,

                I recently bought holy basil at Minh Huong Supermarket in City Heights.
                Their address is: 4029 Euclid Avenue.

                You're right that 97 market closed down recently, but they're supposed to reopen at 3918 30th Street. (I'm not sure when.)

                Here's mmm-yoso's scanned photograph of the new directions:
                http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2...

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                chandrru RE: Lillian Hsu Feb 14, 2009 07:53 AM

                Hi Liliian, Thanks so much. I will go to Minh Huong this weekend. OMG! I am so excited. Thank YOU!!!! You ROCK! :)

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