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where to find fresh kaffir lime leaves in nyc

Yeah, at least twice the price, I'm sure. Whole Paycheck and Fairway never have any problems with price-gouging Yuppies for ethnic ingredients, mainly because Yuppies in a big city like New York will pay for the convenience of having everything under one roof and not having to find time for yet another subway errand in already-busy day.

I know in my neighborhood (Clinton Hill), I would pay $3.59 for a 4 oz. jar of Thai Kitchen Yuppie Brand Green Curry Paste (Nam Prik Kaeng Khlaw Wann), but at Hong Kong Market, I pay $1.79 for 14 oz. of Mae Poy brand Green Curry Paste, and at Bangkok Market, I saw 2 lb. tubs of the same brand prepared curry pastes for less than $3 each.

You do the math.

And really, if you are heading to the Bowery Whole Paycheck, it's not that much further to head to Chinatown for the real deal in terms of quality, price, and better selection. My suggested route would be to take the F to East Broadway instead of 2nd Ave., walk down East Broadway to hit Hong Kong Supermarket first, then continue down E. Broadway until you dog-leg to the left onto Chatham Sq./Bowery, where you can head north on Mott St. to both Bangkok Grocery on Mosco (your first left off of Mott walking north) and/or continue another 2 blocks north (past Pell St. on your right), where you'll turn left at the 2nd block onto Bayard, which is where Hung Lee will be right on your left, like the third door down, and then continue on down Bayard to Mulberry (the next block); turn right, and Asia Market the the seafood place will be right there on your left heading north, two or three doors up from the corner of Bayard and Mulberry.

After all that, you can head back the way you came for the F, or continue up Mulberry to catch the N/R/6 at Canal St., which will save you the walk all the way back to the F, your hands now full of grocery bags filled with the real deal, bought dirt-cheap. And you get a little exercise while you are at it.

Easy, isn't it?

Jul 28, 2008
funkjester in Manhattan

where to find fresh kaffir lime leaves in nyc

Had a successful foray yesterday into Chinatown for fresh Kaffir lime leaves (Bai My Magroot) as well as a few other Thai ingredients.

I'll do a much more specific, very comprehensive post on essential Thai grocery spots (WITH specific addresses, subway/walking directions, etc.) when I have more time, but this is what I found when I struck gold on Sunday in Chinatown:

Udom's Corp. Thai & Indonesian Grocery
81 Bayard St., #A, 10013 (bet. Mulberry & Mott Sts.)
-this guy did have frozen Kaffir lime leaves, and basically ripped me off by selling
me a baggie for $10, but it was the first place I stopped and wanted to make sure
that I at least came home with some, so I bought the 70+ Asian man's schpiel
about most of the restaurants buying him out, and the aforementioned shortage
on Kaffir lime leaves right now (which is, unfortunately, all too real). The quality of
his leaves is OK, not nearly as pungent as the fresh ones I found at the other two
sources. Probably won't ever go back to this guy again because of the rip-off
experience. Truly, I was in a rush to make my rounds of a few places before they
all started closing on Sunday night, and he had no way of recognizing me as a
professional chef, and probably just considered me an easy, tourist mark, but I'll
be sure next time I pass by there to let him know who I am and the fact that I was
NOT happy he gouged me on the Kaffir leaves the last time I was in. Won't buy
from him again on general principle unless I am desperate for something everyone
else is out of, but he's there if need be.

Hung Lee
79 Bayard St., 10013 (bet. Mulberry & Mott. Sts., right before Mott)
-this is the "small produce stand on Bayard closer to Mott" mentioned in a few
posts, next door to Udom's and on the south side of Bayard St. The proprietor
speaks very good English, and had no problems answering any of my questions
about any of the ingredients I asked about. He almost always has
Thai Eggplant/Apple Eggplant (Makeau Prau) in stock, as well as fresh Thai red
chiles Prik Kee Noo), fresh Thai green chiles, Thai basil (Bai Hurapah) and Holy basil. He did tell
me that he normally stocks fresh Kaffir lime leaves, but the shortage has deprived
him of his normal supply until "sometime later this year." He also did tell me,
helpfully, that he also sells a lot of produce items bulk/wholesale to restaurants, and
that the best time to get fresh red chilies is in the afternoon before they sell out.
HIs prices are also super-cheap on produce. Got a nice sack of eggplant, both
chilies, some basil, and a bunch of Chinese long beans for less than 6 bucks. Did
NOT see any fresh galangal for sale.

