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Finding Thai ingredients in the Pittsburgh area

ayerarcturus Aug 27, 2010 01:07 PM

Hey all,

I was reading the It Rains Fishes cookbook by Kasma Loha-Unchit and figure it's time to try some recipes. I can find some of the standard ingredients (fish sauce, shrimp paste -- mostly from Lotus Mart) but others remain elusive (kaffir lime leaves, galangal, green curry paste). We probably don't have the density to support a proper Thai grocer, but have any of you found an Asian market that carries more Thai ingredients than Lotus Mart? I'd be willing to drive ~20 miles from the city if necessary. Thanks!

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  1. k
    kevin.dickerson RE: ayerarcturus Aug 27, 2010 03:12 PM

    There are none I know of. In fact, I cannot find any good asian ingredients. Here is an idea though: Green Mango and Sun Panang have good ingredients, try asking them where they get theirs. I know the girl at Sun Panang will definitely talk to you about food and ingredients.

    The Green Mango
    3462 William Penn Hwy, Pittsburgh, PA 15235

    2 Replies
    1. re: kevin.dickerson
      burghgal RE: kevin.dickerson Aug 30, 2010 05:34 AM

      I only get stuff at Lotus. They do have tins of green, red and yellow curry paste - finding them in the store is another issue. I agree - ask the folks where they get their supplies - let us know :)

      1. re: kevin.dickerson
        ayerarcturus RE: kevin.dickerson Sep 2, 2010 09:04 PM

        I figured as much. Next time I'm over at Sun Panang I'll ask and see if they have any idea. Thanks!

      2. r
        rbg219 RE: ayerarcturus May 23, 2011 11:35 AM

        Just a bump to see if anyone has found a source for these ingredients? I'm in the same boat as the OP. Thanks!

        3 Replies
        1. re: rbg219
          burghgal RE: rbg219 May 25, 2011 05:39 AM

          Lotus Foods has green curry paste. I bought all the colors (red, yellow, green) from there. I don't know about the others though :(

          1. re: burghgal
            kevin.dickerson RE: burghgal May 25, 2011 03:10 PM

            What brand of curry did you buy? I know I like Mae Ploy, which has a white plastic lid on a plastic tub, and then comes in a plastic bag inside of that. I really don't like any brand that comes in a glass jar.

            1. re: kevin.dickerson
              burghgal RE: kevin.dickerson May 26, 2011 07:07 AM

              Mine is in a can.. I'll have to check at home. It's wicked hot.. found that out when I made curry soup.. thought it wasn't hot enough.. added a big glob of curry only... about blew my head off hahaha

        2. Jay F RE: ayerarcturus May 26, 2011 07:30 AM

          I wonder if you would find what you're looking for at one of the Market District stores. I've bought some pre-made Indian curry paste. Didn't like it, but there sure were a lot of different nationalities represented in their international sections.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Jay F
            burghgal RE: Jay F May 26, 2011 09:33 AM

            Jay - it's not the same. I bought curry at a "regular" store and it was very bland. I actually used a whole jar to make Thai soup.

            These Asian curries are authentic and really good (really hot).

            1. re: burghgal
              Jay F RE: burghgal May 26, 2011 05:43 PM

              I'm glad it's different. Whatever that was I bought, it tasted like $6 worth of nothing. Where is Lotus Foods?

              1. re: Jay F
                Augie6 RE: Jay F May 27, 2011 05:36 AM

                Lotus is in the stip corner of penn and want to say 17th ish... being of Italian decent walking in that grocery plays havoc on my sense of smell... very odd ingrediants on display

                1. re: Augie6
                  Jay F RE: Augie6 May 27, 2011 07:21 AM

                  I know just where you mean, Augie. And though I'm not Italian by birth, it is my favorite food, and Lotus smells odd to me, too. In fact, the only time I went there, I either waited outside while a friend shopped there or told him to meet me at In the Kitchen.

                  I wonder what that smell is.

          2. z
            zucchiniman RE: ayerarcturus May 27, 2011 12:40 PM

            I've seen galangal and lemongrass at asian markets in the strip, but it's been a while and don't remember which ones.

            Kaffir lime leaves are another story - I've heard they're not allowed to sell them in PA due to some scare about plant disease... don't know if that's true.

            I've ordered lime leaves online from importfood.com and been very satisfied with the results. I froze all the leaves I couldn't use within a week, and they're still very good after 6 months.

            Also, I've been happy with Mae Ploy thai curries (except their panang), but really love the Hand brand curries from the site I mentioned. They also sell loose thai tea (yum!)

            1 Reply
            1. re: zucchiniman
              burghgal RE: zucchiniman May 31, 2011 05:21 AM

              My brand of curry paste is Maesri. It's made in Thailand. There is also an Oriental Market in N. Hills open that is smaller but somewhat comparable to Lotus Foods.

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