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Where to buy Thai ingredients in NJ

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Hi all - I've just returned from a trip to Thailand and would love to start making some Thai food at home. I live in Westfield. Does anyone know of any grocery stores that would carry kaffir lime, lemongrass, thai basil, etc. that is a reasonable distance (within half an hour) drive? I've been to the Asian markets in Edison but don't recall seeing Thai ingredients specifically. Any recommendation is much appreciated!

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  1. I have bought lemongrass from Kam Man Foods in Edison before but not sure about the other stuff you are mentioning.

    I have not been there for ages but this is a (small) Thai run grocery store & restaurant:
    Four Seasons Thai Cuisine & Grocery
    1353 Stelton Road, Piscataway, NJ

    1. I, too, love cooking Thai! Lemongrass is pretty ubiquitous these days...even Shop Rite and Stop & Shop carry it. However, I share your frustration over not being able to consistently find fresh other ingredients. I've occasionally found fresh galangal at H-Mart on Rt 27 in Edison and at the asian market next to Crown Palace on Rt 35 in Middletown. You may laugh, but I finally resorted to growing my own Lemongrass, Thai Basil...and even bought a Kaffir Lime tree! Honestly, the plants are pretty much self sufficient as long as they get sun and water...and it was one of the best investments I've made...inexpensive as well! And the convenience of not having to drive anywhere is invaluable! Plus, you can't beat freshly picked kaffir lime leaves and basil! So fragrant!

      -----
      Crown Palace
      1285 State Route 35, Middletown, NJ 07748

      6 Replies
      1. re: doggiedoc

        A kaffir lime tree will last forever with very little maintenance, unless you're like me, and your wife throws it away because it's ugly. Where did you get yours? I have to get another.

        Kaffir leaf is by far the hardest to find (and hardest to substitute) of all the ingredients. Some Thai markets will have it frozen, but I haven't seen it in a while. But surely they can order it.

        1. re: tommy

          DOH! Immediate grounds for divorce! ;) (note to self: maybe that's why you're still single...?)
          I actually ordered mine online from a small outfit that specialized in citrus trees...can't remember the name off the top of my head but I'll track it down and get back to you. Prior to that, the only place I could find lime leaves (albeit frozen ones) was at Bangkok Center Grocery on Mosco St in Chinatown. The intense aroma and flavor of a single fresh leaf equates to 3 or 4 frozen ones!

          1. re: doggiedoc

            Yeah, I got mine online about 9 years ago. It had a good run. :)

            I recall looking online after that and not tracking one down, but I should take another google. Dont go crazy looking for the source as I should have done some legwork before asking.

            1. re: tommy

              http://www.amazon.com/Kaffir-Lime-Tre...
              http://www.fourwindsgrowers.com/our-c...
              http://bayflora.com/citrustrees.html

              8 foot tree available here: http://rgvnursery.com/store.php?crn=2...

              1. re: huiray

                One does not need anything remotely that large here in NJ - adaptability to an indoor envrionment during winter months with a larger specimin is a real problem. I've purchased plants in 6" pots that serve their purpose and have done reasonably well in having that plant survive the winter.

                Should you have a greenhouse, that's a different story. Thanks

          2. re: tommy

            There was a guy at the Princeton Junction Farmer's Market that sold Potted Kaffir Lime Trees (among other culinary plants). Not sure if he's still there though.

        2. Not New Jersey but if you ever find yourself in NYC you will want to go to one or more of these places:

          http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2010/0...

          1 Reply
          1. re: ambrose

            Thanks to all. Ambrose - I had that website bookmarked already. I work in NYC so can check out some of those places but often we just want to pick up something close to home on the spur of the moment.

          2. Asian Market next to Lowes in Edison just off Stelton/Centennial? While you're in the area, you can travel down to the aforementioned Four Seasons for canned good supplies, noodles etc. Do sit down for lunch there too - it's one of the best Thai restaurants around.

            But your best bet is to grow your own (I have lemongrass, Kamfir lime tree, and grow Thai basil annually). Tommy,my condolences as that is grounds for divorce - or you should make her go out and purchase those lime leaves when you want to makeThai food at home as life long penance or until she buys you a new plant.

            1. Try one of Jonathan Chan's stores -- there are half a dozen of them. See http://www.asianfoodmarkets.com

              1. I tried quite a few places (NJ & NY) for Thai eggplant ( the little round green ones that look like tiny green tomatoes) but could never find them. I am not sure if I was looking out of season or if they are just not available. Has anyone seen them?

                1 Reply
                1. re: DinnerChick11

                  I've seen them in some Indian shops in Parsippany, but since I wasn't really looking for them I don't recall where/when.

                2. Rio Grande Nursery has a pretty awesome online store. They sell Kaffir Lime trees here http://rgvnursery.com/store.php/produ...

                  They ship all across the country! Go check them out.

                  1. 555 on Route 1/9 in Jersey City has the kaffir lime leaves and galangal (frozen, i think). The vietnamese bodega on Newark Ave. in Jersey City has those baby eggplants.

                    1. Many of the Indian grocers near you have the eggplants. I once planted two lemongrass plants in my garden (too late for this year unfortunately) and each plant yielded over thirty pounds of lemongrass. I gave half of it away and am still working off the rest, which I froze. It may not be the most inexpensive route, but www.importfoods.com has everything you need, including hundreds of authentic recipes. I love this site.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pitterpatter

                        Yeah, the Indian cash and carry places most likely have as well. But it's impossible to find parking there so I rarely go.