HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

Food foreigners take back home when they visit America.

I have a German friend who buys jars and jars of Cheese whiz and Hershey's chocolate bars whenever she visits America...don't ask me why. lol

My family from Korea buys lots of beef jerky. They also bought dried fruits like blueberries...and brought bagels saying good bagels are hard to find.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Whenever I visit Venezuela and Colombia, my friends there ask me to bring them Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. They can get it there, but it is expensive and they say ours is better.

    1. For years my family members would buy peanut butter and cinnamon gum (cinnamon gum is still hard to find, peanut butter, while not ubiquitous, is becoming easier to get).

      1. Whenever I go to the States, or have a family member go, I buy Kellogg's "Cracklin' Oat Bran" cereal. We love it, but it hasn't been available in Canada for years.

        3 Replies
        1. re: CanadaGirl

          I didn't realize! I keep sneaking Boca and Quorn burgers in my luggage.

          1. re: CanadaGirl

            really? I thought that was terrible. I miss french toast crunch

            1. re: CanadaGirl

              I came back from Buffalo on Saturday with two boxes of Cracklin Oat Bran!! I get two every time we go over, that stuff is crazy good. Came here to post when I saw this thread.

              We also got Whoopie Pies from Tops - wow, Americans rule at snack cakes.

            2. Reese's cups and Buffalo wing sauce.

              1. My ladyfriend in Mexico always wanted packets of instant hollandaise, and cans of French's onion rings for green bean casserole Yeah, I know, but she was otherwise a pretty good cook. She was American and got those yearnings sometimes.

                1. My dad's friends from Korea always like to take lots of Taster's Choice with them. Guess it makes good dabang style coffee...

                  1. Boxed cake mixes (France), bottled spice mixes like Lawrey's (Mexico), chocolate chips (Italy), mayonaise (Phillipines), turkey baster (Brazil), sun-dried tomatoes (UK).

                    On a slightly different note, I could not believe the locked cabinet containing a can of Green Giant creamed corn alongside truffles and caviar in a shop in Frascati, Italy. It was priced upwards of $20.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Sherri

                      If i ever have a visitor from Italy, I will definitely serve some creamed corn. lol

                      1. re: Sherri

                        Aside from polenta, they don't eat much corn in Italy. It's still seen mostly as animal feed.

                        1. re: piccola

                          Except when they throw it on pizza along with tuna or anchovies.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            I never saw that in Italy, only in the UK! Then again, I tend to eat home-cooked meals more than restaurant food, so it's possible I missed some major trend...

                      2. Green Giant creamed corn, Frascati, Italy

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DPGood

                          We must have been in the same store!

                          1. I'm yet to visit America yet, but my husband went when he was younger, and is obssessed with Jolly Ranchers and Reese's peanut butter cups, both of which are luckily available in Australia!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: KitchenBug

                              I could see being mildly obsessed with apple and watermelon Jolly Ranchers... :)

                            2. Don't know why, but flavored instant oatmeal. Yuck.

                              1. before we moved to the US we used to bring back (depending on which decade)

                                Duncan Hines and Sarah Lee boxed cake mixes (weren't available in the UK in the 60s n 70s)
                                Cap'n Crunch, Fruit Loops, Apple Jacks
                                Fluff
                                Maple Syrup
                                Lifesavers
                                Swiss Miss

                                1. Not really food, well not food at all, but the things l bring to friends overseas, Canada also, are 20 inch heavy duty aluminum foil and very large ziploc bags.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    That's so funny! I live in Canada and had to bring my inlaws in Italy the exact same two things.

                                  2. "I have a German friend who buys ...Hershey's chocolate bars whenever she visits America" - Any real proof that she is really German ;) She might be the first German I know who like Hershey chocolate

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: honkman

                                      Maybe she's old enough to remember post WWII gifts of Hershey chocolate from GIs, and it's a positive memory...otherwise, I'm with you. German chocolate FTW

                                      1. re: coney with everything

                                        You beat me to it. That was the case in my family. My father and his cousin always talked about how the GIs gave them food. Cadburry too. I would take pounds of both over when visiting the older German relatives.

