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To migrants, ex-pats, aliens and transplants, what do you miss?

In the UK I spent many hours travelling to and from customers. I knew every breakfast and chip truck around. One particular one on the A30 stands out. Two hunking pieces of buttered bread carved off a proper loaf, filled with back bacon and a fried egg, condimented to my particular taste .Al fresco delight. A nightmare to eat in a suit if you forgot your apron.

I will now wipe the saliva from my keyboard.

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  1. I've never spent enough time out of the US to start longing for, say, a decent hamburger; we visited my sister's family in Italy once, where USAF bro-in-law was stationed, and he and most of his cohort hated Italian food and longed for hot dogs and stuff, but we could not sympathize (UK sympathise). I do tend to miss regional specialties when I move from one to another; after 20-some years in Nashville we moved to Southern California, where Mrs. O is from, and we both miss grits and reliably good fried chicken and biscuits and cornbread. Luckily I can cook those... but then when we go back for a visit we miss good Chinese food!

    8 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      You broke my brain "He and most of his cohort hated Italian food".

      How is that even possible? :)

      1. re: Morganna

        Try this, then: when we went on a military-plus-dependents' bus trip to Rome, we were booked for dinner at a famous convent where the nuns cooked fabulous gourmet meals. I'd read an article about this place and was beside myself at the prospect. Early that afternoon, though, one of the couples in our party found a Chinese restaurant a few blocks from the hotel. They communicated this to the main group, who to a man/woman burst into happy cheers and cancelled the convent reservation.

        The next afternoon we had lunch with the group at a wine cave in Frascati. Everyone ordered sandwiches, prosciutto e formaggio, but the bus driver and our guide both came to the table with amazing-looking antipasto platters. Mom, my sister and I asked Marcella, the guide, if she could convey an order for a couple more of those, and a liter pitcher of wine while she was at it. We happily consumed every oily, garlicky morsel (and another pitcher) while my brother-in-law chewed his sandwich and drank his Coca-Cola, scowling at our unAmerican (and therefore to his mind ANTI-American) indulgence.

        1. re: Will Owen

          Stooooop you're making me CRY! :) We -so- want to go to Italy. It's right at the top of the list. If it weren't for a wedding we have to attend next year in the UK, Italy'd be the first place we visited overseas. There's so much diversity to Italian food, I just can't believe there are people who won't even -try- it. Sheesh!

          (sorry for the thread-jack)

          1. re: Morganna

            Morganna, I WEEP along with you...it.just.does.not.compute. Have never been to Italy (I aspire to someday go!) but know a number of professional associates who go back to Italy JUST TO EAT THERE!!!

          2. re: Will Owen

            my parents are going to Italy this summer for the first time together to celebrate my stepdad's 60th. Any chance you have a website or info on the convent in Rome that has these fabulous gourmet meals? - it's make a great birthday present dinner.
            Thanks!

            1. re: Will Owen

              Have you ever HAD Chinese food in Italy? I have. It's "watered down" for Italian tastes. Blech. Italians are not adventurous eaters when it comes to foreign food. I wonder if the military group even enjoyed the Chinese food? Probably, if they hated Italian food so much.

              1. re: pdxgastro

                I suppose if you're living somewhere like Italy, you could end up craving Chinese food on occasion.

          3. re: Will Owen

            OMG...I cannot wrap my brain around hating Italian food. It is physically impossible for me to do so.

          4. Bratwurst in Frankfurt. Ach mein gott -- sehr gut!

            1. As an ex-NYer now living in FL, I really miss the NYC Hard Roll!

              2 Replies
              1. re: cavandre

                Yes! Even as close as I am in NJ, a NYC hard roll is impossible to get here, and as I don't commute to work in NYC any longer, I'm bereft. :(

                1. re: mcsheridan

                  It's getting harder and harder to find decent ones even in NY/NJ. So many of the older family European bakeries are closing.

              2. Paul this kind of crosses over to the UK/US thread.
                yes I miss proper bread, a caff that serves a good fry up, British doughnuts and buns, corner shops, crumpets, beef sausages, and a good Indian.

                2 Replies
                1. re: smartie

                  Move to Toronto - You can get a bunch of those here. Not the doughnuts, though.

