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Sep 4, 2008 10:17 AM

Indian Groceries (and Tamarind Pulp) in S. Seattle?

Any ideas in the vicinity of Columbia City or Genesee St.? Last night I was scrambling to find tamardind pulp for an in-progress Goan curry I was making, and was ultimately denied at several places. I had my eye out for the "Tamcon" product I had purchased in the past, a dark paste in small plastic jar that is produced in Thailand or India.

The Safeway on Rainier has a fairly decent selection of "ethnic" foods (mostly mexican) but no tamardind pulp. My most proximate target for Indian staples is a Somali market on Rainier about one block south of tutta bella, but it was closed. Also tried the Mexican shop in the strip with Rainier Billards across the street-no dice. I went to Tagla Market, a tiny Ethiopian place, but they didn't have it etither. I drove by Mekong Rainier, a recently remodled Vietnamese/Camboidan grocery but it was closed.

This question dovetails with this recent post which raises the question of curry leaves in Seattle. I think there is a terrible shortage of Indian groceries in the city limits generally.

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  1. While neither is SUPER close to you, the two places I pick stuff up are below:
    -mini mart on jefferson just east of broadway
    -Pakistani/Indian store on the ave around...maybe 55th?

    The mini mart doesn't have an extensive collection, it might have tamarind pulp, I don't know but it does have an extensive selection of spices, and such. It looks like a trashy heap and is mostly used by bums buying cheap beer, but if you go in they totally have a ridiculous amount of spices...I was so shocked when I went in to solve an ice cream craving and came out with a bag of fenugreek...

    1. Have you seen this list?

      You are probably out of luck if you want to find something in South Seattle proper.

      I usually end up making my own tamarind paste with blocks of pulp from Uwajimaya (i.e. pushing through a sieve), but that's not a process you want to start in the middle of preparing a meal...

      1. This isn't terribly close to you but they have a lot of product and a fresh bakery. I buy their premade samosas (in ziploc bags in the freezer section) throw them in my freezer and just heat them when I want them. Also in the freezer they have pre-cubed and fried panneer. Way less work! Good selection of spice, legumes, all things Indian. I haven't looked for tamarind paste, but would assume they have it.
        It is located on downtown Renton, in the strip mall just north of Fred Meyer, same parking lot.

        1. Big John's PFI in SODO (near Uwajimaya) has some Indian and Middle Eastern products. They are mostly mediterranean food products, but I believe I have seen some other imports there too.

          1. You might be able to find it at Mekong Rainer or at least find whole tamarind and then make your own.

            There is an indian or pakistani [maybe?] place down rainer past columbia City, past Hillman, not quite as far as the Rainer Community Center in the same shopping mall as the new middle eastern restaurant that got written up a while. I think the cross street is the same one that Aki Kurose is on and there is a big empty lot on the right side of Rainer across from where it is. Anyrate, they have lots of Indian stuff ---I bought a nice big bag of parboiled bengali rice---and I think I saw tamarind there.

            Note that it doesn't exactly say Indian grocery on the front--might say something like Halal meat market....

            sorry I can't remember the exact address. I'll try to take a look this weekend.........

            1 Reply
            1. re: jenn

              Thanks everyone for the thoughts so far.

              I found Tamicon at PCC in Seward Park last night. But I will be looking for curry leaves, mustard seed, and sour mango powder in the near future.

              Jenn-- I know the strip you speak of. I would be surprised if that Halal place was Pakistani and not Somali, but that doesn't mean they won't have some good stuff. I'll probably stop by there on my way to Pabla in renton the next time I need Indian stuffs.