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when far from home, what foods do you miss/crave the most?

Just returned from a trip to Europe and realized that the one type of food that I missed the most when I'm away is dim sum. It's not necessarily my favourite food but I guess it is one of those comfort foods that I love more than I care to admit.

What do you crave when you are far from home?

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  1. When i am away from NJ

    - decent pizza
    - pork roll/taylor ham
    - NJ sloppy joes
    - decent delis

    1 Reply
    1. re: MattInNJ

      Atlantic City was my family's vacation spot every summer. The first thing we'd do when we arrived, was to have a Taylor Pork Roll. This was back in the mid fifties and you couldn't buy them anywhere by NJ.

      1. re: amokscience

        My two -exactly Amok!

        I lived in the UK for 6 years and absolutely craved NY pizza and hamburgers.

        I was able to get very good Italian pizza, as I happened to live in an area populated by Italian immigrants - but it still wasnt a NY slice...and nothing compares!

        1. re: NellyNel

          Oh - and since I am back in the states - I crave English/Chinese "Crispy Seaweed"
          Still cannot fathom why this Chinese restaurant menu staple in the UK is not available here.
          It's so delicious, tasty and addictive.

          I also miss sausage rolls and anything dairy!

      2. I think I craved a Big Mac once.

        To tell you the truth, I've had the opposite problem. I still crave the eggs, cheeses, breads, and coffee I had every morning during my stays in Europe. That was two years ago.

        1. I have lived in Europe for twenty years and the only thing I still really (really!) miss from home is tamatillo sauce, pinto beans and fresh corn tortillas. I used to miss bagels, pecans (which you can find here but they are too expensive and never very good) and frozen yogurt - but I easily live without these items now.

          1. When I'm in Europe I'm too busy eating happily to have any cravings. When in Moscow, I find breakfasts to be....challenging. I miss being able to have a simple bacon-eggs-toast brekkie.

            2 Replies
            1. re: SherBel

              What is a typical Moscow breakfast?

              1. re: sweetTooth

                In truth, I don't know what would be considered typical for residents. I always stay in a huge hotel that's geared to Russian business types, and they put on a huge buffet. Beyond huge. It's in an enormous white marble room, the size of a ballroom. Food choices are legion....fish, meats, yummy little meatballs, cereals, puddings, and a pastry display that's wonderful. Gentleman in a white tux playing a white baby grand, (Old standards, "Moon River" and so forth)......but no bacon. No toast. No eggs.

                I'm not complaining, mind you. It's just that it's a bit intimidating sometimes, and a back-home breakfast would be comforting, you know?

            2. Burgers, pizza and fresh squeezed orange juice.

              1. After 10 days in Ireland I landed at LAX, and when the smell of fried tortillas from a mexican restaurant hit my nostrils immediately started drooling. It was Pavlovian.

                1. Burgers. In my opinion, you just can't really get a good one anywhere but in the good old USA.

                  1. When I lived in Hong Kong, it was Tex-Mex. Killed me. I craved it so hard for those four months that, after 24 hours of travel home, jittery with jet-lag, I went to the taco place directly from the airport. Never had a better-tasting enchilada in my life.

                    The last couple times I was in Australia, I missed Southern food -- biscuits, grits, gravy, sweet tea.

                    1. Having relocated to California from Ohio two years ago, I find I mostly miss specific restaurants as opposed to dishes. As far as dishes go, though, the big ones are Wor Sue Gai (which seems to be exclusive to the Great Lakes), Egg Fu Young and the big, fat egg rolls that you can get back East, as opposed to the skinny rolls here that have the wrong wrapper, which seem more like spring rolls to me than egg rolls. I have yet to find palatable Chinese food since I got out here :-p

                      I also desperately miss Koegel's Vienna hot dogs, from Flint, Michigan, where I grew up. Never have I tasted a better dog than those, and it kills me to not have access to them (when I lived in Cleveland, there was a local store that carried them, or family could bring them on visits). I can order them online, but the price is prohibitive. I was SO disappointed when my nephew (who lives out here near LA) recently traveled back to Michigan for a funeral and came back empty handed. He left the purchasing to one of his brothers, who lives in Seattle, and failed to connect with him before they left on their respective flights back home.

                      1. In my time in Columbia, Missouri (4 years) and Princeton, New Jersey (2 years), I jonesed unbelievably hard for Tex-Mex or Mex of any kind. My mom periodically sent me packages of Pedro's tamales in an attempt to prevent my descent into insanity. Jury's still out on whether or not she succeeded.

                          1. Both Michigan-style hot dogs and coney dogs. And also my Chinese take-out in Toledo, Ohio, the place where I earned the right to the 'other' menu (and ate the best Hunan I've ever had).

                            Thoughts of the east coast always make me crave certain types of seafood, and also the pound cake that the mayor's wife used to sell at our farmer's market. It was so good that I suspect it may have been two-pound cake. You had to get there early to score a loaf of the marbled cake.

                            And my mom's pasta fagioli (which we always called fazool), a heavily bastardized recipe given to her by her Italian-American mother-in-law. I start craving a bowl of that saucy and far-from-authentic stew every winter.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: onceadaylily

                              I'm right there with the hot-dog craving; Miller's or Hebrew National, done Chicago-style. The delicious sausages overseas are so NOT the same thing, although they certainly have their place on my table, but not as a substitute. OADL, I'm thinking, if you called it "Fazool", did your family also call escarole "schadall?"