                  Fry ups - many, many places, but you need to go with the pea-meal bacon. The sausages will disappoint though.
                  Corner shops - all over the place in the older parts of town such as East York.
                  Beef Sausages - can be had
                  Indian - stacks of them. Probably 100 of them within 5 miles.
                  Bread - all sorts here, but tends to be expensive. Some supermarkets bake their own, but few use the UK trick of exhausting the bakery fumes by the entrance so you smell fresh bread as you walk in.

                  Sorry if this is too similar to a previous thread - that was not my intention.

                  1. re: Paulustrious

                    A Belfast fry...decent fish and chips...and Montreal smoked meat...

                2. When I'm stateside I miss lechon and whole fried boquinette in the Yucatan. While in the Yucatan, I miss rack of lamb and blue cheese. I can get a caldo or consomme of borrego, but sheep are not an emphasis there.

                  1. Grew up on Long Island but have lived more than half my life near Boston, where they have absolutely no idea what a rye bread should be like, much less a rye with swaths of browned onion bits swirled through it.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: greygarious

                      ::::::sigh::::::: New York rye. :::::::BIG sigh::::::

                      I once was directed to a great rye at Stop & Shop of all places, by a Boston hound....VERY good. Of course, they stopped carrying it (outside brand).

                      1. re: greygarious

                        On the other hand, that's the only place in the U.S. I've had a good scone.

                        1. re: Cinnamon

                          Greygarious...yes indeedy...grew up in NJ (now stuck in SW FL) and my dad and I would drive to Freedman's bakery on Main Street in Eatontown on Sundays in the 70's to purchase our beloved rye bread to have with our Sunday NY Times--I've never had Jewish Rye bread like it since, onion bits and all!

                          1. re: Val

                            Grew up in New York and have lived more than half my life on the west coast. I miss rye bread, Jewish corn bread, real bagels and true bialys, cannolis and bakeries where you can buy cake by the pound. I do need to say that I get back to NY every six months or so and a lot of those things are really disappearing on the east coast as well.

                            1. re: Judith

                              It''s true...don't even have to leave to miss some rapidly disappearing favorites. So many family run bakeries have closed in recent years...very difficult now in NJ to get decent kaiser rolls (hard rolls) and fresh baked jewish or Hungarian rye bread. The supermarket par-baked "quasi-artisan" stuff really doesn't cut it for me. Even the once ubiquitous Italian "Pork Stores" are becoming few and far between (unless you live in Brooklyn, NY I guess).

                              In any case, due to the fear of all my favorite specialties disappearing, I've learned to make most of them successfully...so I think for the most part I'd survive living (at least for a while) outside of the USA. I would probably revel in the indigenous goodies anyway...

                      2. Restaurants liike the Fuji Cafe of old in Fresno or the Buckhorn Cafe in Pendleton for breakfast or the Yturri Hotel's Basque food ...

                        Stuff in the US that I can't get: blueberries, sharp cheddar, cranberry juice, Japanese rice, MasaHarina, all sorts of Asian ingredients, sashimi, bagels, English muffins, Jim Beam.

                        Stuff in the US that I have to make myself: Mexican food including tamales & tortillas; Japanese food including sushi, but much more; Chinese including wonton & gyoza wrappers; bierocks; kim chee, ... actually all "ethnic" foods other than Colombian.

                        Stuff that you used to not be able to get but now can: German sausages & breads, tofu, sauerkraut, miso, fish sauce, Viet rice paper for making fresh lumpia, jarred grape leaves.

                        Stuff that I now eat a bit of on work visits but never did when I last actually lived in the US long ago: Whopper or BigMac, Chef Boy-R-Dee ravioli, Jimmy Dean's pork sausage.

                        1. Nihari
                          Affordable beef that still tastes like beef
                          Good Lebanese
                          Italian beef
                          Supermarkets
                          Lifeway bread
                          Deep-dish and cracker crust pizzas
                          Green River

                          1 Reply
                          1. Whenever I go back to the UK, I make it a point to stop by a grocery store and buy several containers of Rachel's Organic Maple Syrup yogurt. These are consumed as soon as I get back to my hotel room. When I lived in the UK, I had no problems getting my daily calcium intake because I would eat a large container of this stuff everyday.. my husband and I would fight over who got to eat the extra thick, creamy top layer. There is a brand of Rachel's yogurt here in the US but it's not the same - they don't carry maple syrup and the flavours they sell are too sweet.

