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Kosher Travelers' Supermarket Challenge

cappucino Aug 9, 2010 03:35 PM

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. r
    ravyossi RE: cappucino Aug 9, 2010 05:00 PM

    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
      cappucino RE: ravyossi Aug 10, 2010 04:40 AM

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

      1. re: cappucino
        DeisCane RE: cappucino Aug 10, 2010 06:40 AM

        Boursin is everywhere.

    2. g
      GilaB RE: cappucino Aug 9, 2010 05:20 PM

      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
        koshergourmetmart RE: GilaB Aug 9, 2010 05:41 PM

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

        1. re: koshergourmetmart
          GilaB RE: koshergourmetmart Aug 9, 2010 05:52 PM

          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
            vallevin RE: GilaB Aug 9, 2010 06:40 PM

            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: vallevin
              cappucino RE: vallevin Aug 10, 2010 04:39 AM

              You are goood. I'm impressed.

              1. re: cappucino
                vallevin RE: cappucino Aug 10, 2010 09:29 AM

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

              2. re: vallevin
                ilanaR RE: vallevin Dec 2, 2011 09:54 AM

                Very resourceful!

            2. re: koshergourmetmart
              craigcep RE: koshergourmetmart Aug 9, 2010 06:36 PM

              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
                avitrek RE: craigcep Aug 9, 2010 07:51 PM

                And Singapore has 2 kosher restaurants.

                1. re: craigcep
                  GilaB RE: craigcep Aug 9, 2010 07:54 PM

                  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
                cappucino RE: GilaB Aug 10, 2010 04:41 AM

                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
                  SoCal Mother RE: GilaB Aug 10, 2010 07:46 PM

                  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
                    GilaB RE: SoCal Mother Aug 10, 2010 10:10 PM

                    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
                    queenscook RE: GilaB Aug 11, 2010 01:49 AM

                    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
                      vallevin RE: queenscook Aug 11, 2010 04:53 AM

                      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
                        GilaB RE: vallevin Aug 11, 2010 06:22 AM

                        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
                          queenscook RE: GilaB Aug 11, 2010 09:18 AM

                          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
                        apathetichell RE: queenscook Nov 9, 2011 07:49 PM

                        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
                        ilanaR RE: GilaB Dec 2, 2011 09:52 AM

                        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. s
                        SoCal Mother RE: cappucino Aug 10, 2010 07:40 PM

                        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. Joe Berger RE: cappucino Aug 12, 2010 06:14 PM

                          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
                            AdinaA RE: Joe Berger Jun 27, 2011 12:45 PM

                            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. a
                            AdinaA RE: cappucino Jun 27, 2011 01:00 PM

                            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
                              ilanaR RE: AdinaA Dec 2, 2011 10:00 AM

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

                              1. re: ilanaR
                                GilaB RE: ilanaR Dec 2, 2011 11:33 AM

                                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
                                  AdinaA RE: ilanaR Dec 4, 2011 04:02 AM

                                  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.

                                  1. re: AdinaA
                                    ilanaR RE: AdinaA Dec 4, 2011 05:41 AM

                                    Thanks Adina and Gila!

                              2. a
                                AdinaA RE: cappucino Dec 1, 2011 05:51 PM

                                For weekday travel, you don't have to get fancy. Tabouli will swell at room temp. Buy a can of beans. mash up an avocado and chop some tomatoes. Voila: dinner.

                                Or buy some salsa. Canned corn is filling. If you're not chalov yisrael, cottage cheese is available. As is bread.

                                Make a tomato, lox and cream cheese wrap, or fill pitot with hummus and diced veggies.

                                Even Heinz vegetarian baked beans can be heated to the highest temp of the hotel room sink by filling the sink a few times with hot water.

                                Not to mention tuna. Or the dusty jars of gefilta fish you find standing beside dusty boxes do matzo in a surprising number of supermarkets in really off the Jewish track parts of the country. If you're in the U.S., it is not hard to eat without cooking, because so many hechschered products are distributed nationally.

                                And now, Great Britain has hechschered bread distributed nationwide.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: AdinaA
                                  queenscook RE: AdinaA Dec 1, 2011 06:21 PM

                                  A friend who has some non-rabbinic position with the OU was telling me recently that of the approximately one million food products sold in the US, somewhere in the range of 600,000 have some hechsher. That it's literally the majority of available food is amazing enough, but even more so when you consider that less than 2% of the American population is Jewish, and only about 15% of that small number keeps kosher. In numbers, we're talking fewer than one million people in a country of over 300 million. Really quite amazing!

                                  1. re: AdinaA
                                    ilanaR RE: AdinaA Dec 2, 2011 10:01 AM

                                    Haha, I have LITERALLY dusted off dust from items in kosher sections in random places in the US!

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