                                        Not food but my German relatives adored the plastic plates and trays from TV dinners.

                                        TV dinners is all that was available in our house (no one cooked) and my mom would save the trays and plates. There was one brand in particular (I am talking late 80s) that had a large-ish plastic plate. I have no idea why my mother hoarded these.

                                        When one set of German relatives visited, they was amazed by the TV dinners and asked if they could take their plastic trays/plates home. They about jumped for joy when my mom openned to cupboard to reveal stacks and stacks they could have. I have no idea why they were so delighted with this packaging. Maybe disposable stuff wasn't widely available in Europe at that time.

                                        Instant coffee was another thing they would take home.

                                    2. Whenever my grandparents visit from Moscow, they always take home Taster's Choice coffee, and French Toast Crunch cereal.

                                      1. Australia: Frank's hot sauce (incredulous that the local market had them 10\$10).
                                        Netherlands: Reese's Peanut Butter cups (said they were for her children ;)
                                        Argentina: local honey from the Amish

                                        18 Replies
                                        1. re: gaffk

                                          Are you allowed to carry that stuff overseas? I sent some Polish sausages with my mom when she went to visit my grandmother and they confiscated it. Is that cause its meat?

                                          1. re: lilmomma

                                            dried and processed foods are ok i think.

                                            LOL, I always bring sausages(dried) when I visit Europe...i make sure i wrap them in a dark plastic bag and put them with other stuff..hoping I will be lucky again...so far so good. Nothing like sausages that have been sneaked in.

                                            1. re: Monica

                                              it's meat products that are expressly forbidden.

                                              What kind of sausages could you want in Europe that aren't already made here? (that's a serious question...I can't think of a single sausage from the US that I can't find the same or better here -- especially in France and Germany)

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                Good sausages seem to be much more expensive here and harder to find.

                                                are those vacuumed packed ones are forbidden too?

                                                1. re: Monica

                                                  yes, the cryovac ones are forbidden, too.

                                                  Where in Europe are sausages hard to find? (again -- a real question, because I'm stumped)

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    I'm stumped as well. I've brought sausages FROM Europe, but never saw a need to go the other way.

                                                2. re: sunshine842

                                                  I saw a news review which was from New York, WW11 time and a shop had a sign:

                                                  'Send a Salami to your boy in the Army'.

                                                  1. re: Naguere

                                                    Sign's still up at Katz's on Houston St in Manhattan (the scene of "I'll have what she's having" in "When Harry Met Sally", incidentally).

                                                    1. re: Naguere

                                                      somehow I'm guessing that the boys in the Army had a hard time researching an intact local market with enough food to sell to anyone (or the time...or the language skills....or the local currency...etc., etc., etc.)

                                                      Still don't know of anywhere in today's Europe where I'd take my own sausage.

                                                  2. re: Monica

                                                    Monica, that's awesome. I was trying to sneak sausages made in Chicago to Seoul. My mom was mortified when her luggage came out of baggage claim with a huge padlock on it! LOL!

                                                    1. re: Monica

                                                      dried, huh? Next time I smuggle saucisson back from France, "but it's dried!" is going to be my excuse ...if the beagles get me.

                                                      1. re: danna

                                                        i wasn't sure if I could bring the dried sausages or not...i took chances not knowing for sure.

                                                        like you haven't done anything illegal. please..don't be so dramatic.

                                                        1. re: Monica

                                                          "like you haven't done anything illegal. please..don't be so dramatic."

                                                          I'm unsure how to read this...is it your response to the potential customs agent, or a comment to me? If the latter, i think you misunderstood my post.

                                                          1. re: Monica

                                                            Carrying ANY kind of processed pork product across borders IS illegal -- it is expressly against the law to bring processed meat products into the US, as well as a huge percentage of trading partners around the world.

                                                            One or two sausages will be confiscated and discarded, because it's simply not worth their time to prosecute over it.

                                                            But bringing in a big enough quantity that someone might think you're bringing it in for resale and/or distribution will result in at least a few hours of questioning, even if you're lucky enough to avoid prosecution.

