Vegetable/herb seeds in BKK

Jun 27th, 2013, 11:43 AM
  #1  
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Vegetable/herb seeds in BKK

So, I love to do 'modern urban' gardening. And I love to cook.. And I love to eat thai food. One problem I have making thai food at home in NYC is the dearth of proper vegetables and herbs (other than cilantro (without the roots!), and some poor excuse for lemongrass. I can get decent fresh ginger and fresh tumeric, but forget lesser ginger or fresh galangal -although I can get frozen galangal. I can get fresh bird eye chilis, but none of any other kind of chili...

In any case, I'd like to start growing some of the harder to find herbs and veggies at home.

Does anyone know where I can find seeds/cuttings in BKK?

Thanks!
khtodd is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 12:25 PM
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both are probably illegal to bring into the usa..

I suspect you can find much of what you want in the Asian markets around nyc..
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 12:26 PM
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ask at a thai restaurant where to source things
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 01:03 PM
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Thanks for your thoughts Bob... I mostly agree with your first sentiment - although I know for sure that seeds are completely legal - just as long as they are dried. Bringing in cuttings is a different story, and I'm still debating what I want to do in case I find something.

With regards to your next thought - you'd be surprised how little fresh thai ingredients there are in NYC. I'm friendly with the owner of one of the more popular Thai food shops in chinatown (he's from chiang mai) and we commonly discuss how it's very hard to get certain herbs and stuff here - it's just not grown anywhere in the US, and it's eitehr not imported because it's too fragile or illegal to import in large quantities. He's actually given me a shopping list, and also said that if I could grow enough of it, he'd even be a steady buyer of it!

Most thai restaurants here do terrible thai food, and many use tons of non-thai ingredients (think western broccoli in everything) as a substitute since they can't get anything else. There are a couple of places that do have proper vegetation, but after a discussion, it seems that they are either trying to keep their sources private, or are growing it themselves.
khtodd is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 01:20 PM
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I did just a cursory scan through the APHIS site and it sure looks like you cannot bring in seeds unless you have a permit to do so or are exempt as per http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_exp...ots_seed.shtml See http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_heal...aterials.shtml

Just grabbing packets of seeds from a store will probably not past customs muster upon your return.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 01:36 PM
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You probably can't bring in cuttings, but you should be able to bring in seeds. No doubt the weekend market would have such things.

I'm surprised that you can't find these things in NYC. We can find them here in Seattle, but then there are lots of SE Asian gardeners that bring produce to the farmer's markets.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 01:39 PM
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I wrote my above reply before you and NoFly posted. Maybe you just need to come to Seattle or to California to get your ingredients!
Kathie is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 02:15 PM
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NoFlyZone - you are right - I need a permit to bring in small quantities of seeds. I have naively brought them in in the past (albeit not from Thailand) but I guess I just got lucky and had no problems.

Kathie - you may be right - and it's a lot closer!! Seriously - I have found a decent amount of seeds online - but it's mostly generic stuff: coriander, holy basil, various thai basil, a few types of kailaan, etc.... but what I'm looking for now is more esoteric - I don't even know the english equivalents (or if they exist). It's not a big deal if I can't find it, but if someone knew of a place that sold lots of different seeds I'd be grateful.

That being said, the weekend market is a great idea - the only problem is that we're arriving in BKK on Sunday afternoon - I doubt it will be worth the trip up there by the time we check into the hotel, and make our way up there and then try to find them! By that time it might be closed!
khtodd is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 04:28 PM
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just be sure that the seeds are not old seeds..

I wonder if there is such a thing as an 'agi' store in bkk?
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 05:31 PM
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Right - I figure if it's where locals shop, the seeds shouldn't be too old. I don't know about an ag 'store' but I was envisioning an ag stall at a market somewhere.
khtodd is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 06:02 PM
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I'm not too familiar with where to buy seeds but I'll look around the next time I go to a market. Are you sure they will grow in the US, especially around NY? I've bought vegetable and flower seeds from the US in the past and we have tried to grow some in our garden in Thailand. Most would just withered after some growth.
Hanuman is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 06:20 PM
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I have bought and brought seeds from most places I have been. Never occurred to me that it might not be ok. Never had a problem. I asked my guide to buy seeds for me in India when I did not find them myself. Bought me packages that looked like Burpee and had current date. Have not tried them yet.
Radish from Japan were excellent.
Elainee is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 07:43 PM
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I got a whole bunch of seeds from Chatachuk market. I figured their climate is similar to mine in Hawaii. Have planted the tomatoes and a squash and am about to enjoy the fruits of my labor.There are a whole bunch of flower stalls and I bought seeds from several of them. They come in sealed foil packages.
lcuy is offline  
Jun 28th, 2013, 04:21 AM
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Most tropical plants will only grow in NY for a few months in the summer... but I'm doing things a little differently - I have a few different forms of hydroponics in a greenhouse setting - supplemented with lights during the times when there is not enough natural light. With the hydroponics, I can recreate many different soil types without actually having do deal with soil. I have found that most plants do very well in this environment.

