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Achiote paste (or annatto seeds) in Vancouver

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I'm looking to make pork carnitas this week and my recipe calls for achiote paste. The recipe mentions I need about half a package, so apparently you can get this packaged, but I'm also willing to make my own (I think I'd rather make my own actually) with annatto seeds if those are available. Does anyone know where I can acquire either ingredients? I'm guessing someone down on Commercial probably has them, but I'm not really familiar with Mexican/Latino grocers. Thanks in advance folks!

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  1. El Sureno on Commercial Drive will have it. They also have bottled sour orange juice that is often used in carnita recipes. Filipino grocers will have annatto ("achuete") as well. There are a number on Main St and 16th-ish.

    1 Reply
    1. I found annato at a Chinese grocer in Calgary. Quite a surprise but it was much cheaper than the Latino places.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sarah galvin

        Ha! My roommate and I were just talking about the odd crossover that can happen in ethnic grocers. I happened to find my annatto seeds at El Sureno. $2 for a decent sized jar. They had a number of ready made achiote paste packages too. Lot's of cool stuff at El Sureno, and I didn't find it unfriendly like another post on here mentioned. The owner thought I was latino and started speaking spanish when I asked about tomatillos. I can't speak spanish at all! To his defense, I had tortillas, annatto and a couple bags of yerba mate. Who but latinos would buy that anyways? Haha..

        1. re: peter.v

          you can tell me all day long how "healthy" yerba mate is, as an EX-friend used to, but the stuff just tastes nasty

          1. re: vandan

            Oh, I would never tell anybody that it's healthy. I think most of the pseudo-health propaganda for all of these beverages is crap, even for coffee, and I've worked in the industry for years. I actually like the stuff. An old friend from Uruguay got me into it. It needs to be drunk properly of course. Lots of leaves and a bombilla to sip through. I can understand why a lot of people wouldn't like maté though. Each to their own!

            1. re: peter.v

              true enough i even drank it out of the traditional cup with straw thingy and still , yikes!