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Thai or Vietnamese basil on the West side???

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Chowhounds, you've always come through for me in the past. I often cook Vietnamese or Thai dishes and, begrudgingly, I always leave out the basil because it's difficult to find in my neck of the woods. I alway pick some up if I happen to be in SGV or Little Saigon, but it doesn't last long and I end up using a bit and then throwing the rest out. I now know where to kaffir lime leaves on the west side thanks to you guys. What about Thai or Vietnamese basil? The kind you get when you eat pho (with the purplish stems). The typical basil you find in most markets is just not the same.... :( and the dishes I cook just aren't the same as a result.

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  1. simpang asia in palms.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wilafur

      Hi, I pick up kaffir lime leaves at Simpang Asia and never see Thai or Vietnamese basil. Have you seen it there?

      -----
      Simpang Asia
      10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

    2. I saw some at the Santa Monica farmers market last Saturday, and in Mid-City if it's not too far for you, there's a stand at the Larchmont FM (Sundays) that almost always has Thai basil. I don't know the name of the stands, so you would have to look a bit. Maybe someone else will know what I'm talking about and will help you with the exact names.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bad nono

        Thanks for your reply. I'm looking for a place I can pick it up a little more regularly. For example, it's Wednesday night and I've decided to cook a nice Thai curry, so I better run out and get some basil....

        1. re: hch_nguyen

          I am almost positive they have it at:

          El Camaguey Meat Market

          10925 Venice Blvd
          Los Angeles, CA 90034
          (310) 839-4037

          1. re: Servorg

            Interesting. I'll give them a try! Thanks!

            1. re: hch_nguyen

              Just wondered if you ever found it on the west side (and if so where you ended up getting it)? Always good information to have (as a group).

      2. Have any luck? You might also want to try Home Depot or Lowes. For $3 you can buy a small Thai basil bush and throw it in a small pot with some potting soil and always have some on hand...for just about 6$ total! Just keep it on a sunny windowsil and water a few times a week.

        1 Reply
        1. re: TomPizza

          one can also put the stems in a glass of water til the roots grow, then you plant them. basil grows quite vigorously.

          i do this with the ones i get from vietnamese restaurants.

        2. I bought a couple of plants from the farmer's market and put them in a window box- I have 4, so when one needs some time to grow I can move on to the next...

          1. Your best bet would be the local FMs around the Westside. I usually see the Vietnamese-type basil at the Sunday Mar Vista FM on Grand View. Two of the veggie stands are operated by (I think) Laotian or Cambodian farmers. They'll normally carry a lot of the SE Asian veggies, greens and herbs.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bulavinaka

              I've found over the past two weekends that basil of any kind has been almost nonexistent at the Mar Vista FM. While I did get Thai basil last weekend, I didn't find it this weekend. And the Genovese basil that is usually everywhere, was only at one stand (the stand selling salad greens, baby potatoes and garlic) was the only place offering a small amount.

              1. re: bulavinaka

                Thanks for the heads-up, Bulavinaka.

            2. Hi All,

              Thanks for everyone's replies. I don't *think* I have succeeded in finding Thai/Viet basil on the West Side yet. The reason I say I don't think is that I stopped by El Camaguey Market on Venice like someone on here suggested and saw something that definitely looked like it could be what I was looking for, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it was in fact Mexican (cinnamon) basil instead. They are very similar looking with the purplish stems and flowers. By no means am I an expert on such things, but considering it was a Mexican market and the strong resemblance between the two varieties, I think the likelihood is high. Can anyone help me confirm?

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              El Camaguey Market
              10925 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: hch_nguyen

                They may look the same, but they won't taste the same.

                I agree with the other posters who have suggested going to the Hmong vegetable sellers at your local farmers market as the best option.

                Though in a pinch, IMHO better off using a bit of regular basil, rather than omit it entirely. I've done it. It's not quite the same, but tastes good just the same.

              2. There is a new Thai Market opening at 11127 Venice Blvd (Sepulveda & Venice) Same strip mall as Howard's Avocado Bacon Burgers. I went this morning and they're not completely finished but they will sell Thai groceries, have a steam tablet with food, and sell some Thai desserts. In summary, indeed there will be a source for Thai basil on the Westside. Yey!

                1 Reply
                1. re: pandapenny

                  Oh, how exciting! Thanks for the heads up!!!!