Items: Missing in US / Missing in UK
- Amin (London Foodie) Nov 18, 2004 01:54 PM
OK chowhounds, Am looking for a lot of support by way
of feedback. Here is the spiel, so I hope y'all will
actively participate with your suggestions.
A) What do Americans miss from back home when they are
in the UK ?
B)What do Americans (or Brit Expats) yearn for from UK
which they cannot find easily in the US ?
A very good hound friend of mine (Candy from
Indiannapolis) has helped me gather some very valuable
insight, and to give an idea, here are some
suggestions put forth by her:
Missing in US: Crisps (other than BBQ, sourcream,
plain, onion, or salt & vinegar flavour)., Harveys
Club Sherry, Lochan Ora liqueur, Rose's passion fruit
cordial, Knorr sizzle & stir (this was specially
yearned for by a Brit friend of Candy's back in the
US, as it appears that his wife was hassling him for
(you can also include items which may currently be
available within the US but at a high price, however
in this case, please specify)
Missing in UK: Cornmeal, Masa Harina/Hominy/Grits,
BBQ sauces (from SC/NC/TX/TN)
You can mention whatever excites your taste buds on
either side of the Atlantic so you can be as
imaginative as you like and include any item you
normally look for whether it is a particular type of
sauce, paste, pod, herb, spice.. whether it is
cardamom,vanilla, cloves, saffron, paprika, tapioca
pudding (spotted dick), mustard/custard, limequats,
kumquats, Calamondins, meyer lemons, mango, papaya,
fresh/seasonal fruits or foods or whatever comes to
Many thanks in advance
living here, my darling english husband misses heinz beans, lucozade, bread sauce, and sausage rolls, not to mention winegums, maltesers, and ribena.
we live in NYC, so this is all stuff we can find, but it's expensive and we have to go out of our way to get it.
when i'm in the UK with him, i miss skim milk and sweet n' low for my coffee. oh, and good coffee.
This may be a bit out of date but when I lived in the UK these are the prepared foods or produce I missed...
good watermelons, avocados,
brownies/chocolate chip cookies
ice cream in american flavors..rocky road, pumpkin, pecan
decent burgers and flank steaks...I had a very hard time adjusting to the flavor of british beef ( bloody and not aged )
these are the things enjoyed in the UK :
curd tarts,jam tarts and good steamed puddings
probably more but these are the first things that come to mind.
When I lived in Scotland 12-14 years ago, the food situation in the UK was so dire that I missed everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, good pizza, decent hamburgers, and a good cup of non-instant coffee to good Chinese, Mexican, sushi, Thai, basically everything but Indian. Most insistently, however, I missed a good bagel (the prevalence of great smoked salmon without decent bagels always seemed to be one of Scotland's great tragedies).
In the last decade, the UK has truly undergone a food revolution. All the things I mentioned are readily available now EXCEPT, judging by what my friends ask me to bring them when I visit, good NY style bagels...
The things I miss from the UK are: 1) a wide variety of cask-conditioned ales lovingly served; 2) wonderful and unusual farmhouse cheeses, often shot through with beautiful colors of blue; 3) sinful double cream; 4)a plate of spicy haggis with buttery neeps and tatties (really!); 5)crumbly light scones that are not the size of basketballs; 6) lovely creamy layered trifles; 7) sticky toffee pudding (though we get more of these now); 8) a wide variety of affordable port...
I'm sure more will come to me!
American foods I missed when I lived in Twickenham:
- Good steak/hamburger meat
- Heinz ketchup
- BLT sandwiches
English foods I missed when I DIDN't live in Twickenham:
- Tennant's Lager
- Full English breakfast
- Fish 'n chips
- Full fat cheeses
- Late night curries
- Reasonable retail prices on good wine
Looks like other posters share my feelings. Haven't been to the UK for a year or so but on my last stay I longed for good Mexican food. Maybe I just wasn't looking in the right places.
When I'm in the UK:
BAGELS!!!!! Absolutely number one gripe. THe bagels here are abysmal.
real sandwiches with more than one limp slice of meat and without butter
fresh corn on the cob
campbell's chicken noodle soup (they have everything but...)
kraft mac n cheese (I have expat friends who hoard the stuff. I have actually GIVEN Kraft mac n cheese as a gift... it was well appreciated.)
cheesesteak (don't really eat them much while in the us, but somebody mentioned these on CH about a month ago and I've been dying for one ever since)
baked beans that don't taste like spagetti-o's
When in the US I miss:
farmhouse bread that doesn't cost a fortune
squashes of all kinds
the extensive range of fairtrade goods
Things I miss from the UK
Extra thick double cream
Everything from M&S's Food Hall!!!