Asia Market
71 Mulberry St., 10013 (bet. Canal & Bayard Sts., right before Bayard)
-perhaps the best source for fresh Kaffir lime leaves I found. Small baggies for
$2.50, quality is excellent, much more pungent than the frozen product from
Udom's. Also plentiful source of Thai basil and Holy basil as well as both chilies,
and any other types of Thai seasonings, pastes, sauces, etc. you could want. Also
spotted very good quality Walnut Oil for sale as well at a very good price. Will be
my main source of fresh Kaffir lime leaf for sure. Again, the woman behind the
counter spoke very good English, was horrified to hear of the price Udom's charged
me for frozen leaves. This place most definitely caters to a primarily Asian
clientele. There's also a very good quality fresh seafood place right next door as
well, which saves another trip to someplace else (New Hai Cang Seafood).

Bangok Grocery Center
104 Mosco St., 10013 (bet. Mulberry & Mott Sts.)
-As also previously mentioned, Mosco St. is one of the shortest streets in NYC,
and hard to find if you don't know where it's at or don't know the neighborhood very
well. The easiest way to find it is to walk down Mulberry from Canal St.--Mosco St.
is basically between Columbus Park and Mott St., and you turn left onto Mosco
across the street from the park.

Bangok Grocery Center is the most clean of all three markets, though Asia Market
is very clean as well. It's pretty obvious this place caters more to tourists and non-
Asian seekers of Thai ingredients, as indicated by smaller, pre-packaged quantities
of things like Thai Eggplant and some of the fresh produce on hand. They DO have
fresh Kaffir lime leaf for sale, $2 for a small baggie, as well as plenty of fresh Thai
basil, fresh Holy basil, and fresh Thai red and green chilies. The also DO have fresh
galangal root (Huah Kah), as well as fresh Kaffir limes (Lo Magrut).

The young guy working when I came in also speaks
perfect English, can answer any questions, and even offered a few cooking tips of
his own. Also horrified at the price-gouging on the frozen Kaffir leaves from
Udom's. Bangok Grocery Center also has traditional stone mortars for sale.

All in all, I'd say I'd keep patronizing all of these businesses save Udom's--you can get any Thai staples like prepared Thai curry pastes, bulk Jasmine rice, fish sauce, palm sugar (Nahm Dtahn Maprao), shrimp paste (Kapee), seasonings, etc. the cheapest at Hong Kong Supermarket (109 E. Broadway, @ E. Broadway & Forsyth), but your best bet is to make the stop at Hung Lee for all your fresh vegetables and then head to Asia Market and/or Bangkok Grocery Center for lime leaf, herbs, galangal, etc.

Again, I'll put up a more comprehensive post on Thai ingredient sources as I make a trip to Elmhurst, Sunset Park and Flushing to check out sources there as well.

Jul 28, 2008
funkjester in Manhattan

where to find fresh kaffir lime leaves in nyc

Are you serious about Fairway having fresh Kaffir lime leaves? Or frozen? How about the Fairway in Red Hook, anyone know if they also carry these?

Jul 27, 2008
funkjester in Manhattan

Five Guys Burger in Park Slope

Disgusting, greasy slop. Totaly belly-bombs with zero flavour. All hype, no substance. And this from a 5-star chef.

Don't believe the hype.

Jul 27, 2008
funkjester in Chains

Artie's in City Island--Not Worth It

Wow. That's disappointing to hear. I ate at Artie's many times as a child with my Italian family from the Bronx, and it was always very good back then, but that was also 25-30 years ago.