                            1. I live in the UK but I am originally from Argentina where I spent a few months recently. I find the general standard of food a lot higher back in Argentina as even in cheap cafés, you get proper, healthy, unprocessed, home cooked food. However, it is only in Buenos Aires where you find diversity in terms of ethnic foods (and you need to pay for it!) which is something I have grown to love in the UK. Although the staple British diet leaves a lot to be desired (for my liking), I certainly missed the fantastic array of ingredients you can buy in supermarkets and small shops. Living now back in Britain, I miss empanadas, a good pizza and great meat but, above all, the culture of eating well, around a table and with a 'sobremesa' (or long chat after dinner) that can go on for hours.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Paula76

                                blue cheese empanadas, lomo y papas fritas.

                                1. re: Paula76

                                  To Paula76: Empanadas yes, and queso fresco, ninos envueltos, zapallito relleno, guiso de arroz, medialunas, alfajores con dulce de leche, budin de pan con crema Chantilly, and fruit that didn't taste like plastic. But what I miss most from Argentina may be from before your time if you are young---when I lived in BsAs we enjoyed "te completo" at the many confiterias that featured it. The waiter would bring a big pot of hot tea, extra hot water, a slop bowl, milk, sugar, and cups. Included: a big stack of sandwiches de miga (translation: very thin very wide sandwiches of ham and cheese, not like any other sandwiches on earth) and assorted small cakes, especially cream puffs and eclairs. In the States it sounds pretentious to speak of "teatime" but in the 1940's and '50's in Buenos Aires we ate four meals a day, the extra one being tea, and there is no lovelier meal, served at teatime, conveniently after school when one is starved.

                                  1. re: Querencia

                                    Querencia: You've just reminded me of sandwiches de miga! And yes: when I was a child, we used to have those glorious afternoon teas now and again and lots of people still do. I have never had medialunas like the ones you get in Argentina; it's not that they are 'better' but they are certainly distinctive. My favourite are 'medialunas de grasa'...yum! And the treats you get in panaderías: bolas de fraile, churros con dulce de leche, mil hojas, palmeritas...the list is endless and I'm drooling! Did you use to have milanesas? Regional food from Salta, Jujuy and Tucumán like locro, tamales, humitas en chala...I made some empanadas at home yesterday (a healthier version with a wholemeal and rye dough) and I always have dulce de leche to calm nostalgic urges...

                                2. Living in USA, things I miss from New Zealand
                                  Meat pies (from the local bakery)
                                  Tamarillos
                                  Passionfruit that don't cost $2.99 EACH
                                  Hokey Pokey Icecream
                                  Terakihi (fish)
                                  DB Draft (beer)
                                  Vogel bread

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: toastnjam

                                    I wish I could have a Jimmy's steak & cheese right now, followed by a cream-filled raspberry lamington. I also miss hokey pokey, sometimes I make it and put it in vanilla ice cream.
                                    Feijoa and yams are things I miss a lot, too

                                  2. Living in Dubai, this is what I miss from the States:

                                    Proper hamburgers
                                    BLTs (there is now a pork ban in place due to the swine flu crisis)
                                    Crabcakes
                                    Trout
                                    Chinese food
                                    Curry chicken salad from my old supermarket (with raisins and almonds)
                                    Proper ice cream
                                    Properly sized chicken (most chicken out here are tiny, almost similar to guinea hens. I have to spend a small fortune for a 2-3 pound roaster).

                                    Above all, I miss the insane amount of ice Americans put in their cold drinks. There's nothing as annoying as receiving a cup of soda from, say, McDonalds on a hot 100+ degree day and discover the workers only put in four or five measly ice cubes!

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Roland Parker

                                      I live in Bangladesh and frequently have drinks at the British High Commission club. When I get my drink, with the one ice cube, I look at the bartender and say "American" and he gives me a full glass of ice. They think I'm crazy, but I just don't understand the joys of warm gin and tonic in the subtropics.

                                      1. re: lulubelle

                                        Sum total of phrases I remember in German from a trip there:

                                        ein grosse kola-lite mis eis

                                        1. re: Cinnamon

                                          Small changes: Eine grosse Kola light mit Eis.

