I just went out and bought a copy of David Thompson's monster Thai Cooking and I'm keen to start playing around with it.
Is it fair to say that most of the larger Chinese/Viet grocers (T&T, any grocer in Chinatown/Chinatown East) would carry essential Thai ingredients or is a trip to a Thai grocer proper in order? Any recommendations for either close to the Danforth/Gerrard corridor would be appreciated.
Yes I think that you should be able to find most things in these stores. I have seen galangal, kafir lime leaves, tamarind and assorted herbs in Viet grocery stores.
Having said that though I have never read David Thompson's cookbook so I am not sure what kinds of things you are looking for.
T&T is your best bet if you can make it down to cherry street. I think there is a TTC bus 72A that passes by it. T&T is clean, the prices are reasonable, has more variety than the other spots in downtown area and accepts credit cards so I don't see a point of shopping elsewhere in the downtown area.
T&T will have most of the basics you need but the selection of Thai and Indonesian stuff doesn't go too deep, often they will have exactly one brand of a particular spice or packaged ingredient and the more esoteric stuff not at all, you'll need to go somewhere that is more specifically targeted, I gather the Viet places are more likely.