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Kosher Travelers' Supermarket Challenge

Challenge to kosher chowhounds: You're traveling and find yourself without kosher food. Describe the best meal you were able to scrounge together from the kosher items you found at the local supermarket/convenience store.

example: we just did tuna and avocado wraps, canned corn and microwavable instant mashed potatoes.

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  1. Ah, we did the following in San Luis Obispo, CA (using just the convenience store on our resort grounds!):
    Fancy garlic and herb crackers (I forget the brand)
    Boursin cheese
    Salad of avocado and grape tomatoes with olive oil and lemon juice.
    Bottle of Baron Herzog wine (That part is cheating-we had that from our previous night's stay in Oxnard!)

    2 Replies
    1. re: ravyossi

      I can't believe you found the cheese. Cheese is impossible to find.

    2. My favorite no-utensil, no-heating-implement supermarket lunch is sugar snap peas and baby carrots, humus (thankfully now available in the boonies), and some sort of cracker.

      For dinner with more facilities (a knife, a can opener, some sort of cutting surface, and ideally a heating method), I like to do tortillas with canned refried beans, guacamole-ish (mashed avocado + minced jalapeno + lime + minced onion of some sort), and whatever appropriate vegetables are available. It's a balanced meal in one wrap.

      On a recent trip to SE Asia, with a plug-in burner and pot, we largely subsisted off of locally-bought eggs (scrambled or hard-boiled), oatmeal, rice, noodles (we found out shortly before leaving that the Star-K doesn't require a hechsher on rice noodles containing only rice flour and water), vegetables, herbs/garlic/ginger/lemongrass/chilis, fruit, nuts, and a bit of fish. There were a lot of stir-fries over rice. It was fine, although monotonous, but I don't know if it counts towards your challenge :)

      18 Replies
      1. re: GilaB

        se asia sounds like a great trip-would love to hear more

        1. re: koshergourmetmart

          About what, particularly? We probably ought to start another thread - if you have more than a short question, post one, and I'll respond.

          1. re: GilaB

            Lava Hot Springs, Idaho although we had to go to the big market in Pocatello. The place we stayed at was an apartment with a full kitchen -- I made Shabbos.
            The oven smelled ...how can I say this? TREIF so I tripled wrapped everything.
            We made:
            * Grapefruit salad with some Orange Juice
            * Green Salad
            * Veggie Casserole with soy cheese
            * Salmon cakes
            * Rice Pilaf
            * Fruit for dessert.
            I also did a veggie cholent and made my own kishka from ritz crackers, sauteed onions and full stick margerine.

              1. re: cappucino

                Consider the compliment graciously accepted....and kudos in return for starting an interesting thread.

            1. re: koshergourmetmart

              FYI, I know this isn't relevant to the topic, but it is relevant to SE Asia, but Thailand is an easy place for a kosher traveler because of the presence of Chabad in the main tourist centers of Bangkok, Phuket and Ko Samui.

              1. re: craigcep

                And Singapore has 2 kosher restaurants.

                1. re: craigcep

                  I believe they're also in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand.

                  This trip, we were in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. There are Chabads in Ho Chi Minh City (the former Saigon) and in Phnom Penh

              2. re: GilaB

                Really interesting SE Asia menu. Yes, it's a good thing that humus is mainstream now. I happen not to like it, though.

                1. re: GilaB

                  Is there another brand of kosher refried beans other than Casa Fiesta? That brand is only available in Albertson's in SoCal.

                  1. re: SoCal Mother

                    I've bought Eden brand (organic, as it happens, and under the OK) in NYC; I don't remember what brand we found when on vacation in Utah.

                  2. re: GilaB

                    Re: (we found out shortly before leaving that the Star-K doesn't require a hechsher on rice noodles containing only rice flour and water),

                    Is this opinion in print anywhere (including electronic form, of course), or did you only hear it somewhere? I don't see it on the Star-K website, but maybe I'm looking in the wrong place.

                    1. re: queenscook

                      QC...Star-K does change their opinion occasionally (they used to be much more lenient about frozen broccoli). It's best to just call and ask.....and it's very easy, just call the main number and tell the person you have a kashrus question.

                      1. re: vallevin

                        It's not written publicly as far as I know; it was in response to an emailed question sent in by my friend, who forwarded me their response. This was as of April 2010, so it's a fairly recent opinion. I was very excited to find this out, since I've never been able to find certain kinds of rice noodles with a hechsher.