The amazing variety of baking products found
at the supermarkets (flours, etc)
Fig Rolls (Fig Newton's just aren't the same)
Jacobs High Baked Water Biscuits
Jacobs Cream Crackers
Fish and Chips
Fresh Cream cakes
Cheese and onion pie
Potatoes (potatoes in the US don't hold a candle)
Hula hoops (the plain ones)
Milk Chocolate Digestive Biscuits
Things I miss from the US
Excellent post. Having lived in the UK for the best part of my life, then Australia for a good few years and now Canada I'm starting to need 'essentials' shipped from all over the world!
Missing from the UK (and by comparison what I can get here in Canada appears to be similar to what is available in the US) and echoing others, here goes:
Haggis (scottish husband has converted me)
Cadbury's chocolate (the taste is different here and in Australia because (apparently) of the milk used); especially Boosts and Drifters
Green & Blacks Chocolate
Crisps (ok 'chips') in 40g one serving packages
Ditto Cadburys chocolate and the small packages
H*ll ditto everything and the smaller packages/ servings
Marks & Spencer everything (but specifically their tea-bags which my mum has to send me!)
Caramel Slices and Flapjacks
Not to knock what you can get here as variety is the spice and all that.
Ooo and for the record, once you have been to Oz and been converted to Vegemite, then that becomes a staple too.
Regarding Cadbury's chocolate, I saw once on television that, in the US, Cadbury's is produced by Hershey's -- after the company left the hands of the Cadbury family, production changed. Since I don't like either product EXCEPT for the one lucky time I had Cadbury in London and when someone brings me a UK Cadbury, this makes sense to me.
In the US, I can sometimes find real Cadbury chocolate at Cost Plus/World Market. However, when I'm there, I tend to go for the German chocolates.
I also miss real ale (ask if its cask!) from England. I miss real pubs (especially my local) and all the people you meet in them, all of the glorious cheese and Bisto's Chip Shop Curry Gravy. I don't even know why I miss it, because Bisto is disgusting, but I do. Funny, someone else said they missed sandwiches while in England (and if they had a prawn cocktail from Marks and Sparks I can't blame them), but I miss the heavenly baguettes loaded with cheese and tomato and basil, or cucumber and brie, or piles of BACON! Good tea goes without saying I think...
When I was little and living in England, I missed iced tea mix and Kool Aid (and KD of course!). Now I'm a grown-up (at least according to my driver's license) I miss wings and nachos while I'm over there.
Not exactly a "high-end" list of foods, but I think missing is more about comfort foods then taste. I could go on about "missings" for ever, I think it might bore people...
Missing - UK
-good pickles (cucumber)
-pretzels (small crunchy and big soft)
-salad with vinaigrette dressing (GOBS AND GOBS OF MAYO DOES NOT CONSTITUTE DRESSING!!)
-plain chicken broth in a tin (NOT Maggi cubes, or canned "broth" w/bits of everything in it)
Missing - US
-pickled onions that are bigger than martini-sized
-Walker's potato crisps in really interesting flavors, like lamb, roast beef, worcestershire sauce, prawn cocktail
-decent cheddar cheese
-Cadbury Crunchies, or any "real" Cadbury's, for that matter
-McVitie's milk and plain chocolate Digestives and Hob Nobs
WOW! I had no idea you couldn't get all that stuff in the US! Good thing we are in Canada, where my Brit husband can simply pop down to Dickens Sweets and Chocolates and get everything he could ever want from home and a few things besides. If you are looking to start a shop or something like that you might want to call Anne at Dickens...she's got a bang up little place - full stock of everything from Kia-Ora (too orangy for crows!) to bread sauce. Full service brit bakery with pies and sausage rolls. Bacon from everywhere and a huge selection of candy.
No website that I can find, but here's a little blurb from the local paper
Thank you to each one of you for the extremely helpful
information you all are providing, and am going to
study these carefully, so please keep on providing
whatever else may come to mind. Thank you to those of
you as well who have sent me emails, which are also
equally appreciated. It is nice when friendships are
created through a common denominator, in this case,
Cynthia, shall appreciate if you could please give me
a contact number/address for Anne & Fred Hall of
Dickens. Where is Chilliwack ? Is it near Toronto ?
No, I dont exactly intend to set up a shop but
working on mailorder as well as importing stuff like
rice, sesame oil, sesame seed, Belgian chocolates,
pepper jelly, and currently studying the US
possibilities to supply stuff to US expats in England,
and conversely, Brit stuff for those in the US who
miss certain foods from out here. Am also working
towards a quarterly ''meet and eat'' networking event
for hounds, which will materialise sometime in 2005
once I have enough items of interest by way of variety
Definitely agree on that one... And anything one might classify as soul food or Southern food.