May 08, 2008
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

Wine Bars in Prospect Heights??

Excellent...thanks for that! Beast sounds like it's the best spot for what we're looking for in PH...Soda and Weather Up just aren't that type of atmosphere, more of a beautfiul-people cocktail spot, which is fine, but thet's not what we're looking for tomorrow night.

We're also getting really reports on Barrette, at Vanderbilt/Dean. An entirely different vibe altogether from all of the above-mentioned places, but it sounds like the most relaxed, chill place on that whole strip.

Going to check out Aliseo as well at some point.

Boy, it's so nice to actually have CHOICES like this in Prospect Heights these days. Sure wish we had a few similar places like that up here in Clinton HIll/Fort Greene.

May 01, 2008
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

Best bakery/sweets in Brooklyn?

Delices des Paris, 321 9th St. in South Park Slope. My good friend Rosa grew up and still lives in the neighborhood, and she turned me on to this place. She's been eating their stuff all her life, and I can see why.

I'm a retired 5-star pastry chef, and I can and will vouch for their product. All done right, the way french pastry is SUPPOSED to be, both technique and flavour-wise, and one bite will tell you so. All butter, no cheap shortcuts with shortening.

Even simple things are elevated to the proper heights. Try a slice of their Quiche Lorraine, and you'll taste what I mean. Quiche is something most Americans take for granted, because it's done cheaply and badly almost everywhere, but at Delices des Paris, you can taste what this classic is SUPPOSED to taste like, and it's just sublime.

I also can honestly say I've NEVER had anything bad from there, be it cake or simple croissants. Just fabulous. Locally owned and operated as well.

Apr 30, 2008
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

Wine Bars in Prospect Heights??

Looking for a place to meet someone and share a nice bottle or a few glasses on Friday night...not really sure what's down there in terms of wine, though I know there's some hip spots like Soda around now on Vanderbilt Ave.

Anybody have any suggestions?

Apr 29, 2008
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

Prospect Heights Restaurants

Vanderbilt and Dean, or a block in either direction, if memory serves correct. Very no-nonsense decor, with a long lunch counter and a few small tables. Easy to miss if you're not looking for it, but worth checking out. Very good cheap eats!

Will be on the EAST side of Vanderbilt.

I see someone else has posted as well that Los Amigos Viejos is at Vanderbilt and Bergen. Sounds about right.

Jan 28, 2008
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

Pupusas in Brooklyn?

El Continental is the spot. If you're in FG/CH, as I am, walk up Fort Greene Place to Target and cross Atlantic Ave., and then walk up another couple of blocks or so and catch the bus down 5th Ave. to El Continental. There's a stop right in front of Cafe Yayo, which has great Spanish food also (but no pupusas).

Jan 28, 2008
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

free train to flushing's chinatown from penn station

How about from Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn? I would guess it would be free going and coming from there as well, no?

Jan 24, 2008
funkjester in Not About Food

Where to get pork belly?

yeah, that's a good bet!

Chinatown, I mean. Shouldn't have much problem finding it there.

Jan 22, 2008
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

Any Salvadoran Groceries?

Wow. No one has a source in the City for Salvadoran food products?

Jan 21, 2008
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

Any Salvadoran Groceries?

I've been teaching myself to make pupusas all week (nice winter hibernation project). Very, very happy with my results (my first exposure was to El Continental and then the women in Red Hook, so I have two great benchmarks, and two close Salvadoran friends to serve as taste-testers). But I'd like to take that next, completist step and go for it with all traditional ingredients if I can.

Specifically, I'm looking to find fresh loroco (which may be a trick but not an impossible task in New York City, since there are Salvadoran restaurants that serve pupusas with traditional queso y loroco filling, so it's being imported here). Also looking to find traditional Salvadoran quesillo, or queso con loroco and pineapple vinegar. I'm told there's also a Salvadoran cheese called duro blanco as well.

