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Where to find fresh Turmeric Roots in Bay Area?

Noodlebabe Apr 28, 2009 06:59 PM

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!

  1. Ruth Lafler Apr 28, 2009 07:10 PM

    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
      Ruth Lafler May 7, 2009 12:52 PM

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

    2. s
      sfbing Apr 28, 2009 11:34 PM

      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. BernalKC Apr 29, 2009 12:41 AM

        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
          Robert Lauriston Apr 29, 2009 08:41 AM

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

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            BernalKC Apr 29, 2009 09:32 AM

            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
              Robert Lauriston Apr 29, 2009 10:05 AM

              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
                BernalKC Apr 29, 2009 11:00 AM

                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
                  SteveG May 1, 2009 10:18 AM

                  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
                  Debbie M May 13, 2009 06:42 PM

                  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
                    Debbie M May 13, 2009 06:46 PM


                    1. re: Debbie M
                      rworange May 13, 2009 09:15 PM

                      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
                        Debbie M May 14, 2009 10:03 AM

                        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
                          rworange May 14, 2009 10:28 AM


                          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
                            adrienne156 May 14, 2009 04:51 PM

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

              2. augustiner Apr 29, 2009 12:45 AM

                i often see them at rainbow grocery in SF

                1 Reply
                1. re: augustiner
                  BernalKC May 7, 2009 02:03 PM

                  confirmed @ $13.99/lb

                2. rworange May 1, 2009 09:33 AM

                  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
                    Robert Lauriston May 1, 2009 09:35 AM

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

                  2. l
                    lihsiawang May 1, 2009 09:43 PM

                    99 ranch has turmeric

                    1. m
                      Mary64 May 7, 2009 01:48 PM

                      The Asian Market in San Rafael (on Mary Street - near Whole Foods) has tumeric root.

                      1. docdmh May 7, 2009 02:18 PM

                        I see them many places in SF: Falletti's, Whole Foods, Rainbow, etc.; at most good diverse produce sites. And, yes, they are expensive by the pound, but you need so little, it doesn't matter.

                        1. a
                          adrienne156 May 13, 2009 04:26 PM

                          Monterey Market in the aisle where the mushrooms usually are. Fresh wild morels are also $20 a pound if anyone is interested (bumped by the rain).

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