                                                            I have had some good sausage and cured hams in my life, but not one of them was ever good enough to be worth a couple hours' of detention with customs and the relevant food authorities.

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              "I have had some good sausage and cured hams in my life, but not one of them was ever good enough to be worth a couple hours' of detention with customs and the relevant food authorities."

                                                              No?

                                                              I have!

                                                        2. re: Monica

                                                          I "smuggled" a half of a prosciutto and a whole dried salami from Italy home to the United States... I literally left clothes behind in the hotel room so that I would have room in my suitcase (we packed light) I wrapped them in two plastic bags and then a towel which I had stolen from the hotel... I'm not proud of that moment... but it was awesome prosciutto!

                                                          1. re: cgarner

                                                            I innocently bought a salami at the Venice airport on my way back to the USA, and it was in my carry-on bag. When I filled out the custom card on the plane into the States, I realized my salami was probably contraband. But I just went for it anyway and got through without a hitch. Not noble. But, hey, we're food-obsessed here....

                                                        3. re: lilmomma

                                                          It seems to depend on the country. The last time we went to France the airport immigration/Customs officer let a guy (American) in on the basis of his friend's vouching for him (the first guy had allegedly packed his jacket with his passport in his carryon which was then checked at the door to the plane). You could have been bringing any damn thing in that day.

                                                      2. Cereal

                                                        Pringles

                                                        Ritz Crackers

                                                        ... and just about any dried goods from Costco.

                                                        1. I tend to take back sun dried tomatoes, salt and vinegar popcorn seasoning, wint-o-green life savers, and as many bags of seasoned or chili-lime flavoured Spitz sunflowers seeds as I can cram in my luggage.

                                                          1. Corn tortillas, pinto beans, dried chilies, and natural style peanut butter - all the things I miss the most in Switzerland.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: marsprincess

                                                              I ate at a Mexican restaurant in Slovakia last year that apparently had no access to any ingredients that were remotely Mexican. But they did have Doritos.

                                                              1. re: marsprincess

                                                                Friends in Japan always take tortillas home with them when they visit America. We always made burritos using flour tortillas and steak from the grill - they loved it and now serve them to thier Japanese friends. :-)
                                                                I used to take box cake mixes, chocolate chips, mac nuts, and Aim toothpaste back with me when I lived in Japan. I also took maple syrup, good Hawaiian jams and jellies, chocolate covered mac nuts, and brownie mixes.

                                                              2. My Thai friends loved the super-sour kids candies,and always asked for me to bring more when I was making a trip back to the States.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: arashall

                                                                  I'll remember the sour candies on my next trip. I always have to bring Rice Krispie Treats back to Thailand with me. Everyone loves them.

                                                                  1. re: BKK Brendan

                                                                    Sour candies make a lot of sense when you think about the ur-sour candy, the tamarind ones.
                                                                    Any candymakers listening? Make a sour candy with chili heat.

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      didn't Warheads make a hot-sour candy, at least for a while?

                                                                2. I had a friend from Australia who used to ask me to send her Twizzlers Pull and Peels, Gardettos and peanut butter filled M&Ms. In return she would send me Polly Waffles, which was like a marshmallow-filled waffle cone covered in chocolate. Sadly they stopped making them just recently.

                                                                  1. Old Bay is what I've noticed. I had an exchange student from Brazil and one the next year from Thailand. Both went nuts for anything with old bay and took a few containers home. The Thai girl would put it in everything!! I'm going to visit her next week, and I've got 5 cans ready to go.

                                                                    1. My sister's friends from France took home maple syrupand chocolate-covered pretzels. My husband's friend from Holland took home A1 steak sauce so he could make what he called "cowboy food."

                                                                      1. Our Slovak exchange student took home several bags of Hershey's Toll House Morsels.

                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ricepad

                                                                          I take the big warehouse store chocolate chips to a friend in France who reimburses me in the same weight of French chocolate (and some of his homemade macarons). He makes chocolate chip cookies, having been turned on to them as a business school trainee in NYC. We both go home happy.