                              1. re: mamachef

                                I have come to appreciate the Chicago-style dog, but remain mystified as to why they will put lettuce on a hotdog, but not chili. I can find a few places here that do it, but it's always so lackluster. A begrudging chili dog on an un-steamed bun is not something I crave.

                                Escarole never crossed my plate before adulthood. I'll have to ask my stepfather what his mom called it, but I can't see him eating my mother's iceburg salads for all these years if he'd grown up on something finer. Fazool was one of two dishes that he made my mother promise to cook when they were married. The other dish was peas and eggs (I don't think that dish has a name, other than peasneggs).

                                1. re: onceadaylily

                                  I guess, if I had to hazard one, that it would be "uovo de piselli" or something equally grand-sounding!!

                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    Which my people would have then have called oodpizlee, or something equally difficult to google up a recipe for.

                                2. re: mamachef

                                  "did your family also call escarole "schadall?""

                                  My family always pronounced it that way too, which is just a heavily-accented, bastardization of the Italian word for escarole, "scarola."

                              2. I still miss the fresh fruit buffets when we travelled to Jamaica and Mexico. I could never afford to have that kind of selection at home. However, when we were in those places all I really wanted were great hot wings and a decent burger, didn't get either one! The taste of the beef in both places were definitely different from Alberta beef!

                                I miss the fresh pico de gallo that was everywhere we went in Mexico, my homemade comes close but not quite as good. Nothin like a great big bowl of chips, guac and pico served with an ice cold Corona with lime!

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: nsstampqueen

                                  I very humbly suggest you try a Bohemia instead of a Corona with your next Mexican spread. That is not only my favorite Mexican beer, it may be my favorite beer, period.

                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                    Well, Perilagu, we all learn something new daily, don't we? I was thinkin' you were a PBR fan!! : ) OADL, check out "depression-era cooking with Clara" on youtube, I do believe she makes peasneggs and does it adorably!!

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      Hey now, mama, Lone Star Light is my go-to brew; Bohemia is for when I'm flush. And I have been known to watch the bull-riders. Just wish they'd put the Resistol back on and get rid of the dam' crash helmets.

                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                        Oye, Mr.chef watches those occasionally too. I'm sure he'd like it more if the helmets came off too - along with removing ANY RULES WHATSOEVER from cage fighting. Just two manly men, thinking manly thoughts in manly ways :-). He generally quaffs some sort of wheat beer, or Pearl longnecks when he can get them, while he participates in these activities. Meself, I repair to the bedroom where I watch PBS or something hideously "reality" driven.

                                        1. re: mamachef

                                          I find PBS far more grisly than PBR. ;)

                                2. Peanut butter! I was in Italy for 10 days in Sept and there was NO PEANUT BUTTER to be found. I tried Nutella but didn't care for it, it was waaaaaay too sweet for my liking.

                                  1. After about 10 years in Europe now, I don't really crave whole foods (like, say, pizza) as much as certain flavors - fake cinnamon, lime, etc. Those are really unpopular flavors where I live!

                                    (Baking-wise, I miss things like baking soda, cream of tartar, different types of flour, extracts of anything but vanilla and almond, stuff like that.)

                                    1. When I'm travelling I tend to crave salads, particularly when travelling in places that don't eat raw vegetables. That's partially the effect of eating restaurant food for days on end, though. For trips, though, if it's a few weeks it's not really long enough to miss one thing in particular (except perhaps good coffee).

                                      I live abroad, and what I miss tends to be particular ingredients rather than restaurants. Good cheese, dark bread, hoppy beer, zucchini, lettuce, parsley, artichokes, cherries, pears, berries, olives, dill pickles, pickled hot peppers, summer sausage, corn tortillas, beet greens, Spitz sunflower seeds, cream for my coffee.

                                      1. I miss Scottish Morning Rolls, Lorne sausage and brown sauce.

                                        1. When I am away from NJ it is almost impossible to get a decent buttered roll for breakfast, anywhere. People look like I am on crack when I order one.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: MattInNJ

                                            >buttered roll for breakfast

                                            I had never heard of that as a breakfast item before coming to NJ. I mean, I'd had a roll, and I'd had butter, but never just a hot buttered fresh roll as a breakfast item. This morning I wanted to just grab a croissant at the coffee stand, and all they had was a "Jersey Breakfast" (a Pork Roll or Taylor Ham, Egg, and Cheese)..

                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                              And, keep in mind, it's not just any roll buttered, but a buttered Hard Roll. Truth be told, the popularity of the breakfast has diminished over the years losing out to the bagel and Dunkin' Donuts.

                                              A Hard Roll is similarly required for a proper Pork Roll, Egg & Cheese.

                                          2. When I'm traveling and eating at marvelous restaurants I miss fresh fruit.

                                            1. Ice, Ice, baby. I'm such a cliche. But I head straight for a big glass of ice tea with extra ice.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                I know exactly what you are saying there. Ice is something that is often overlooked, but nothing beats a tall cold drink in a glass full of ice. My daughter prefers shaved ice, while I prefer cubes, thank goodness the fridge does both. We've even stopped in to a 7-11 when travelling just to get a slurpee cup full of ice for the car!

                                              2. A large cold glass of fresh milk!

                                                1. korean food. my husband is not korean but even he misses it. when we come home from vacation anywhere (except ny or la), we get korean food. kimchi chigae for him, yuk ghe jang for me.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: lucymom

                                                    Away for a week or two, nothing. Away for a long spell, Heinz ketchup.

                                                  2. When I'm in Mexico I miss Cobb salads. In the states I miss real chile rellenos.

                                                    1. Good old NYC diners. My mother's cooking--always.