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Rare Mexican Herbs?

Yamabushi Dec 9, 2011 01:51 PM

Does anyone know where to get Hoja Santa in the Bay Area? Have found dried but can't manage to find the fresh.

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  1. Robert Lauriston RE: Yamabushi Dec 9, 2011 01:58 PM


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      Yamabushi RE: Yamabushi Dec 9, 2011 02:39 PM

      Thanks Robert,

      I have already read this and it seems to be mostly speculation whether this herb is legal to sell in the US. I know it is legal because there is a cheese company that uses it in their products. Still no one is mentioning where to get it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Yamabushi
        wolfe RE: Yamabushi Dec 9, 2011 03:35 PM

        Since this Mariquita Farms recipe uses Hoja Santa perhaps they can tell you where to get it.

      2. RWCFoodie RE: Yamabushi Dec 12, 2011 05:18 PM

        This is where I really miss "Eat Nopal" and "Kare Raisu" - they knew where to get really good Mexican food and food products - I learned about the Roseland district of Santa Rosa from them. There's a market there, I think Lola's - that carries all kinds of unusual Mexican veggies and herbs, both fresh and dried that I don't believe you'll find anywhere else. I believe I saw Hoja Santa leaves there - dried in cellophane bags (but this was a couple of years ago....)

        I've been in both stores but I think the one on Dutton might have a better selection of fresh veggies. The other store is newer and bigger.


        4 Replies
        1. re: RWCFoodie
          Robert Lauriston RE: RWCFoodie Dec 12, 2011 05:26 PM

          Dried hoja santa is relatively easy to find. Eat Nopal never found a reliable source for fresh around here:


          Lola's is good but I don't think it has anything you won't find at any other well-stocked Mexican supermarket.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            RWCFoodie RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 26, 2011 03:18 PM

            The key words are "well-stocked Mexican supernarket" - Redwood City has many well-stocked Mexican supermarkets but I honestly don't recall seeing fresh hoja santa leaves which I believe is what the OP was looking for...

            Actually, I don't even recall seeing dried and I even checked a few of the larger stores after this original post.

            1. re: RWCFoodie
              Robert Lauriston RE: RWCFoodie Dec 27, 2011 12:35 PM

              I've never seen fresh around here. By "relatively easy" I mean I've seen dried a few times. Yamaguchi reported finding it in the opening post.

            2. re: Robert Lauriston
              Melanie Wong RE: Robert Lauriston May 15, 2012 10:11 AM

              I'll differ with you there. Yes, 90% of supermercado inventory may be the same, but it's the 10% that differentiates them from each other and gives each a competitive niche.

              Here's a note from Eat Nopal:
              "I was notified that there is a thread on Chowhound Bay Area seeking fresh Hoja
              Santa leaves. If anybody wants them they are currently not in season but will
              be back in the early spring through late fall... when they are in season they
              can be purchased at both Lola's locations as well as Rancho Mendoza.

              Even better the people who grow them locally are Ortiz Bros. Farm.. that is the
              Oaxacan lady with the pretty flowers & vegetables at the Santa Rosa Saturday
              market (and other markets as well)... they grow a lot of the rare produce sold
              at Lola's as well to the Oaxacan-ish restaurant in Healdsburg... they don't sell
              the leaves at the farmer's market but I got my potted plant from them..

              Hoja Santa is pretty hardy & will take over your yard if happy.. keep it in a

              Ortiz Brothers sells at the Healdsburg and Santa Rosa farmers markets or you can go directly to the farm on fridays.

              Edited: Wanted to mention that there's a Lola's in Healdsburg now. It's a much smaller store than the two in Santa Rosa, located in the former Anstead's space on the south end of town.

          2. Robert Lauriston RE: Yamabushi Dec 27, 2011 12:42 PM

            Cielito Lindo steams chicken in hoja santa leaves. You might call them and ask where they get them.


            Cielito Lindo
            1142 Main St, Napa, CA 94559

            1. Robert Lauriston RE: Yamabushi May 15, 2012 10:03 AM

              I had some at Comal last night.


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                tardigrade RE: Yamabushi May 15, 2012 10:37 PM

                Grow your own? I once saw plants for sale at Sloat Nursery in San Francisco, and a quick web search turns up some nurseries that will ship. It's supposed to do well in containers.

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                  tandooritaco RE: Yamabushi Nov 3, 2013 08:26 PM

                  I'd like to revive this conversation if possible. I'm aware of the questionable legality, but I've seen betel leaf (paan) for sale in the states, and that has the same offending chemical and is, to my knowledge, more carcinogenic than hoja santa. In addition, several people report eating hoja santa at area restaurants.

                  Unfortunately, the aromatic component itself is the carcinogen. I'm okay with this, as I plan to put one leaf in a big pot of stew. I've chewed paan before in Pakistan, and while I wouldn't make a habit of it, I'm fine with the risk.

                  In addition, I'm curious if anyone has ever tried substituting betel leaf for hoja santa. I've tasted both, but in such radically different preparations that I can't figure out if it is a good substitution.

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