                                    2. Morton Bay Bugs, biltong, boerewors, koeksisters, sosaties, bobotie. I also miss maple syrup, tourtière, french canadian pea soup, sugar pie, cretons, fried bologna (newfie steak), poutine, steamed hot dogs, real bagels, and of course great service.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: bigfellow

                                        You lived in Quebec big fellow? Where do you live now that you can't find good serivce?
                                        Just asking as I waited tables in VT and got a lot of French Canadian customers who had a much different expectation of what is good service? Just curious.

                                        1. re: foodsnob14

                                          I just moved back to Montreal at Christmas after living other places for 35 years. I am not French Canadian. But I have lived in cities and countries that have bad service. We sometimes forget how good or bad service can be.

                                      2. Born and raised in Florida and grandparents from Minerals Bluff GA and now living in Bermuda I miss good sausage gravy, shrimp and grits, fresh peaches off the trees, fresh apples off the trees, Aunt Janie's peach cobbler, Real BBQ, shrimp fresh off the boats, grandma's double chocolate cake and big farmers markets.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                          BGG, is there no way to somehow obtain some Jimmy Dean sausage there? It's the easiest dish to make ever -- I know I know, I have access to the sausage and the biscuits here in the US--but they really don't sell those items in Bermuda at all? You could make your own biscuits if you could somehow obtain some breakfast sausage...just asking, I know I'm ignorant about life in Bermuda. (though our honeymoon was there many years ago<sniffle>I loved it!!!)

                                          1. re: Val

                                            Oh we get Jimmy Dean but I don't want to make breakfat / bruch every Sunday, would like to go out once in a while...which never happens ...it is a long time staple in my house, and has been passed down for many of years... I do make my own biscuits (and bread ) but on a Sunday the last thing I want to do is clean up after myself!

                                            1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                              Bermuda seems to get some good food from the U.S. East Coast and Britain. One of the best roast beef sandwiches I've ever had was from there and along with a variety of nice food there was also a fabulous citrus fish at an eco-resort that may have moved camp by now. When you go away from Bermuda, what do you miss?

                                              1. re: Cinnamon

                                                We get good food (mainly meats), don't get me wrong, we don't get a big selection of foods or the freshness unless it comes from the Saturday Farmers Market - which will be closing soon...Sometimes I will spend my entire Saturday going to 3 to 4 different places trying to find everything I need or want ...What I miss the most when I leave Bermuda...My dogs and friends, nothing food wise...The chef that was at the Eco Resort (9 Beaches) is no longer there...

                                            2. re: Val

                                              I miss breakfast sausage, and it is not available here in Denmark. I make my own, but it's just not the same. I think if I had some of the pre made stuff like JD to try while mixing my own I'd probably be able to get the consistency and seasonings close, but alas....

                                              1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                Feeling your pain
                                                about Jimmy Dean.

                                                As expat in 80's in southern Japan
                                                I made the 6 hour trip to Tokyo
                                                Just to get me some bacon.

                                                I hear it's easier now.

                                                To assuage lust for sausage,
                                                Google "Jimmy Dean copycat".

                                          2. New Yorker living in SE England here. I miss American Chinese food. I also miss the hot Italian sausages I used to eat at home--just can't seem to find them anywhere here. I miss crispy bacon. I also miss Dunkin Donuts, though I didn' t go there that often. I really miss the variety of bagels, although our weekly market bread guy has good plain bagels and really good rye bread.

                                            But I don't want to sound bitter. I eat really well here and have accumulated lots of British favorites that I'd certainly miss if I left! Plus, missing certain things that were readily available in NY has forced me to learn to cook many of those things--like pho and lots of Thai and other Vietnamese dishes. It's been a real positive learning experience.

                                            1. Given that the distance from NY to L.A. is London-Kazakhstan, approximately, I'll say that here in L.A. I miss - greatly - the cold sesame noodles that I've only been able to find - usually free alongside the rest of the takeout order - in NYC.

                                              1. Hawker centres. And a decent bowl of mee pok tah.

                                                1. From Australia but living in Baltimore for 10 years i miss...
                                                  good lamb cuts that doesn't break the bank.
                                                  meat pies.
                                                  choc milk.
                                                  decent SE Asian eats
                                                  and yes! Passionfruit that doesn't cost an arm and a leg!

                                                  Now that I live in Vancouver I miss...
                                                  softshell crab sandwiches
                                                  hard steamed crabs
                                                  Brewers Art Resurrection Beer
                                                  and fried chicken. oh I miss fried chicken!!!

