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New York Magazine article

Where Super Chefs Shop in New York City

How do you shop like a chef? You ferret out the best ingredients at off-the-beaten-path specialty shops and ethnic markets... We asked a few kitchen pros to share their secret sources for fresh kaffir limes and elusive pasta shapes that are worth paying retail for.

By Robin Raisfeld & Rob Patronite, New York Magazine
Bangkok Center Grocery (104 Mosco St., near Mulberry St.; 212-732-8916)
  • THE VIBE: A clean, well-lighted repository of Thai foodstuffs and a gathering place for Thai food fanatics, like one fellow who was buying rarities for his friend’s Thai restaurant in Israel.
  • WHAT YOU’LL FIND: Fresh kaffir limes and lime leaves, sweet basil, galangal, lemongrass, and refrigerated curry pastes that have reportedly made their way into Chef Daniel Boulud’s kitchen.
  • CUSTOMER-SERVICE DEPARTMENT: The owner, Nong Premjit, is a one-woman ambassador for her native cuisine. If it were up to her, everyone would cook Thai food at home—preferably with one of her sticky-rice steamers and imported mortar and pestles.
  • CELEBRITY CHEF SIGHTINGS: Kuma Inn’s King Phojanakong is such a regular, Premjit posted this magazine’s review of his restaurant on the wall. “I pick up bird’s-eye chiles there and Thai apple eggplant,” he says. “They have the real Thai Red Bull, too—it comes in a smoky bottle.”

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