✨ Why it's so Hard to Find Holy Basil in the UK ✨

icon-time 24 April 2018
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Last week we wrote about some of the best places to find Thai ingredients in London, but one thing it's near impossible to find is fresh Thai holy basil (Khaprow). If you want to make pad khaprow, normally the best you can do is Lobo seasoning paste, and it's just not the same. And even Thai restaurants in the UK struggle to get hold of it.

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The reason for this is that the Thai government has normally banned the export of fresh holy basil to the EU, and it is difficult to grow the plant in Europe. 😭 Why does the Thai government ban it? Well, holy basil tends to attract a lot of pests (bugs) and so farmers use a lot of pesticide on crops. 

If EU customs inspections find too many pests, or too much pesticide, in Thai products, it may charge higher tariffs or even ban other Thai goods. As other Thai goods are more profitable and less prone to pests, they feel it is safer to simply ban exports of holy basil to the EU. 😂

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Because of this, apparently the best chance of finding holy basil in the UK is in Vietnamese stores (such as Longdan), as Vietnam has not banned exports of holy basil. 🙂


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Still, even there you'll have to be lucky to find it. In English, 'the holy grail' means something perfect that everyone wants, but is very hard to get - maybe that's why they call khaprow 'holy basil'... 😂