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Apr 20, 2009 02:16 PM

kaffir lime leaves & other such ingreds -- where near Providence?

I am going to be cooking from a book called Cradle of Flavor in May (recipes from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore) for Cookbook of the Month on the Home Cooking board here at chow. So I'm wondering where in/around Providence I can find some of the more elusive ingredients, like kaffir lime leaves, galangal, star anise. I think the Asian market on Broad Street carries some of this (lemongrass, at least) or perhaps the Indian grocery on Hope Street.

But I wonder if there's another spot I might check? Cranston, Warwick, Seekonk all fine, anywhere near Providence. Thanks for any and all tips!


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    1. Hi,

      One of the Best in RI Asian stores is on Rolf St in Cranston Its huge, beand new I have been there only once but didnt even look at the name The items will have you in there all day.

      1. re: Frank Terranova

        anyone know the name of this place on Rolfe St

        1. re: theparegorickid

          I don't know the name of that store, but you could keep a kaffir lime tree very easily; we bought ours at Logee's Greenhouse in CT and it has been producing steadily for years. They are small & low-maintenance, with impressive thorns. A lovely aroma for the house. We enjoy Southeast Asian cookery and always have the freshest ingredients at hand this way. You can grow your own lemongrass by planting the bulb end of your supermarket stalk; Thai chilies and coriander grow well in a window box.

          Good luck!

    2. One of the nicest Asian groceries in Providence is the Mekong Market on Smith (near the North Providence line), they are Laotian and cater to that style of Lao, N. Thai & Cambodian ingredients. I recently bought Kaffir lime leaves there. Also, the family and staff that run the store are exceptionally helpful and kind. And finally, if you happen to go there on a Saturday or Sunday, I strongly reccommend their homemade Lao sausage (ask, it is usually hidden in the refridgerated cases), if you like rustic sausage, these are sublime!

      4 Replies
      1. re: qianning

        Are you sure this place is near the North Providence line? I live in Providence, a block off Smith and within a half a mile of the North Providence line and I'm not familiar with this market. There is a market on Smith in the heart of Smith hill, that is between Chalkstone and Orms, right next door to a Thai/Lao restaurant.

        1. re: Frobisher

          i guess near the line is relative...

          1. re: Frobisher

            Yes, on Smith between Chalkstone and Orms --that's the address I found at 375 Smith Street when I searched online. The only Mekong Market listed online is on Broad Street, but there is a Mekong Restaurant at that Smith Street address. I assme that's the one qianning means. I am going to head over to check it out today or tomorrow. Great! thanks! I will report back!

            1. re: foxy fairy

              good luck. i don't remeber the cross streets, but the market is definitely on Smith, and definitely next door to a Lao/Thai restaurant, and definitely on the north side of the street (right hand side if headed towards north prov). I am pretty sure that the sign out front says Mekong Market. I don't get down there as often as i used to, but sometimes they have fresh pennywort, if you notice any, I'd love to know--it is worth a special trip!

        2. All the ingredients and many more that you'll need (I've cooked out of that cookbook a bit) can be found at Five Star Market on Dexter in Providence. I sound like a broken record, repeating myself every few months, but it's a wonderful market full of Asian ingredients, particularly Southeast Asian. You may want to look in the frozen section for some more obscure ingredients (I found Daun Pandan leaves there a year or so ago), and the other challenge is that there may be a language barrier, as I think some of the ingredients go by different names in different cultures.

          I described Five Star's location here:

          2 Replies
          1. re: celeriac

            Wow, celeriac! Great. I just posted on the Cradle of Flavor thread that I stopped at the aforementioned market, as well as two other Asian grocers and Whole Foods, and I couldn't get my hands on the daun salam leaves. So I will check out Five Star Market tomorrow to try to get the daun salam leaves. Thank you so much.

            1. re: foxy fairy

              Hmm, don't know if they have Daun Salam or not, I wasn't looking for them. What I got was Daun Pandan, aka Screwpine, which are called for in a several recipes. But they may have the Salam too. One piece of advice, look up other names for them (Salam is apparently also called Indian Bay).

          2. The market on Smith Street is called Lao Lanexang Market, next to Mekong Restaurant, at 375 Smith Street, Providence. Phone is (401) 272-2678.

            I stopped by the Lao Lanexang Market this afternoon. The staff impressed me -- the cashier was friendly and very helpful in finding the ingredients, walking around the store to help me locate everything. He also spoke excellent English and bubbled with enthusiasm. He even looked through the cookbook with me! :)

            At the market, I was able to get kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, fresh galangal, and other staples like peanut oil, coconut milk, bulk shallots and garlic. All of the produce looked great, and I enjoyed the ambiance. I will definitely visit this market again.

            1 Reply
            1. re: foxy fairy

              Glad you liked the market. I don't live in the Providence area anymore, but whenever I am nearby I always stop there and get sausages if they have them as well as look at the produce (they often carry produce that I can't find even in Boston or Lowell). One thing I like about the store, they seem to emphasize quality/freshness of the produce over just having it available, so there are some seasonality/availability issues. Still for cleanliness, friendliness and quality they are one of my all time favorite Asian MarKets in New England.

              Not living in Providence area anymore, I am not sure what specific vendors are best these days, but having cooked from the Oselund book in the past (it is wonderful), while living near Providence, you probably also need to find an Indian grocer (there used to be a couple of good ones in Pawtucket on/near Newport Ave closish to the Attleboro line, I can't remeber the names or the exact addresses, but one of the two had very good produce, and they both carried full lines of dried spices and flours), and possibly even a Thai grocer--there used to be one in downtown Attleboro a block back from the library.

            2. Five Star Supermarket, Inc
              25 Bucklin Street
              Providence RI
              (401) 421-6400

              I checked this out today, per celeriac's suggestion. Thanks! They were really friendly and I picked up Indonesian sweet soy sauce and tamarind paste. I couldn't get the fresh turmeric or the dried daun salam there (although there were some dried leaves in produce but they couldn't give me a name for them).

              This is a Cambodian market at the corner of Dexter and Hanover in Providence, a couple of blocks from the corner of Dexter and Cranston. Dexter turns into Bucklin after it crosses Woodman, which is why the official address for this market is 25 Bucklin Street.

              I liked the layout. Spacious. Good selection of produce and the chicken looked good. Friendly staff :) who asked all kinds of interested questions about which recipes I will be making. They wanted to know if I've been to Cambodia yet (I have not) and made me feel quite at ease.

              1 Reply
              1. re: foxy fairy

                this web site from the university of melbourne has a great searchable database of herb names using both biological name as well as common names in many languages.