One thing I really miss from the UK, besides the things otherwise mentioned, is decent tonic water. Apparently it's due to FDA regulations not allowing more than a certain amount of quinine...
Miss when in the US:
- proper bacon (I'm with Naomi there)
- Marks and Sparks - for chips/crisps, great ready-made sandwiches, desserts and erm, underwear (I used to be able to go to Toronto but heard they've shut down there)
- Rowntrees everything, but especially pastilles and fruit gums
- good instant coffee - Americans do good proper coffee so their instant sucks - I miss Nestle Cap Colombie!
- decent Singaporean/ Malaysian food (ok you can get it in NYC but I live in LA now)
- kebabs on every corner
- regular (not porn star) chicken breasts
Miss when in the UK:
- beef (hello mad cow!)
- Vietnamese food
- a really good burger chain like In'n'Out or Fatburger, especially drive-thros
- decent wait service and reasonable restaurant prices
- farmer's markets
- decent french fries (as opposed to soggy chips)
Vidia, you get beef in Britain and mad cow has, I am
told, been consigned to history. You also get sushi
and Vietnamese food. For Viet food, go to Hackney
in East London. Farmer's markets are also available in abudance in the UK, and if you go to the right place, there are some amazing French fries in England (though the word ''french'' is avoided in fries as in letters). Just ask for some ''crisp chips'').
Is'nt Toronto a bit far to drive down from the city of angels just for M&S underwear ? Am working on this problem for you, so be cool & stay tuned.
Am amazed that you guys don't have chicken breasts
down there ? I love breasts
You can get malteasers and rowntrees pastilles in NYC (I know you're in LA but in case anyone else is looking)...malteasers in various delis in manhattan and queens (sunnyside, very irish), and the pastilles are available in chinatown, try Kam Man grocery store on Canal, right by the checkout.
When I was a student in London in 1985, I missed edible food. The stuff they served in the dining hall was abysmal so we lived mostly on Cadbury fruit & nut bars and takeaway hummus.
Now in US I miss rich, STRONG full-flavored tea served everywhere from restaurants to sidewalk stalls. Getting a decent cup of tea is impossible outside my home. I buy Barry's tea in the imported foods section at about $6 a box!
Also I'm missing good English breakfasts. The fried toast, bacon and baked beans got me over my hangover and started on a new day everyday...
re: pecan pie wife
pecan pie wife, you oughtta be joking. Pizza's and
their delivery are now extremely common. It is no
longer just the domain of the Italians and American's
but also include pizza places owned by Indians,
Pakistani's, bangladeshi's etc. only difference being
that they dont pronounce it as ''Pitz-za'' but do so
exactly the way it is spelt ''with a ZZ'', so you
gotta be careful when you phone in your order.
i heard that there is a new curry pizza being
(ps: don't take me seriously, as I am just kidding).
Pizza delivery guy's are a rule unto themselves. They
go along on these smal motorbikes with barely enough
horsepower, and I think 90 percent of them are learner
drivers, so the motorist has to watch out for them
and not the other way around.
Well, last month my source for McVities Digestive Biscuits and Hobnobs dried up, so I'm really missing those. I also miss real Wensleydale cheese. We can get it here, but it doesn't taste the same as it does in Wensleydale. And pork pies, specifically from Appleton's in Ripon. Any kind of meat pies, actually. I can make pasties myself, but they're not the same.
When in Yorkshire, I desperately missed peanut butter, and my friend still hankers after Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, so I bring 'em when I go.
In the USA I miss:
decent Chinese food, namely:
crispy roasted duck that is shredded, not sliced
crispy fried seaweed
crispy-edged, soft-interior noodles
(I like crispy things!)
Walls Milk lollies (the phallic-shaped ones, vanilla flavour specifically)
M & S - why haven't American supermarkets got the prepackaged cooked food sections right?
The little chocolate mice from Harrods
Away from America, I miss:
Those evil diet chocolate hard candies from
CVS (they must have LSD in them-no idea why I'm addicted to them)
Ghiardelli's hot chocolate powder
Ben 'n Jerry's, although they are thankfully now available everywhere, except SA (see below)
I'm somewhat of a strange case, as I was born in London, live in South Africa, study in America and am currently on exchange in Bologna, Italy. Who would have thought there was so much food endemic only to certain countries?
Everything tastes best in South Africa, by the way! My saddest example of this is the fact that, despite being in Italy, I would kill for a ciabatta from home.
25th November 2004
Kate, thanks for your interesting post which I have
read in detail today.
