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TallGuyJohninBKK

Indian Groceries in BKK 2019

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There are some prior/past thread on this topic, but a lot of them are several years old and locked/archived. So thus I'm starting a new/open thread on this same topic of interest to various folks.

 

Spices R Us - Sukhumvit Soi 20

 

Today, armed with the info gleaned from prior threads, I paid my first visit to the Spices R Us shop in Sukhumvit Soi 20 within the complex of the Rembrandt Hotel. The shop is located on the ground floor alongside the main driveway/parking garage entrance to the hotel, with outside colors and signage that make it look a lot like a 7/11 shop, which it probably was at some prior point in time.

 

The manager of the Spices R Us shop told me they're open every day from like 7 in the mornings until 11 at night, which is pretty amazing for a shop like that. And the good news is, they appear to have in stock pretty much anything and everything most Indian grocery shoppers would be looking for, including selections of the pre-cooked, shelf stable MTR and Haldiram's brands, which were discussed extensively in the prior threads for the non-home cookers.

 

As for the shop, I walked in today and there were two Thai young women sitting behind the counter, neither of whom spoke any English, and as it turned out, neither of whom apparently knew much about Indian food, despite their jobs. After understanding they didn't speak any English, I asked them for black color dal in Thai, and the one girl clearly understood the dal part, but obviously not the black part, as she pointed me to yellow dal. So at that point, fortunately, a very good English speaking Indian guy who I presume is the owner or manager emerged from the back room, and helped me find everything else I was looking for without any drama.

 

Here's what I bought there today and the corresponding prices:

--500g bags of masoor/red dal -- 48 baht.

--500g bags of urad black dal -- 50b

--100g of garam masala -- 85b

--100g of turmeric powder -- 38b

--a tube of prepared ginger paste -- 70b

--and a 200g jar of Thai-made ghee -- 115b

 

BTW, they accept payment by credit or debit cards for orders 500 baht and above.

 

The other good news is, anyone interested in the MTR or Haldiram's prepared meals who lives in central BKK doesn't have to venture into the wilds of Little India / Chakkraphet Rd. in order to find them. They're both pretty well represented on the shelves of Spices R Us, with both brands having about a half dozen different varieties available there. I was going to grab some to take home myself until I looked at the nutrition labels on the back of the various dishes from both brands, and saw salt and saturated fat levels per 100g serving that often reached half or more of the RDA depending on the particular dish.... A bit too much for my tastes.

 

The shop also had a couple of freezer units, where I saw a few different versions of prepared dals or curries made by some local supplier (not Rang Mahal) and some frozen Indian breads packages. No nutrition labels on those products.

 

But that aside, the shop appeared to have a very good and broad selections of things like basmati rices, various dals, nuts, Indian seasonings and spices, a lot of different choices and sizes for ghee, and other stuff.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Spice+R+Us/@13.7319923,100.561428,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x30e29f02b686ac51:0xac5e0e75a45d8e51!8m2!3d13.7319923!4d100.563622

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Tesco Rama IV:

 

My home in BKK is served by the Tesco Rama IV store, and thus I can see their supposed stock via Tesco online in terms of Indian food related products. When I looked the other day, I saw the following:

 

--jars of Tikka Masala and Korma sauces from Tesco's Finest own brand for 85b.

--500g bags of Raitip green mung beans for 35b

--500g bags of Raitip yellow peeled mung beans for 41b

--500g bags of Khaothong hulled/split yellow mung beans for 41b

--500g bags of Khaothong green mung beans for 35b

--50g Indian Choice turmeric powder jars for 31b

--50g Indian Choice coriander powder jars for 26b.

 

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Posted (edited)

Another source for Indian products in BKK are the Villa supermarkets, and in particular, the main location at Sukhumvit Soi 33.

 

By shopping at the main Villa branch, or using their online ordering home delivery services that covers locations in about a 10 Km radius, you'll probably pay higher prices than if you made a special trip to an Indian groceries only shop. But you'll save on time and convenience if you're already shopping at Villa for other things and/or want to pay their 90b home delivery fee, at least in terms of some of the basics and essentials that Villa stocks (though not nearly the range of products as a place like Spices R US).

 

Here's some of what Villa offers, including a brand called Baboo that seems to be attached to a lot of their Indian shelf products. None of the MTR or Haldiram's products to be found at Villa, though they do have a few ready-to-eat offerings from a different supplier in the freezer section:

 

1643183506_2019-03-0421_57_17.jpg.665d783f9092e6e81e3688754b9de0f9.jpg  1297428502_2019-03-0421_57_55.jpg.0ef8ff9cfb376327892f41c3b70cfd94.jpg  698631436_2019-03-0421_58_15.jpg.b505f3ebce17bbcf607f6153f2628340.jpg1649029968_2019-03-0421_58_59.jpg.7c4dc4112cd914a5516c0d85e5c271ef.jpg

 

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   1977398767_2019-03-0422_01_53.jpg.06da8a95df9a8c1723a916a0877248ed.jpg

 

139834799_2019-03-0422_02_14.jpg.4693ca6400fece41b16a424186f5a21f.jpg    1673737663_2019-03-0422_01_11.jpg.cc45691c809d65999c7f654ed623aca8.jpg1807930371_2019-03-0422_03_07.jpg.524908d6941aa0f865bf37394d273283.jpg

 

They also have a lot of the various needed spice ingredients in their spices section like cardamon, corriander, and others.... as well as some basmati rice choices, and some Indian breads (parathas and naans) in the freezer section.

