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Need recommendation for stocking up on dried chiles

kiwichowhound Oct 25, 2010 10:30 AM

I am a Kiwi (from NZ) flying through LA en route home, and I need recommendations for the best place to stock up on dried mexican chiles (anchos, guajillos, etc - which incidentally, cost a fortune in NZ). We are staying in the Hollywood/Highland area and have no car (eek - yes, I know!) so recommendations for stores accessible by subway would be great.
Thanks very much.

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    Bradbury Oct 25, 2010 10:57 AM

    Fortunately, dried chilies are pretty cheap in these parts. Head a couple miles (south)east and you have a number of options. You might start with Jons Marketplace, a small chain with a number of specialty Mexican foods: www.jonsmarketplace.com

    They have a location about a 15 minute walk from Hollywood/Highland on La Brea near Fountain, or you can take the Red Line 3 stops to Sunset/Vermont and there's another one less than a block from there.

    1. Dommy Oct 25, 2010 11:02 AM

      Right by H&H is Fresh & Easy which should have the basics. For more selection, get on the Red Line and head to the Pershing Square stop, head up Broadway to Grand Central Market. They have a bigger selection of dried chiles as well as a fresh mole vendor (That is something I always bring home as well... it'll keep)

      Grand Central Market
      317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

      9 Replies
      1. re: Dommy
        Bradbury Oct 25, 2010 03:25 PM

        Grand Central Market is a great idea too. One thing I forgot, though, when I gave the above suggestions: if I recall correctly, NZ has especially strict customs regulations for food/animal imports.

        Perhaps the OP can let us know if dried chiles, etc. can be bought in bulk from a bin (common in Mexican markets here) and brought through customs in hand-tied plastic bags, or if you need pre-sealed retail packages?

        1. re: Bradbury
          kiwichowhound Oct 26, 2010 12:33 AM

          Yes, I am pretty sure I will only be able to bring into NZ chiles in commercially sealed packages...(ie not bulk bin, unfortunately.) Is it likely I will find these at the markets mentioned in the posts here?

          1. re: kiwichowhound
            AAQjr Oct 26, 2010 12:56 AM

            If you are looking for commercially packaged chiles.. I like the 'El Guapo' Brand

            1. re: kiwichowhound
              Dommy Oct 26, 2010 12:44 PM

              Yup! :)


              1. re: Dommy
                kiwichowhound Oct 27, 2010 06:05 AM

                Great. Is it likely I'll find this brand at the Fresh & Easy or at the Grand Central Market? (Am imagining that the market might only have bulk/unsealed bags...)

                Grand Central Market
                317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                1. re: kiwichowhound
                  Dommy Oct 27, 2010 09:18 AM

                  I'm not sure what brands they carry sorry! At the Market, you want to go to the 'market' area they have them there on peg boards or and ask for Packaged Chiles, most there speak English okay just in case you should ask for "Chiles secos en paquete" Chi -Leis Sek-Kos ehn Pack-Et-Tay


                  1. re: Dommy
                    kiwichowhound Oct 29, 2010 02:46 PM

                    Many thanks - will post how I get on, esp. with getting them through NZ customs!!

          2. re: Dommy
            DiveFan Oct 25, 2010 04:15 PM

            BTW Grand Central Market is only a block from the north entrance of the Red Line Pershing Square station. Likewise +1 on the reco for the Jons near the Sunset/Vermont station.

            Haven't been to the Sunday Hollywood Farmers Market (Ivar and Selma) in a while, but there might be some good product there. Be prepared for 'expensive'.

            Be sure to look for the freshest, brightest colors on the dried chiles. If they look dull, don't buy them. I suspect dirty looking ones would freak out the customs inspectors. I haven't had good luck with long term storage of chiles; good ones look tired after six months or so.

            An idea, why not have a US friend ship them to you marked as a 'gift'? Our packages to my sister in Oz get through with minimum fuss that way.

            Grand Central Market
            317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

            Jons Marketplace No 11
            1601 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

            Hollywood Farmers Market
            1600 Ivar Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

            1. re: DiveFan
              kiwichowhound Oct 26, 2010 12:34 AM

              Great idea re the mail - I might send myself a gift!

          3. a
            AAQjr Oct 25, 2010 11:53 AM

            Grand Central is a great recommendation.

            Public transportation is not my strong suit, but it is def worth it to check out Vallarta the Mexican supermarkets for all sorts of fun stuff.

            Vallarta Supermarket
            10859 Oxnard St North, Hollywood, CA

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