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Aug 5, 2011 05:15 PM

ISO hard to find Thai ingredients

I am trying to make some of the recipes that I learned in the intermediate Thai cooking class I took in spring, but there are still a few ingredients that I am trying to track down.

The hardest to find is Thai galanga:

"Imported frozen Thai galanga is readily available in Southeast Asian markets. Although some of its fresh punch is compromised by freezing, it still carries important gradations of flavors lacking in foreign-grown roots, making it my preferred choice for curry pastes with robust characters. Frozen Thai galanga is usually small and has a light reddish brown skin and usually costs much less than the fresh cream-colored roots. (from"

I was told by Kasma (the instructor) that it could be gotten at Heng Fath in Richmond, but I am wondering if anyone has seen it anywhere else (since Richmond is farther that I care to go).

I also am looking for the elusive Holy Basil and for Cilantro roots (although for this I'm temped to just by a cilantro plant and use the roots). If anyone has seen these anywhere recently please let me know. I am planning on going on a food/ingredient quest to the East Bay tomorrow.


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  1. Sounds like maybe lesser galangal. I've never seen it fresh.

    I saw cilantro with roots on at the Berkeley farmers market last Saturday. I've never seen roots by themselves.

    Holy basil, one of the Vietnamese grocery stores on the south side of 9th St. just east of Broadway in Oakland has a lot of unusual herbs in the cooler. You might have to ask.

    You might also try the Khmer and Lao markets.

    Lao Market
    1619 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

    Sontepheap Market
    1400 14th Ave, Oakland, CA

    1. I also have never seen seen Leser Galanga fresh in the Bay area

      1. FWIW, I have also searched for cilantro with roots and have had little luck. When I asked the people working in the loading dock-type area at the back of Berkeley Bowl they said the cilantro comes from the supplier with the roots already cut off.

        Berkeley Bowl
        2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

        1. sorry I did not finish that thought.
          I think that I have seen it in Brine at some of the south east Asian markets in Oakland.
          As far as cilantro roots ( attached to the herb)and Holy Basil the Richmond Lao Markets are the most reliable place to find them.

          Lao Market
          1619 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

          1. Thanks everyone...
            Just to clarify, I am looking for frozen galanga imported from Thailand (it is orange in color). This is not the same as lesser galanga ( ), which I happened to find frozen at New May Wah on Clement earlier this week. I may just wind up using the regular stuff and hope that it doesn't make too much of a difference in my panang curry.

            Cilantro Roots with the plant attached would be fine...
            However, your replies confirm that going to a plant store buying a cilantro plant may be the easiest way to get them (if I can't make it to the Berkeley FM).

            2 Replies
            1. re: lrealml

              When Lee at Tierra vegetables sells cilantro, it always has roots on it. Ferry Plaza or their stand off 101.

              1. re: lrealml

                Any certified farmers market stand that sells cilantro should be able to sell it to you with the roots on by advance order.