 

1799800093_2019-03-0422_16_32.jpg.9116d982ef2d615cbf44998b10056e38.jpg

 

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Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK

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Posted (edited)

Makro do a good range of spices at very sensible prices, authentic recipes are on YouTube telling you how to make the curries they serve in UK curryhouses. Much better than those Pataks jars, but will take a few tries until you get the taste that you like. The only thing that I really struggled to find were cardamoms, but I get them from Malaysia or the UK. If you want to go the whole hog, you can build a basic tandoor in the garden (if you have one) for not much money, makes a huge difference cooking with chicken tikka from a tandoor in your curries.

 

Another thing that makes a huge difference is using a "base" curry sauce as the curryhouses do, all on YouTube.

 

I generally only do small batches, though, I can't get the locals to try Indian food.

Edited by pr9spk

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, pr9spk said:

The only thing that I really struggled to find were cardamoms, but I get them from Malaysia or the UK.

 

I bought a 20g bag of whole cardamom seeds today from Villa Suk Soi 33 for about 25 baht.

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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5 minutes ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

 

I bought a 20g bag of whole cardamom seeds today from Villa Suk Soi 33 for about 25 baht.

 

Can you get proper ghee there? I hate buying it from Makro because it's very expensive.

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, pr9spk said:

Makro do a good range of spices at very sensible prices, authentic recipes are on YouTube telling you how to make the curries they serve in UK curryhouses. Much better than those Pataks jars, but will take a few tries until you get the taste that you like. The only thing that I really struggled to find were cardamoms, but I get them from Malaysia or the UK. If you want to go the whole hog, you can build a basic tandoor in the garden (if you have one) for not much money, makes a huge difference cooking with chicken tikka from a tandoor in your curries.

 

Another thing that makes a huge difference is using a "base" curry sauce as the curryhouses do, all on YouTube.

 

I agree, Makro in BKK tends to have a pretty good and inexpensive selection of Indian food products as well, including a lot of bulk basmati rice choices and other stuff... My local branch is the one near Chong Nonsi, but I haven't been there in recent weeks to take an actual inventory similar to what I listed above for Spices R Us, Tesco and Villa Soi 33...

 

In the past, though, the Chong Nonsi branch at least used to have the large kilo or more sized frozen packages of various Indian curries and sauces, like a dal, a jalfrezi and a few others, including some breads, under the Rang Mahal brand. In some of the earlier threads, however, some posters seemed to be saying that the Rang Mahal brand seems to have disappeared from stores lately.

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK

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1 hour ago, pr9spk said:

Can you get proper ghee there? I hate buying it from Makro because it's very expensive.

 

I don't see any ghee listed in Villa's online ordering catelog, and I didn't go specifically looking for it in the store today.

 

But as I mentioned above, the Spices R Us store in the Rembrandt Hotel has bunches of different brands and sizes of ghee available. I bought a Thai version of 200g for 115b at Spices R US. But they also had a lot of larger sizes and Indian imports available as well, with a lot of prices in the 500b+ range.

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I've seen those frozen Mahal sauces at Ubon Makro. I was always skeptical because it was frozen - has anyone tried them? they aren't cheap, but if they could be used a starting point for something like a Jalfrezi or Vindaloo, I could be tempted. It takes a good couple of hours to make an British-style curry from scratch if making a base sauce first.

 

I need to stop in BKK to buy some books, will have to try Spices R Us. Thanks for the info!

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5 minutes ago, pr9spk said:

I've seen those frozen Mahal sauces at Ubon Makro. I was always skeptical because it was frozen - has anyone tried them? they aren't cheap, but if they could be used a starting point for something like a Jalfrezi or Vindaloo, I could be tempted.

 

I think I've usually bought their Dal Makhani frozen item in the past, and it was OK, not great, not bad... Wanna say it was around 225-250b for a 1 kg frozen package.

 

The part that always used to bug me about that particular product, though, was it was frozen solid in kind of a solid slab shape. So in order to really use/access any of it, you kind of had to defrost the entire package. And then you've got 1 Kg of defrosted Dal Makhani that you need to do something with before it spoils...  And my Thai wife doesn't eat Indian food....  So it was a bit problematic.

 

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Here, BTW, was one of the very helpful past threads I read with a lot of details about some of the Little India area places in BKK where both raw groceries and a couple brands of shelf stable ready to eat Indian meals are discussed.  The thread hasn't been updated since 2011, but I'm guessing a lot of the info therein is still valid.

 

 

BTW, I should mention also.... the reason I suddenly went looking for Indian groceries lately is I've long loved Indian dals as a vegetarian meal choice. But frankly, a lot of the restaurant prepared versions here that I'd order for take home or delivery were coming out very oily/ghee-ey, and filled with who knows how much fat and salt... So, I decided to give a try at cooking them myself at home, hopefully in a healthier style and carefully choosing what ingredients to include and some to leave out.

 

Unfortunately, after looking at the ready to eat choices' nutrition labels today, those aren't going to make the grade in terms of my healthier eating objective either....  So home cooking it is!

 

 

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last time I was at Spices R us was about 5 - 6 years ago and they had everything I needed including red and brown/green lentils and other dried pulses...now I find that I can buy most indian spices at makro except (alas) for garam masala...good to know that they are still in operation...

 

still can't find no lentils anywhere locally, always have to go to foodland when in BKK...always plenty of moong dahl available at the market but that gets old after awhile...

 

 

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Unlike specialty shops in the US, Oz and Europe where you will find shops specialized in Chinese, middle eastern, japanese indian and more laden with impressive selections of frozen, fresh and dry goods from those countries all reasonably priced, Thailand has none of the above, and if they do, you'll have to go and find them in some godforsaken markets or the recesses of some old cities...

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Has anyone tried the Haldiram range of ready meals? If so, are they any good?  And are they in a retort pouch?

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