                                                  1. I am going to answer retrospectively. Sixty years ago I was an American teenager transplanted to Argentina. What I missed most was American pastry, ranging from coffee cake to layer cake to cookies. My mother's interest in domestic matters was uneven and the maid didn't have a clue so the summer I was fifteen I shut myself up in the kitchen with The Joy of Cooking during the quiet afternoons when everyone was having siesta. The stove was a miniature gas job with no temperature control on the oven. The refrigerator was four feet high with a freezer compartment six inches high. Sugar was gray and had chunks of rope in it. We had absolutely none of the appliances and utensils I now rely on. One of my American teachers had told me how much of the local yeast to use (it was sold in bulk at bakeries). The first thing I made was a yeast coffee cake. God help us all, it came out fine. With that encouragement, I kept baking and cooking for the rest of my life. I sometimes wonder whether I would have ever learned to cook if my father had been transferred to Dayton or Fort Worth instead of to Buenos Aires.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                      Querencia, I stated cooking more and better once I left the US more than 35 years ago - first to be able to eat what I missed (Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Armenian, "American", ...) and later to learn how to fix the foods in the countries I lived and worked in. Also lucky that I didn't live for long periods in places like Laos or Mexico - where I'd have eaten out way more and possibly cooked less.

                                                      Re: your reply to paula76 above, I miss the sunday morning saltenas at the plaza in Tarija, Bolivia, in the mid-70s; followed by the long four to five hour meal starting at about one: good wines, great traditional artisanal breads (sadly most of Latin America now has mostly Bimbo /Wonder bread type breads now), and too much meat. Often out at someone's finca.

                                                      Sunday mornings was also a time for a photo on the plaza. Guys with old adapted large format cameras on tri-pods and using hoods would shoot onto paper, develop and fix, dry, and hand paint with watercolors. There was no internet, and only snail mail.

                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                        I've found that I've been feeling lucky to realize that I've experienced things now long gone in a time that we couldn't even imagine what it is like today and to have a fairly clear vision of what it will be like tomorrow. I'm also fortunate enough to still be able to write, understand, and gramatically defend sentences like the one above.

                                                    2. Things I miss from Hong Kong (where I lived in college):
                                                      street food -- particularly egg ball waffles and crepes
                                                      char siu and char siu bao. The crispy ends of char siu? Mmmmmm...
                                                      a pork and noodle dish that I can't remember the name of but which I can still taste in my memory, and just the noodles in general. They were divine.
                                                      dong leng cha -- iced lemon tea that was strong, SWEET, and crammed with lemons.

                                                      Things I missed while I was living in Hong Kong:
                                                      Mexican food -- I fiended for it!
                                                      diet Pepsi

                                                      I live in the South now and when I go back to Colorado, I miss the vibe of the south, sweet tea, and cheese grits!

                                                      Thanks, now I'm salivating. ;) Pavlov would be proud.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: LauraGrace

                                                        lolz "crispy ends"...I love "crispy ends" of just about anything, mostly beef or pork!!!! Love burnt onions, burnt toast, used to love the end cuts of prime rib...<gasp>...

                                                        1. re: Val

                                                          Me too, the crispy parts of anything are automatically the best parts! Mmmmm...

                                                          Well, you know there are BBQ joints that sell "burnt ends" as a delicacy!

                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                            sic "you gonna eat that?" --LOLZ, that's me!

                                                            1. re: LauraGrace

                                                              I have wondered who it was, when peeling potatoes, came up with the idea that they could sell them as....potato skins.

                                                        2. Originally from Turkey, but spent about third of life in various parts of North America. What do I miss from back "home"?

                                                          Ripe fresh figs off trees, red mullet, sour cherries, sour cherry wine, green sour plums, mulberries, good peaches, apricot juice, grapes that are other than the standard supermarket variety (nor concord grapes), dried baby okra, doner kebap, tarhana (spiced fermented cracked wheat used for soups), kokorec. These are ridiculously hard to find on this side of the ocean. But do I regret? Non! Living in other countries introduced me to a million more other eating opportunities.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                            If you want mulberries, come and get them at the end of June. Whoever lived here before me thought it would be a good idea to plant a few mulberry bushes and then forget about them. I have 7 20+ foot tall mulberry "trees" surrounding my back yard!

