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Jun 9, 2010 08:31 AM

Where can I buy tamarind paste in Chicago?

Hi all,

I'd like to try my hand at Thai cooking, but the main thing stopping me is that I have no idea where to buy tamarind paste. I tried the Hong Kong Market in Chinatown, which is my go-to Asian grocery store, but they didn't have it. Should I be trying Indian grocery stores? Which ones?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Try a Hispanic market -- Cermak, Harvestime, Edgewater Produce, they all have it. I'm sure that the Hispanic markets in Pilsen do to if that's closer to you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: geg5150

      Thanks -- I didn't know tamarind was used in Hispanic cooking! I'm in Hyde Park, so it sounds like Pilsen is probably my best bet.

      What section of the store is tamarind paste usually in? Condiments? Spices?

      1. re: eakarink

        Your best bet is probably frozen rather than canned. Many of these stores also carry pods in the produce department if you want to make your own.

        More than a few taquerias offer tamarindo as a beverage. These usually have three self-agitating coolers: one for horchata, one for jamaica (hibiscus flower) and one for tamarindo. Virtually all have a tamarind-flavored soda.

    2. I believe I saw it at Fresh Farms in Niles a few weeks ago.

      1. You can also always try the Thai grocery stores off Argyle.

        1. I bought a small jar of tamarind paste from Patel Bros. on Devon.

          1. Go with the paste if you can--the pods are notoriously difficult to process.
            I seem to remember buying a sort of 'block' of tamarind several years ago from a Hispanic store near North/Ashland. In any case--it's not hard to find.