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Apr 28, 2009 06:59 PM

Where to find fresh Turmeric Roots in Bay Area?

Any suggestions as to where I can buy fresh turmeric roots in Bay Area? The only place I've seen them so far is at Draeger's in San Mateo, but they are quite expensive. Thanks for your help!

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  1. I've seen them at Berkeley Bowl. I've seen them at Alameda Natural Grocery, although I can't swear I've seen them recently. I would guess someone at the Alemany farmers' market has them. Do they have a "season"?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I saw fresh turmeric at Alameda Natural Grocery yesterday -- $13.95/lb, though.

    2. New May Wah in the Richmond District, San Francisco usually has some for pretty cheap. I suspect an Indian grocery store would also have some.

      New May Wah
      719 Clement St, San Francisco, CA

      1. Keep an eye out for galangal (the deep orange kind) at farmers markets or occasionally at Rainbow. To me it serves a similar purpose of brightening the color of a curry.

        11 Replies
        1. re: BernalKC

          Galangal doesn't taste anything like turmeric. It's closer to ginger.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Neither delivers much taste, IMO. For me, tumeric and galangal are about the color.

            But you're right of course about the ginger flavor -- though its pretty mild in the small quantities one uses. (We are talking about the small, bright orange rhizome, and not the larger, yellower one, right?) When I substitute galangal I have to adjust the spices slightly.

            1. re: BernalKC

              You mean lesser galangal? I've never come across that so I don't know about the flavor.

              Regular (greater) galangal (laos) has a fairly strong flavor in the quantities used in some Thai dishes and Cambodian sambals.

              Fresh turmeric will add a noticeable bitter, earthy flavor to a dish.

              This page has pictures of those and related rhizomes:


              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Yes, I was talking about the lesser galangal. But now that I'm seeing the images on that linked page, I wonder if the SE Asian vendors at the Alemany market got me all turned around. When I asked, years ago, what they were selling they gave the name galangal (or that's what my ear picked up and later googled) but it may have actually been tumeric. I am pretty sure that what I've seen at Rainbow is tumeric. But the Alemany produce was scrawnier if not as long as the pictured lesser galangal. Hard to say.

                1. re: BernalKC

                  Rainbow grocery carries both galangal and turmeric. Turmeric looks sort of like grubs, it's typically in pieces the size of a small pinky or smaller, while galangal is like large ginger imagined by a cubist painter.

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  What a coincidence -- I'm drinking turmeric (ucchin) tea as I read this!

                  It's definitely earthy, but I don't really find it bitter.

                    1. re: Debbie M

                      What is the appeal of tumeric tea? Coincidence-wise, there were cans of tumeric tea for 25 cents at the Oakland Grocery Outlet last week. If the line had not been so backed up I would have given it a try.

                      1. re: rworange

                        It's supposed to be very good for your health, specifically the liver. In Okinawa turmeric is a popular hangover tonic. I just like the taste of the tea; it's especially refreshing cold.


                        Were those cans at Grocery Outlet the Andrew Weil/Ito-En brand? Either way, I'll have to go check it out. Thanks for the heads up!

                        1. re: Debbie M


                          They also had the Darjeeling and Green White. I think the Berkeley store has it too. While I was in the checkout line some guy had three bags filled with cans that size. I was wondering what it was that was on sale.

                          1. re: Debbie M

                            There have also been studies that have linked turmeric consumption to a lower incidence of Alzheimer's in certain countries.

              2. i often see them at rainbow grocery in SF

                1 Reply
                1. Berkeley Bowl had both white and yellow fresh tumeric roots yesterday, buta they were also expensive at almost $5 lb

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rworange

                    It's strong stuff. You'd only need an ounce or so unless you were cooking in restaurant quantities.