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Oct 25, 2010 10:30 AM

Need recommendation for stocking up on dried chiles

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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  1. 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:

    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. 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

        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

          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

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

              1. re: Dommy

                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

                  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

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

          2. re: Dommy

            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

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

          3. 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