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Oct 28, 2013 12:05 PM

Banana Leaf & Bamboo

I was wondering where to get Banana Leaf & Bamboo in the GTA area. I'm planning attempting to make a classic malay dish called 'Lemang' and those are two quite vital ingredients.


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  1. Large Asian groceries sell frozen banana leaves. Garden centers might have sections of large diameter bamboo.

    4 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      Do you think that those would be food grade?

      1. re: Avantrest

        As long as it's not painted or stained it will be as 'food grade' as poles used in SE Asia. Most bamboo of this diameter is used for construction, especially scaffolding.

        At each of the nodes, or raised ridges on the outside, there's an internal divider. If you cut between two nodes, you will open a hollow cell that has never been exposed to air before.

        But other than that the idea of 'food grade bamboo' makes me chuckle.

        1. re: paulj

          Do you know of any garden centres in the GTA area that are open now that sell appropriately sized bamboo?

          1. re: paulj

            "Food Grade" in this context is not a question about the quality or the species of the bamboo. Its whether or not its been heavily treated with pesticides, or stored alongside hazardous building material products, etc etc. Who knows how it might have been treated if the assumption was that it was not going to be used in a recipe.

            Regarding Banana leaves, you can get them at pretty much any latin market as well (such as Perolas in kensington)

      2. T&T Supermarket has the Banana Leafs (Frozen Version) are you referring to bamboo shoots? Those can be found canned or frozen (if I recall correctly there as well)

        1 Reply
        1. re: elvisahmed

          any asian supermarket, small ones included, will have banana leaves in the freezer.

        2. most asian stores have fresh bamboo shoots or pickled bamboo stems... banana leaves are usually in the open top freezer sections

          1 Reply
          1. re: Pigurd

            According to online sources, lemang is a glutinous rice and coconut mixture that is steamed in bamboo tubes lined with banana leaves. Bamboo is a cooking vessel, not an ingredient.

            In the more rustic Dayak version, these tubes are lined up around a fire, and rotated periodically to ensure even cooking. See pictures in the Wiki article. That makes a lot more sense in a rural setting where bamboo grows in the 'back yard', and most of the cooking is over an open fire.

            describes lemang as made in a urban setting. The rice is wrapped in banana leaf bundles, and steamed in a conventional bamboo steamer. This version would be a lot more practical in Ontario in the fall.

          2. For the bamboo, I have seen shorter pieces for sale (maybe 12-18 inches?) at Top Foods, which is an Asian grocery store, but I'm not sure the supply is consistent. It seems sometimes they are there and sometimes not.

            Not terribly helpful, I know, but food bamboo pieces in TO do exist. It may just take you a few tries at stores to find them.