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            you can buy excellent chocolate chips (chocolate chunks) about the same size as a toll house morsel from G. DeTou, on rue Tiquetonne in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. Better than TH morsels, and even decently priced.

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                              He doesn't want French chocolate, he wants Toll House Morsels. Believe me.

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                these melt the same, but have a purer chocolate taste...and they're available here even when nobody has a trip scheduled to the US. (if he prefers THM, that's fine...but there are times when nobody's headed stateside and your out of Morsels!)

                                                                                I've been making Toll House Cookies for more decades than I will admit to counting, and they really are a completely acceptable substitute -- they're the same size, better flavor (side by side), and stay soft after baking like Toll House Morsels.

                                                                                If I don't bring back the Costco bulk-size bag, I have about 4 extra pounds of luggage capacity...and that's not a minor savings - that's 8% of your total free luggage allowance!

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  I'm sure he makes do when I'm not coming over (he's a very accomplished baker, his macarons are sublime), but he wants the American ones when I do. It's a Proust's madeleine thing, he spent a couple of years here as a trainee from his business school (working for T-Fal in NJ as it happens) and developed a strong nostalgia/sentimental attachment to them.
                                                                                  Along the lines of "Où sont les miettes de chocolat d'antan?".

                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    But it works for you -- you are happy to have the 4 lbs of empty space to haul stuff *back* from Paris...I can put other stuff in that space to tide me over to my next trip home.

                                                                                    We're finding that the list of stuff we want to bring back on our next trip to the States is getting shorter and shorter, just because it's too much of a pita to haul stuff for which we can obtain a suitable substitute here. (peanut butter, chocolate chips, vanilla extract...even off-the-wall stuff like Listerine, which is twice the price here, but it's just too bulky and heavy to put in your luggage.

                                                                                    We're down now to ONLY buying stuff that we absolutely just can't obtain here for whatever reason.

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      I should think so, I'd be happy to make do with French whatever, myself. And he gives me French chocolate in return, so I feel like the happy genius of my household.

                                                                        2. I'm in Canada, but there are lots of U.S. products that never make across the border. So if we're traveling in the States, I stock up on Kashi Heart to Heart cereal and Clif MOJO bars. These companies' other products are sold in Canada, but not H2H and MOJO. Go figure. Also -- Polar seltzer. It's only very recently that Loblaws has started selling seltzer water, and it's nowhere near as good as Polar. So we load up with cases of that too!

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: AverageJo

                                                                            Hey, have you ever considered making your own seltzer? I do. It's more like a champagne bubble, but I figure I have saved well over a thousand plastic bottles and the CO2 cartridges are recyclable.

                                                                            1. re: rHairing

                                                                              I use a soda stream to make my own, so worth it!

                                                                            2. re: AverageJo

                                                                              Heart to Heart is sold in Canada, or at least it was a year go -- I bought it at Sobeys in Toronto. Haven't looked for it since, though.

                                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                                That is excellent news, thanks for passing it on. My local supermarket is Loblaws, so I'll have to make a special trip to Sobeys, but if I find Heart to Heart, it'll be worth it!

                                                                                1. re: AverageJo

                                                                                  I only buy it on sale because otherwise it's like $6 for a small box.

                                                                            3. My friend from Japan was here last week, and insisted on taking boxes of Cheezits back with her. She wanted a specific flavor (monterey jack maybe?), and we had to go to three stores to find it. I've never liked them, so I had no idea where to find that flavor.

                                                                              1. My friend in France always wants blue corn tortilla chips. Vanilla extract was requested in Egypt. They only have these nasty packets of vanillin unless you get lucky at one of the shops in Maadi, the American area of Cairo. Not sure if anyone realized that extract has alcohol in it!

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                  i live in hurghada egypt and they have small bottles of extract.. banana, lemon and almond but NO vanilla! i dont get it. and reeses are very hard to find if at all and peanut butter is 5 or 6 bucks for a small jar. an "off" brand. alot of the egyptian things are imports and im sorry but euro food SUCKS compared to american food. cold cuts here are horrible meat isnt as tender etc. but the fruit is better here.. when i went to visit the states i brought back taco mix and many packets of hidden valley ranch packs lol and hostess cupcakes. most of the american things i crave i make myself home made. its the only way. like soft chocochip cookies. cant find em here except at hardees occasionally. apparently cookies outside america are rock hard and called biscuits.. YUK and the donuts are horrid. and no bagels.. but egyptian food is very good.. i just get sick of rice after a while.

