Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jun 15, 2007 06:50 PM

What foods have traveled in your carry-on?

The X-Ray tech at Laguardia didn't blink a minute at the 14 bagels I schlepped in my carry-on to Charleston on Sunday. What types of foods have traveled in your carry-on baggage?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. back in the "olden days of travel" chocolate from switzerland,cheese from italy, wine etc. nowadays don't think customs would be as lenient:(

    2 Replies
    1. re: winebarb

      Lao sticky rice, sausage, and laab to eat along the course of the next 38 hours of travel; bresiola, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Pec-Rom and other cheeses from Rome; Oaxaca cheese from DF; smoked cheeses from Nicaragua; dried squid and fish from different places in Asia; plastic containers of ume boshi, rice vinegar, from Japan...

      But that is just a fraction of what I bering back, the rest packed in my check in.

      1. re: winebarb

        You can still carry chocolate and cheese, but not, of course, wine. In fact, I rarely travel without both of those in my carryon, as I figure you can happily survive almost indefinitely on those two foods. I even declared the cheese and they didn't blink (of course, this was Newark, where I swear you could declare a kilo of cocaine and they'd just wave you through). The only cheese you're not supposed to bring in is cheese less than 60 days old.

        Other "frequent flyers" in my carryon: fruit, crackers, peanut butter, cookies, jam/marmalade/preserves/honey. I brought about 5 pounds of Macoun apples back from New England last fall. This last trip I was hand carrying blown-glass stemware, so the food went in my checked luggage (cheese, pasta, chestnut honey, etc.).

      2. nothing. no hams, no dried fish, no smoked meats. i especially never carry wines or spirits.

        1. Before 9/11, all manner of oils, vinegars, yogurts, cheeses, sake, etc. These days I only dare pack solids in the carry on, and these have included unusual varieties of cucumbers, eggplant, and various vegetables and dried fruits I either can't find or are exorbitantly expensive here because they add freight from the coast to the middle of the country. I once froze some manju from a bakery on the west coast and packed that, hoping that their frozen state would not belie how gelatinous they really are. I got away with it, though they weren't quite as delish upon thawing. Still better than anything I get here, unless I venture into manju making myself. I have also brought back pickled vegetables and kimchee, which TSA passed through the x-ray without a word. I was a little surprised at that. I expected to have to give them up, but I guess they didn't look liquidy?

          5 Replies
          1. re: amyzan

            Brought back an amazing assortment of dried sausages and great cheeses from France...just figured if they were going to bust me they'd bust me...nobody even took a glance in my bag...

            1. re: amyzan

              Also pre-9/11, my Belgian grandmother (who lived here on her greencard which made bringing fresh product through SFO really risky for her deportation) brought wine, cheese, chocolate, garlic, and cookies in her carry on. I guess custom agents thought a 5 foot grandmother who spoke with a heavy French accent looked innocent enough to wave through.

              1. re: MIss G

                I don't think any of those -- except some cheeses and maybe the garlic -- are illegal. A lot of people mistakenly think they're only allowed to bring in a limited amount of alcohol, but the limit only applies to the amount you can bring in duty-free. You can bring in as much if you want if you're willing to pay duty on it.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  I thinks it's not a problem when re-entering your native country

                  1. re: MIss G

                    Nope. Duty is owed on certain goods when they're brought into the country, no matter who brings them in. Here's the wikipedia on "duty-free":, which says in part: "It is a common feature of most tax systems that taxes are not raised on goods to be exported. To do so would place the goods at a disadvantage to those from other countries. Either the tax system allows the goods to be exported without taxes (stored prior to export in a bonded warehouse), or taxes can be claimed back when they are exported (see VAT).

                    Such exemption also applies to goods supplied for use on ships and aircraft, because they are consumed outside the country. Businesses supplying such goods can do so tax- and duty-free.

                    Goods sold to passengers on board ships or aircraft are tax free. The passenger can either consume them on board, or import them tax-free into the country they are travelling to, so long as they are within the traveller's Duty-free allowance. Most tax regimes also allow travellers entering a country to bring in a certain amount of goods without paying tax on them, the so-called "duty-free allowance"; because it is not economically justifiable to collect the small amounts of tax involved, and would be an inconvenience to the passengers.

                    A duty-free shop works under the same system. The goods must be exported intact (they cannot be consumed in the airport), and they are importing into the destination country under that country's own tax rules."

            2. Once upon a time, I went through airport security at Kennedy with a suitcase that contained a dozen miniature canned hams (thoughtful gifts when touring homes in some tropical countries). When that suitcase went through the metal detector two security guards grabbed me and took me away. That was way too much metal for their liking. It took a lot of explaining but I eventually I got to take the canned hams.

              1. Chiles, beans, vanilla beans, mezcal, chocolate, jamacia flowers, dried oregano, mole paste, sal de espuma del mar (aka salt), gelatina, maguey worms, vino santo, cookies and a maine coon cat.