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Dec 20, 2009 05:31 PM

Asian Herbs in Vancouver

Does anyone know of a good source for a wide variety of asian/Viet herbs close to downtown Vancouver?
I'm planning to make some laap/larb for Xmas eve dinner and T&T just doesn't cut it :). I'm looking for coriander and mint but also rice pady herb and saw tooth/laksa herb, and rau ram (that heart shaped leaf herb), fish mint/Diep Ca, etc... as well as fresh galangal.
I remember stumbling upon a rather dingy "supermarket" on Kingsway around 17th that surprisingly had an amazing selection of fresh herbs but if anyone has other sources I'd be most grateful.

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  1. Try
    Sieu Thi Wong Xin on Gore St
    Supermarket 88 on Victoria Dr
    Asian Way (?) Market next to T&T upstairs at 1st and Renfrew

    1 Reply
    1. re: fmed

      asia market on hastings might be worth a look

    2. I believe there's another Chong Lee that opened up on Renfrew across the street from the T&T complex. They would have fresh viet herbs.

      1. The other day T&T did have rau ram at their 1st Ave location as well as some others that I can't remember the name of.

        On Gore Avenue in Chinatown, about a block from the viaduct, there's a market that sells various types of asian herbs.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gourmet wife

          Third on the Gore Street store (I think that is the one fmed is referring to also). It is on the west side of Gore btwn Union and Georgia, less than a block from Phnom Penh in case you want to grab a bite there!) They have a good selection of fresh herbs and the owners are super friendly and helpful. I'm pretty sure I saw fresh galangal there last time too.

          Another option would be to call South China Seas in Granville Island. It has the advantage of easiest communication but of course you pay for it :-).

        2. not downtown but a quick train ride away, there is a shop in metrotown-metropolis that is a Chinese Herb store (close to the Superstore) BUT I don't know anything about chinese herbs so don't know if they would have exactly what you are looking for....could be a last resort if you don't find it here in Van.

          5 Replies
          1. re: selena03

            Chinese Herbs are different than what the OP is looking for. Chinese Herbs are usually dried medicinal herbs used to make medicinal teas and soups.

            The Vietnamese and other SE Asian herbs that mbe is looking for are fresh and added to pho, Vietnamese herb-plates etc. You can find the more common ones (various mints and basils, rau ram, etc) at dozens of the Vietnamese-run supermarkets around town. You might have to dig around for the more uncommon ones (eg fish mint, etc) - but they are out there. The ones I listed had fish mint that last few times I had visited them.

            PS there is a brand new Vietnamese supermarket across from Le Do on Hastings close to Nanaimo. I think it used to be a Chong Lee location before it shuttered a few months ago. I haven't been, but it looks pretty big.

            1. re: fmed

              Thanks everyone! This is a great great help, I'll have a shop and report back :)

              1. re: mbe

                Just came back from Sieu Thi Wong Xin and they had everything I needed and more in the herb department, as well as galangal, turmeric, and krachai, fresh green peppercorns, assorted mini eggplants, etc... All in nice little baggies (99c a pop for the herbs), all flown in from Vietnam, all quite fresh.
                According to the cashier, who was very kind and helpful and offered to repack some of the larger bags into half sized ones, the baby lotus root comes in tomorrow in the pm and they're open every day of the year. Except Chinese New Year.

                1. re: mbe

                  Thanks for reporting back. I really like that store, and now I'm going to remember the name :-).

                  1. re: grayelf

                    I just came across an old recommendation from chef Tina Fineza of where to shop for Asian herbs: Cantho (1106 Kingsway, 604-879-2718) -- may not be current but worth a look.