                                                          2. In Japan in the early 80's there was no masa harina to be found in rural Kyushu. I was really missing fresh corn tortillas. Then one day I stumbled on a find in an upper-scale gift store: Canned corn tortillas, produced by old el Paso. Just the familiar sight of the trademarked logo on the label gave me thrills.

                                                            They were rubbery, and worked only if heavily sauced in enchiladas, but I thought they were heaven.

                                                            These days, there's a thriving business at the port of Kobe that has more than 40 employees, importing western foodstuffs (including masa) and shipping it to the doors of expats all over Japan.

                                                            It ain't fair. No more the thrill of the hunt, and the glee as the hiss of the canopener penetration yields those tortilla odors.

                                                            1. I will answer for my wife here who now lives in the states but is from Bavaria, Germany. Anything fresh from the bakery , German Breads, Bretzln (Pretzel), real schnitzel LOL, and for me something they call SchweinHaxen, it is Pork Knuckle done on the Rotteserie (Sp?) until the skin is nice and crispy, like cracklins, and served with potato dumplings. Oh yeah, you wont find that here.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Jimbosox04

                                                                I useH to eat SchweinHaxen in Frankfurt and Mainz when I lived there - often mit Kase. It is a very strange food in that when you have finished eating it the plate looks more full than when you started.

                                                              2. One bread you can't get in Toronto is a bialy - Toronto must have a hundred bagel bakeries, but not one seems to make them. I have never seen them anywhere but in New York City, and, for some reason, Greensboro, North Carolina.

                                                                One thing I miss whenever I leave a large city is GOOD Chinese food, not chicken balls in red goo, or "subgum chow mein". IMHO, the North American cities where you can get good Chinese food seem to be scarce - New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver - maybe a few more.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: ekammin

                                                                  I tend to think of bialys as little old lady with a breads table at the farmer's market food because that's one only place I've seen them fresh. If you see a store that carries Ray's New York frozen bagels, they also have a frozen bialy that's okay. (As for their bagels, sister says they're the best ones she's found since she moved from Queens to small metro Georgia)

                                                                2. As a Chicago girl transplanted into the heart of South-East Asia, I miss Mexican food, berries and stone fruits, runny, ripe cheeses, Italian beef sandwiches and gyros from the greasy little dive at the corner, donuts, and as much as I hate to say it, Taco Bell and White Castle.

                                                                  1. Northern California is blessed with many things, but the fresh mangoes, lechon, and prawns here are tasteless facsimiles of the ones back in the Philippines, And, oh, yes, let's not forget fresh coconut milk and mud crabs!

                                                                    1. Having lived in Mexico, Japan and US and now living in London, I constantly crave for (and have actually had dreams about) :

                                                                      - Reuben sandwich
                                                                      -Tonkotsu Ramen
                                                                      -Tamales
                                                                      - Carnitas Tacos with a choice of salsas to choose from !

                                                                      In theory I can get any of these in multicultural and cosmopolitan London, but
                                                                      all my attempts were disappointing. I think I'll just carry on dreaming.......

                                                                      1. i miss *all* the fantastic fresh (sea)food in Vancouver. but here in food hell i have the herrings and my regular (cozy) pubs. the 2 things YVR doesn't have but i now visit as food/beer/wine tourist. a very good trade off i'd think.

                                                                        1. Homemade corn & flour tortillas
                                                                          Chile con queso
                                                                          Chicken fried steak
                                                                          Whataburger
                                                                          Chick-Fil-A
                                                                          Blue Bell Ice Cream
                                                                          The over-usage of green chile
                                                                          Homemade tostados
                                                                          Luby's Cafeteria

                                                                          www.thelunchbelle.com

                                                                          1. Popcorn, baking soda and Mexican food when I lived in Germany. Now I live in California and I miss cheese steaks on Amoroso rolls, butterscotch krimpets, Amish potato chips, birch beer and water ice from Philly, where I grew up, and from Germany I miss doener kebap, fresh breads for breakfast, coffee and cake being okay every afternoon, Bavarian breakfast (pretzels, sausage and beer), and breakfast until 4 pm.

                                                                            1. From Canada (the west coast), I miss the trail mix cookies and variety of samosas that were sold in every coffee shop. And I miss inexpensive supermarket ground salmon.