I wish I would be able to check out Jatujak - but I don't think I'll be able to get there in time...
khtodd is offline  
Jun 28th, 2013, 04:59 AM
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Permits and Hydroponics. Sounds like an adventure movie. Also sound like you have your, uh, seeds together. Let us know how things grow!
NoFlyZone is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 06:07 AM
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I've seen seeds on sale in many Bangkok supermarkets, like Villa.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 07:53 AM
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Thanks!
khtodd is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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"Kathie on Jun 27, 13 at 2:39pm
I wrote my above reply before you and NoFly posted. Maybe you just need to come to Seattle or to California to get your ingredients!"

True. Smiles. I just finished whipping up another batch of chu chee salmon curry sauce. Last Saturday, I cooked 4 pounds of salmon and made chu chee salmon for the little pre-summer GTG that I threw for the tenants of my building. I also made coconut rice and it was all really delicious. I had to pat myself on the back. Smiles. The tenants were really blown away by it and now want to have GTGs more often.

However, if those in other states are in a pinch for Thai ingredients, they can be ordered from one of the Thai companies here in California.

http://www.templeofthai.com/

They deliver really fast. In fact, week before last since a friend was coming from out of state, to stay with me for a week and wasn't scheduled to leave until 2 hours prior to me throwing the tenant GTG, I didn't have time to zip down to LAX-C , 99 Ranch market, or the other Asian markets to get my ingredients, so I cheated and clicked my grocery list on Temple of Thai and my items, including fresh kaffir lime leaves, were delivered to me within 3 days.

My friend and I came back to my place, one day after a day of taking him sightseeing, and there was a box at my doorstep filled with my Thai groceries. I immediately put the kaffir lime leaves into a plastic bag and into the freezer. I have a friend who actually has a kaffir lime tree in her backyard. I might look into how I can grow one as up at our family house we have lots of land and fruit trees anyway and the tree only cost $39.99 to buy.

There's a section on the online order form, for Temple of Thai, where one can send them a message. I sent the message that I needed the ingredients within a few days and they got right to it and my box arrived fast.

Later, I remembered that I needed some Thai basil, so I zipped to the restaurant of one of my Thai friends and asked if she could toss some fresh Thai basil into a plastic bag. I then drove home. It's good to have lots of Thai friends who own restaurants. LOL!

If you're ever in L.A. and looking for Thai ingredients, they're not hard to find. And for making chu chee salmon sauce, I only use Mae Sri chu chee curry paste as does one of my Thai friends who owns a restaurant.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/lax-c-los-angeles

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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my nyc friend has sent this:

Yes, great Thai ingredients are available in NYC. Best spot, and well, known, is Bangkok Center Grocery, on Mosco Street, in Chinatown. They have everything, are very friendly. Great prices. They often sell out of the Nittaya curry sauces I buy (refrigerated, flown in from BKK, you can even see the Nittaya website). They have galangal, kaffir leaves, etc.



http://www.bangkokcentergrocery.com/
rhkkmk is offline  
Jul 1st, 2013, 02:33 PM
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I think it's illegal to carry seeds and plants across the border, seeds are properly easy to hide but you probably should find out the consequence before you do it.

I have Thai and all sorts of basil and cilantro plants growing in my garden. This year they are doing very poorly because of all the rain. You can also get all kinds of chilis plants from the farmers' market in Union square, you will find different vendors on diffferent day of the week. Some vendors carry more Asian plants than others.

I buy lemon grass from Chinatown NYC and let them root in water, they usually do well. Both galangal, kaffir leaves come in frozen and they are available in several stores in Chinatown.

My garden neighbor grows tons of morning glory and he cuts them when they are young and tender, they taste better than the ones in Chinatown.

What kind of seeds/cuttings you want to gorw?
mohan is offline  

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