I recently returned from a trip to Thailand where one of my activities was attending a cooking school. I've been able to find all of the ingredients from the class, except one... pandamus leaves. Can anyone steer me in the right direction to find this elusive ingredient?
Things to note in Chinatown: the likelihood that they will be labeled "Pandanus" is pretty much 0. They will probably be called "Vietnamese herbs" or something similar. Also, it is unlikely that anyone will have sufficient English to help you find them, so make 100% sure you know exactly what they look like (use Google image searches to inform yourself if you're not confident in your ability to identify them by sight).
Most places should carry them, and they'll probably be in the fresh section with Thai basil, chillies, galangal, shiso, morning glory, etc.
They're often carried fresh at Chinatown grocery stores, in my experience (which has mostly been in Chinatown East). I never thought of them as elusive - fairly common, actually. They come in a bunch in a plastic wrapped container backed with styrofoam. I used to buy them all the time to flavour rice and make Malaysian dadar.
I haven't looked recently, but I have previously found it in the frozen section of some of the grocery stores in the Spadina chinatown and also at T&T. It is usually in the same general area as the frozen banana leaves. (It is also labeled as 'Pandan' or screwpine - equivalent names and taste)
I've never seen them (or heard of them before your post) but I found the most comprehensive supplier of Thai ingredients to be:
Vientiane Trading Co.Ltd.
51B Jutland Rd, Toronto, On M8Z 2G6
Tel, 416 743 2911
They supply many of the Thai restaurants in Toronto and also sell to the public.
What dish do you use them for and how?