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Feb 24, 2011 07:34 AM

Halifax: where to get fresh Kaffir lime leaves?

Does anyone know where to get fresh kaffir lime leaves? I've picked up dried ones from Don88, but I want some fresh ones.

I'd also like to know if one of the Asian groceries specializes on the Thai end of things rather than the Chinese. In addition to the kaffir lime leaves, I am interested in a good source for kaffir limes, shrimp pastes, and galangal (kha).

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  1. Try
    Tian Phat Asian Grocery
    209 Bedford Hwy
    Halifax, NS B3M 2J9, Canada
    They usually have frozen lime leaves and sometimes they have kaffir limes as well as galangal and other Thai ingredients.

    16 Replies
    1. re: boynamedsous

      I've never seen kaffir limes, but I would be ridiculously excited to find them there. They always have frozen lime leaves. Tian Phat carries thai, vietnamese and filipino shrimp pastes. Galangal is only really found frozen in these parts. Avoid dried varieties of galangal or lime leaves as the aromatic oils in them have pretty much gone.

      1. re: boynamedsous

        Thanks for the suggestion, I made it out to Tian Phat on the weekend. I picked up thai basil, frozen galangal and frozen lime leaves. I defrosted a small piece of the galangal and it is very squishy and full of water. I was under the impression that galangal should be very hard - harder than ginger. Anyone know what the story is?

        1. re: analysisparalysis

          When fresh, galangal is harder than ginger. When you can only get it frozen, you should grate it when frozen. Since galangal, like ginger, is a rhizome, it is bascially nothing but water. When it freezes, the cellular walls break down and you're left with a very squishy mess. So just grate it when frozen. I use a microplane since it can be very fibrous and a box grater will just make a mess.

          1. re: simonathibault

            Those rhizomes get you every time.
            Thanks for the tip.

            1. re: analysisparalysis

              No worries. The good news is if you have any friends who travel to Montreal, they can pick you up some (as well as kaffir limes) in chinatown, make your paste and freeze it. Thai curry pastes freeze remarkably well.

              1. re: simonathibault

                It would be nice if a local greenhouse operator grew a few of those kaffir lime seeds so we had access to a handful of fresh leaves when needed. There are also a few Asian vegs (Convolvulus!) that grow in water that would be a no-brainer to grow and sell to restaurants. Fresh galangal and ginger (yes fresh is surprisingly much better than the supermarket stuff (latter easy enough to grow but on the coast the crop's not ready till autumn). Mind you you'd have to do this for the love of it because you'd not get rich in this limited market. Just a thought though.

                1. re: chilibeanpaste

                  if you know where to get seeds for those, i know someone who may be willing to grow them.

                  1. re: simonathibault

                    I am going to Toronto next week and will try to get some kaffir lime fruit and be in touch. Otherwise a friend knows of a seed source. I intend to bring home a 3-4 bottles of no-salt Shaoxing wine as I'm down to the last bottle. Intending to hit a Malaysian restaurant so more to follow.

                    1. re: chilibeanpaste

                      can you find me on twitter and msg me? @simonathibault

                      1. re: chilibeanpaste

                        Would you tell me the name of the no salt Shaoxing wine? Thanks

                        1. re: cadfael

                          How about lemongrass - anyplace to get it fresh in Halifax? And good curry pastes?

                          1. re: bobadr

                            I've had good luck finding lemongrass in Sobeys (Windsor Street), Superstore (Young St., Joseph Howe Dr., Wuinpool), and at Pete's Frootique (downtown).

                            There are a number of Asian Grocery stores that may have good curry pastes, but they're easy enough to make yourself if you have a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, or you'd rather let someone else press the button to mash up your herbs and spices, check around - I couldn't tell you which brands are superior... maybe someone else on here could shed some light

                            1. re: eastcoastal

                              Thanks eastcoastal...I'll start doing pushups with that food processor finger...
                              In Thailand we'd just buy the paste at Tesco or local stores - it's like taking home a quart of milk. Next time in Halifax, I'll check out the stores you mentioned

                              1. re: eastcoastal

                                Pete's Frootique in Bedford usually has lemongrass, as does, as expected, Tian Phat on the Bedford Highway.

                            2. re: cadfael

                              Sorry I missed your posting somehow. The bottle here simply says Shao Hsing Rice Wine, I got it in Berlin; the rest of the label is in Dutch but no brand name. BTW the owner of the Toronto shop said he only had the salted kind so I left without it. Later someone Chinese posted that he got some at the same shop - apparently the owner is wary about selling to unknowns under the table!

                      2. re: simonathibault

                        Curious, Which curry pastes do you make? I have 9 recipes for different pastes including:
                        - Chuu Che Curry Paste
                        - Green Curry Paste
                        - Jungle Curry Paste
                        - Massaman Curry Paste
                        - Panang Curry Paste
                        - Red Curry Paste
                        - Red Hot Curry Paste
                        - Sour Curry Paste
                        and Yellow Curry Paste

              2. I'll bump this up just for an update: The Spice Man (Costas Halavrezos) has Kaffir lime leaves at his stall in the old brewery market. And a lot of other wonderful spices as well. Tonka beans even!

                1 Reply
                1. re: WryAndGinger

                  re: The Spice Man

                  Fresh or dried Kaffir lime leaves? As Simon mentioned dried are useless.

                  Frozen are passable. A friend has a tree and the leaves are much more potent.

                  BTW - Tropic to Tropic Plants in B.C. sells Kaffir lime plants.

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