Sorry that I cannot do for the phallic shaped Walls
milk lollies, as they would melt before it reaches
Have noted your desire for crispy things and also
for the ghirardelli hot choc powder, as also for the
diet choc mice.
You sure have an interesting life, born a Londoner,
living in SA, studying in US, and being an exchange
student in Italy. I didnt know that SA had their own
ciabatta, which by name itself is Italian sounding.
ps: Due to google posting my messages in cyberspace,
an going a bit incognito as from now onwards, hence
the change in the posting style. My email address will
henceforth be given below, so hope the CH team do not
slap my wrists because of it. (Am sure they won't)
Best Wishes / OrientRice@aol.com
Sincere thanks to all of you who provided such
a wonderful insight into those items which are
greatly missed by you on either side of the Atlantic.
I realize that this thread a a bit old, but someone apparently just revived it, and reading down this list, I felt it only fair to point out to NY residents that Myers of Keswick on Greenwich Ave. (West Village) sells: wine gums, English teas, and biscuits, Heinz beans, mushy peas, Allsorts, jams, puddings (to be steamed at home); many Cadbury and other UK chocolate bars, potato crisps, and much more. Murray's cheese on Blecker St. sells Devon cream. Trader Joe's sells very good crumpets, in my opinion. Also, items such as Ribena, Scottish smoked salmon, Digestives, Marmite, and English cheddars and butters and quite easy to find all over Manhattan nowadays. Oh, and we have Pret a Manger, too!
I do Miss Marks n Sparks, though, and some good fish'n'chips with a REAL beer, not the "Americanized" versions that get distributed here.
heinz salad cream
all the choccies - picnic, CDM, flakes, galaxy, maltesers etc
good cheddar and other Brit cheeses
Scottish Smoked Salmon
treacle and choccie puddings
digestives specially the plain ones
Gold Blend Instant Coffee
better fruit and veg selection
everything from Marks n Sparks
Pizza Express Pizzas
can get some of this here but very expensive
I lived in London and Birmingham about 6 years ago, and I thought the food was BETTER there then in the US.
FLAPJACKS! Especially the really decadent kind--only people in the UK know the tasty oaty sticky goodness of a flapjack.
Indian food in general
Shapers sandwiches from Boots
Marks n' Sparks food hall
Odd flavors of thick ridged crisps
Odd flavors of hot chocolate
Pret a Manger
All of those wonderful sandwiches--pineapple and cream cheese, egg mayo and cress, hummus and cuke--you could get in just about every shop.
Jacket potato sellers
Flyte chocolate bars
While there I missed--
Good pizza/Italian food
Good Chinese food
Some favorite TV dinners, like Lean Cuisine French Bread pizza
Low calorie American soft serve
Really great coffee
When in UK:
-produce that wasnt heavily sealed in plastic.
-corn: fresh on the cob, meal and masa harina
-american chinese food
-drinking copious amounts without having dinner
-neighborhood restaurants like in brooklyn.
-burritos (cheap delicious mexican food)
-easy to find frozen spinach in grocery stores (my sainsburys didn't carry it)
back in the usa, missing uk:
-sticky toffee pudding
-salt and vinegar crisps
-diet tonic water
-the blackberry bushes where i'd harvest a good gallon of berries a weekend this time of year
-those M&S commercials that were practically obscene ("This chicken is no ordinary chicken. It is a dale evens chicken that is drizzled with our fresh gravy")
Things I missed from the US/Canada (while in the UK for a work holiday in '03):
Things I miss from the UK:
M&S fat-free vanilla yogurt (with actual vanilla bean!)
vegetarian English breakfast
easily accessible cider (ditto blackcurrant cordial and snakebites)
Cadbury Flake icecream cone
This project is really interesting to me as a New Yorker who used to work for a company that imports food from the UK, and as New Yorker who now lives in Oxfordshire and sometimes wants beer from Brooklyn or Skippy peanut butter.
Some things you think you want (i.e., Skippy peanut butter) aren't so necessary once you find out they triple in price by the time they get here.
Anyway, I'm pretty good at finding what I want, but craft-brewed beers from the US have been almost impossible to find. Brooklyn Brewery's Ale and Lager are sometimes available now, as well as Anchor Steam, but I entertain a good deal and if anyone can find me a good source of a wider variety...
Also, coarse cornmeal, huitlacoche, good (american and south american) dried and fresh chiles, Can concord grapes be imported? They might not travel well, but I miss those, too. And maple syrup that's from NY state.
P.S. Another goods source of foods from the uk (higher end brands, though, no mc vittie's) is Chelsea Market Baskets in the Chelsea Market on 9th Ave btwn 15th and 16th Streets.