                        The same friend was told (via email) by a rabbi who works in kashrus at the OU that any noodle made from a non-enriched pure flour/starch, water, and salt is fine without a hechsher. However, I'm not sure if the rabbi was speaking from his own perspective, or giving the official position of the OU, so I am less willing to say this in the name of the OU. This was only last week, and I have not yet emailed this rav to ask particularly about mung bean/glass noodles, which I have also not been able to find kosher.

                        1. re: GilaB

                          Yes, I have been told the same about "regular" pasta (flour/water type) by a rabbi at the OU Kashrut division, but had not heard the same re: rice noodles.

                          My own assumption is that it won't be the same with the mung bean noodles, because I don't think they're as unadulterated as flour pasta is, but please post your answer if you do ask the question.

                      2. re: queenscook

                        Twitter feeds from @CRC:
                        @cRcKosher: Rice noodles do not need a hechsher as long as the ingredients are just rice flour and water.
                        20 Jun (2011)

                        I assume this would be the same for Rice Paper.

                      3. re: GilaB

                        This is an amazing idea Gila! For my trip I think I will bring along a can opener, cutting board, knife, and maybe some shredded cheese on the flight. Everything else we can buy in the supermarket. Excellent! I can see myself adding some cilantro and ready-made seitan, and maybe heating it up double wrapped.

                      4. Near East CousCous. Just requires boiling water and a paper cup. I make it at work along with double wrapped Morningstar veggie burgers. I just made some for dinner tonight. OK, I am home, but STILL.....

                        I have made several of their flavors of rice and couscous in a double-wrapped half-steam pan in an oven.

                        PS for those of you with simple tastes like me, Philadelphia Cream Cheese makes flavored whipped cream cheese that is ALMOST at good as Boursin and a lot cheaper/easier to find. Buy a bag of baby carrots and have fun.

                        1. about 20 years ago I was stuck around Spain for a week,
                          and all we could eat was fish, potatoes and Black Bread.
                          when we finally got to Gibraltar, we found an Orthodox
                          kosher store stocked with goods from NY and Israel, so
                          we pigged out on packages of paskesz and bamba

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Joe Berger

                            I think you're unfair to Spain. True, noting is kosher outdies of small kosher stores and bakeries in Madrid and Barcelona. On the other hand, the vegetables and fruits are wonderful. Eat whatever is in season. I have never had better strawberies or better melons anywhere. But, when you're hungry, go to any greengrocer and you can buy ripe, perfect avocadoes. Mash and eat whith any of the menus above.

                          2. Tabouli and cerviche. I didn't see these two personal standbys mentioned above. And they are important because they require no heating element. Tabouli just has to be left standing in water at room temperature for maybe an hour.

                            A good salmon cerviche can be made anywhere fresh salmon and lemons are available. It does not require a heating element.

                            Frankly, if you're in the U.S., it's not hard to make a good meal out of what you can buy. I might do cerviche for Shabbat. But for lunch on a weekday I often stop into a supermarket and pick up baby carrots or sugar snap peas if they have them, and eat with hummus, just like GilaB.

                            South Asia and the like are a much bigger challenge. As GilaB says, it can get monotonous.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: AdinaA

                              Do you have a good recipe for salmon cerviche, keeping in mind the constraints of a place low on hechshered items?

                              1. re: ilanaR

                                I've only made ceviche once or twice, and can't recommend a particular recipe, but if you search (note there's no R), you should find many. Broadly speaking, you need sushi-quality salmon, lime juice, onions, cilantro, and seasonings; the hard part is going to be finding good fish, rather than finding hechshered ingredients.

                                1. re: ilanaR

                                  Ceviche is raw fish that has been been marinated in lemon juice so that it is sort-of cooked. Salmon works well, as do simple white fish like sole.

                                  All you do is slice the fish into strips about 1/4 " thick and marinate. Tossing in a a] tight tupperware is efficient. Stick in in the fridge, and in 4 or 5 hours you have a "cooked" main course.

                                  Traditional additions include thinly sliced scallions or finely diced onions. A splash of tobasco sauce is wonderful,

                                  You can serve it with tabouli and chopped salad. It is very good with a raw fruit salsa (like diced onions, mango and jicama). And it works well on bread or crackers.

                                  With a travel knife, a paper plate to chop on, and a reliable fish monger, salmon tartare is just as easy.