Anyplace that is within the five boroughs or Long Island and can be reached by a reasonable journey would be appreciated.

Jan 19, 2008
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

are there still butcher shops where they have real butchers with sawdust on the floor and freshly killed chickens hanging??

any places in particular you're talking about? Addresses? Thanks!

Nov 07, 2007
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

Chez Lola on Myrtle...what/how is it?

"...but in our neighboorhood, we'll take anything."

I'd pretty much agree with that statement. I've been living in CH/FG for 4 years now, and it's sad to say that the neighborhood is filled with lots of charming little spots (ici, June, Chez Oskar, Maggie Brown and the whole of the DeKalb "Restaurant Row", Bonita, and a slew of others) that are notable more for their cachet as hip-looking places to hang out and make some kind of scene rather than dish up an excellent meal. I'm a retired 5-star chef, and it makes me sad to see so much prime restaurant space being wasted on "achieving mediocrity," as ladybee notes, or in many cases in CH/FG, much worse.

It says something when the best food in a supposed-destination neighborhood for dining are probably Castro's, a women-owned-and-run bare-bones Mexican place, and Grand Dakar, a Senegalese higher-end that I've eaten at several times that far outclasses anything else in CH/FG, but is way off the beaten path just off of DeKalb on Grand Ave, a location most scenester-types won't walk to at night to patronize, and thus far off most people's radar, if known at all, and a 24-hour deli that makes some of the best heros in the City (Farmer in the Deli). 'Nuff said.

Chez Lola is just another regurgitation of the same CH/FG formula that's made some folks money here: catchy graphics, bright paint schemes, young and trendy types spending the weekends here instead of going to Manhattan, and eating burgers, moule frittes and badly-done small plate preparations. I'm grossly exaggerating the situation, but ladybee is pretty dead-on about a neighborhood where it's also impossible to find decent, even passable Chinese food or a well-done, authentic New York pizza pie. The median level of the food here really is truly awful.

Please, someone with some culinary talent, ability and ambition and a desire to hire skilled, trained kitchen help come to CH/FG stat! Find a place, and I can assure you, you'll make a fortune. A place like Tailor or Etas-Unis would be a godsend...hell, we'd even take a better Schiller's.

Nov 07, 2007
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

are there still butcher shops where they have real butchers with sawdust on the floor and freshly killed chickens hanging??

excellent! Thank you!

Nov 05, 2007
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

are there still butcher shops where they have real butchers with sawdust on the floor and freshly killed chickens hanging??

Boy, anybody have any idea where that's at? I would love a source for fresh rabbit, no doubt. Not surprised there's one up there, as a lot of old-time Italians really loved rabbit. I picked up a taste for it during my many years in Louisiana, and I'd love to eat it again regularly. Worth the trip up there if I can find the location.

Nov 05, 2007
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

Po Boy fixings

"Ahhh Streetcar - gawd those were some of the best poboys around..."

Yeah, bruh! Streetcar's Soft-Shell Crab Po-Boy's were Da Bomb--BOOM!!! The shrimp was mighty fine as well. There was always a cute girl with long, curly blonde hair working the counter there who always made sure to butter and toast the French Bread Old-School-like...yeah, you rite!

When I first moved to New Orleans and didn't know too many folks outside of work, I used to get off everday around 3, head home, shower, then drive over to Streetcar with the day's Times-Picayune, get my soft-shell or shrimp, then head out to the Lakefront with "Jazz from the Park" on 'OZ on the radio, and sit out and eat and read the paper and watch the sunset and then head home. Needless to say, Streetcar has a special place in my heart.

Nov 04, 2007
funkjester in New Orleans

Jfood in NOLA - Brigtsen's Review

yeah, man, Chef Frank and his krewe rock the duck, no doubt. One of the best places I've ever eaten it at.

Nov 04, 2007
funkjester in New Orleans

Brooklyn butcher for Inside Round of Beef...