                                                                              From New York, I mostly just miss the sheer variety... I could eat somewhere new every day and never make a dent in the selection. Specifically, though, I miss real bagels and the crispy duck pad thai from the thai take-out place down the street from my apartment. There's tons of great pad thai in Fresno, but none with crispy duck.

                                                                              1. Living in Northeast China now and have been here for 5 1/2 years. Originally from Berkeley, CA, the biggest thing I miss is taqueria food. Tacos,tortas, tamales, and burritos... whenever I go back for a visit, I go to a taqueria for at least one meal everyday.

                                                                                Also miss Hot Pockets and other late-night 7-11 atrocities not to mention Sierra Nevada and Anchor Steam beers.

                                                                                Whenever I leave here I'll certainly miss a lot of local dishes:
                                                                                di san xian-eggplant/potatoes/green peppers
                                                                                mu shu rou- eggs/pork/carrots/cucumber/wood ear mushrooms
                                                                                jin jiao gan douf- dried tofu/green peppers/pork
                                                                                rou jia mou- chinese doner kebab
                                                                                cheap Harbin Beer/Snow/Tsing Tao (even though most beers in the USA blow these out of the water) Beer here is 40 cents for over half a liter.

                                                                                Not to mention all the dishes I don't know the names of but have tried out of curiosity. Not being able to read characters very well makes for an adventure whenever I go to the restaurant.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: misterkot

                                                                                  Man I miss American junk food. The processed, the oversalted, the nitrate-saturated, you can't get it here in Beijing. Spaghettios, Totino's frozen pizza, gas station nachos, Costco hot dogs, Taco Bell, when you want em nothing else will do.

                                                                                  I miss walking down the aisle at the grocery and marveling at the sheer volume and variety of redundant crap we have in our stores.

                                                                                  Hardee's breakfast biscuits fill another whole category of expat longing.

                                                                                  When I leave Beijing I'm sure I'll miss hand-pulled soup noodles, wok-fried vegetable dishes, roadside dumpling shacks, old ladies giving me advice at the outdoor vegetable market, fried flatbreads and pork pastry, all for insanely cheap prices.

                                                                                2. I am from the (Southern) US and live in Denmark. I've learned to make workarounds for most products I grew up with and was used to cooking, but I miss the availability of a variety of foods that you get in the US. At grocery stores in my area, I'm lucky to find one kind of cheddar cheese, for example. This wouldn't be as big of an issue if I lived in Copenhagen, but I am 3+ hours away (near the second largest city) and availability and variety are poor.

                                                                                  I also really, really miss seasoned food--food with flavor--when eating out. I know the no1 restaurant in the world is in Denmark, but the average restaurant is mediocre at best, IMO, and everything is very bland. I cannot tell you how many plates of nothing but beige that I've been served over the years.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                                    "I know the no1 restaurant in the world is in Denmark" Which restaurant is that?

                                                                                  2. I live in Austin now but grew up in most of the cities on the East and West coasts, Italy, and various places in the UK (Navy kid). I miss real bread, especially rye, real delis (especially pastrami sandwiches and sour pickles), blue crabs, Dungeness crabs, abalone, lots of different clams and oysters, the Halibut cheeks in Seattle, fresh berries, the truck farm produce of the Eastern seaboard (especially tomatoes and white corn), and In n Out. If I left Austin I'd really miss Tex-Mex and BBQ. I loved all the food in Italy...I mean all of it from breakfast of hard rolls and apricot jam to the fruit and cheese at the end of dinner. I especially love the clear broth with a little pasta. From the UK I miss malt loaf, the bacon, and the beer.

                                                                                    1. In general, I miss good beer, good bread and good cheese.

                                                                                      For specific foods items, I sometimes miss zucchini, beet greens, artichokes, good quality olives and pickles, salad greens that aren't romaine or iceberg lettuce, ketchup flavoured Ringolos (the single most addictive snack food in the known universe), sunflower seeds in the shell (particularly Spitz in seasoned or chili-lime flavour).

                                                                                      For restaurant food, I'd love a good Ethiopian or Mexican restaurant (Tex Mex would do). Oh, and Tim Horton's, of course, particularly a cherry stick accompanied by coffee (double cream).

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                        Don't make me go buy ketchup-flavoured Ringolos just to figure out what you find so addictive!!! Damn. I'm putting on my jacket. Where are my car keys?

                                                                                      2. Wow- almost worth a trip there to try it. I'm drooling.