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Aug 12, 2008 03:02 PM

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

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. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. 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:

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

      2 Replies
      1. re: KirkK

        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

 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:
          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. 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

          Thanks, pinkamoeba! I will check it out.

        2. 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.

          1. 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? :)