Looking for someplace close to Clinton Hill/Fort Greene and/or accessible via subway or reasonable bus route(s)/transfers.

All I can seem to find in my neighborhood is Bottom Round and Bottom Center Round Roasts, and thats not the cut I'm looking for.

Looking for Inside Round (aka Top Round) Roast, about 4-6 lbs. preferably.

Nov 04, 2007
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

Red Hook ball fields report

Yes, they will. Might be the last day they are open for the season, though I thought originally they were given permission to remain open until October 29, but I may be mistaken.

At any rate, with a 74 degree-and-sunny day in the forecast, tomorrow would be a great day to go.

Let's just hope it won't be the last day ever for the vendors...

Oct 20, 2007
funkjester in Outer Boroughs

Quick Veselka review

Aren't the burgers supposed to be killer at this place? Just wondering...

what are the favourites on the pierogy fillings?

Oct 05, 2007
funkjester in Manhattan

Chinatown butcher for fresh quail, duck???

thanks, will take a trip down there and walk around and check out all these places.

Oct 05, 2007
funkjester in Manhattan

Chinatown butcher for fresh quail, duck???

thanks for the info!...I'm not really looking for live birds, just fresh-cut, not frozen. Not really expecting to find rabbit also, but thought I'd put a word out. I'd expect duck and quail in C'town, maybe squab. If they can spatchcock, even better.

Oct 04, 2007
funkjester in Manhattan

Chinatown butcher for fresh quail, duck???

Is there any place in the city for fresh birds? Rabbit?

Access by MTA A++.

Oct 04, 2007
funkjester in Manhattan

Chinatown butcher for fresh quail, duck???

Looking for fresh-cut birds, not frozen. Would be awesome if they sourced rabbit as wel!

Oct 04, 2007
funkjester in Manhattan

Luke

"...and directions are given in lake/river upriver/downriver format instead of NS/EW."

Whoa, hold up, directions ARE given NS/EW, baby...lol.

As long as you understand that Canal St. is the dividing line between Uptown (bounded by the river) and downtown (bounded by Lake Ponchartrain) and streets labeled south are Uptown, and north are downtown (confusing for a minute, I know, but bear with New Orleanians), it's a simple matter to get directions to a place on the downtown lake corner of Napolean & Tchoupitoulas...lol.

just don't confuse folks by expecting them to know to put their dirty dishes in the zinc, bruh...

Sep 27, 2007
funkjester in New Orleans

Returning to New Orleans

I would NOT miss August in favour of Delmonico, GW Fins, Emeril's or Lola's. August is by far the best house in New Orleans right now, and while Delmonico is a nice place, not even in the same league as August. You'll be sorry if you miss August, trust me.

I had three (count 'em, THREE) meals in less than a week last October at August (thanks, in part, to a very good run at the blackjack tables at Harrah's), and each was more stellar than the next. Not to be missed.

Was a great week of eating, to be sure. Had the full treatment at Brigsten's and Alberta as well, the latter on personal recommendation from Frank Brigsten himself, plus plenty of lunches at Johnny Po-Boy in the Quarter. We ate well...lol.

You might want to consider Mandina's for lunch as well. They are open noon to 9 on Sundays.

Sep 15, 2007
funkjester in New Orleans

Best food in New Orleans?

There is (was?) a tiny, fantastic take-out only fried chicken place on the Uptown river side of Washington Ave. & S. Claiborne that my friend Andaiye always jokingly calls "Gunshot Chicken." Just a hole in the wall, in a very, very sketchy neighborhood, but the chicken is amazing, and you get two pieces and a roll for like $2.39. As good as the old Eddie's on Law St., if not better, and better than Austin Leslie's. Not sure if they are still there post-K, but if you dare, slip on your Kevlar and make a quick run.

I also always really like the fried chicken at Two Sisters on N. Derbigny & Bienville, not to mention the neckbones & rice. Yeah, you right!

Sep 14, 2007
funkjester in New Orleans