                                                                                  1. re: layla13

                                                                                    It's not a food item, though it's ingested, but what everyone in Egypt wants are vitamins! My guests who come to visit go home with bottle upon bottle of every kind of vitamin imaginable. People also request Gatorade powder!

                                                                                2. I do not know if it is still the case, but Ferraro Rochers were a popular bring back to Taiwan years ago. I remember when relatives and friends came here to visit, would stock up on that stuff like it was going out of style. Also vitamins are a popular bring back.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: jester99

                                                                                    You can buy them in any 7-11 now, so I don't think you need to stock up.

                                                                                  2. My family in Singapore in Malaysia always ask for the big bags of California pistachios from Costco. they get pistachios there, but there are much smaller and not as good of quality. My aunt always asks for See's Candy, and my uncle asks for Orbit wintermint gum.

                                                                                    When my friend was going to med school in India, and would come home to visit, she'd always take back Doritos, Kraft Mac and Cheese, and Hershey's chocolate as per friends' requests.

                                                                                    1. It's interesting that these foreigners seem quite captivated by our junk food and sweets, as this thread suggests.

                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: arktos

                                                                                        My husband used to be close friends with a guy that worked for the PA dept. of Ag. in the international commerce division. Basically, he helped market PA foods to foreign countries. And yes, junk food/snack foods are huge. Especially in Asia, according to him. He loved the Japanese, because PA is a big producer of chips and pretzels and they would apparently go gaga for this stuff.

                                                                                        Currently my husband works for a Belgian company, and tells me that peanut butter and pretzels are the only things that have really come up in conversation. What they eat when they come here, and can't take with them, is good quality steak.

                                                                                        We also have a cousin that lives overseas. He hasn't been to visit us in many years, but when he was here he definitely wanted peanut products to take back home with him. We live near Hershey and he bought a lot of candy, but almost all of it contained peanuts/peanut butter - lots of Reese's. Other things he missed: ranch dressing and maple syrup. LOL!

                                                                                        1. re: centralpadiner

                                                                                          pa is king of junkfood. I laugh at people rolling through amish country that ask "where can I buy a dinner"... wrong place, wrong time.

                                                                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                            The Central PA food scene is improving, but the Rt. 30 Amish corridor is not the place to find it. Sadly, it's also not the place to find quality PA Dutch food - which is wonderful when done right rather than sitting all day in buffet trays.

                                                                                            As for the "packaged specialties," I prefer the term "snack food." Chips and pretzels are what I take to friends that live in other parts of THIS country (and even other parts of PA), let alone other countries.

                                                                                            1. re: centralpadiner

                                                                                              Nothing can compare to Middleswarth chips. I wish I could tell my family that lives in PA that for Christmas and birthdays, I don't really need any gifts from the mall, I have plenty of stuff. But please send chips!!!

                                                                                              1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                I remember my great uncle loading the car with Middleswarth chips (they lived in NJ) and my husband has shipped them as far as Florida for relatives.

                                                                                                1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                  Never heard of Middleswarth chips! (lived in PA my whole life) what am I missing? Ever try Unique Pretzels, extra dark splitz? the extra browning gives the pretzels a whole new dimension!

                                                                                                  1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                    My mom used to get those pretzels! I haven't had them in years.

                                                                                                    Well, I don't LOVE chips the way my husband and family do but I will try to explain based on their description - the chips are thinner than most, with a nice crispy yet not too crispy/dry texture. My husband insists they taste fresher than national brands.

                                                                                                    I remember the salt and vinegar flavor many years before seeing it offered by national brands.

                                                                                                    I think the Middleswarth distribution runs pretty much straight down the center of the state.

                                                                                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                      Maybe the middle swath of the state? O.o

                                                                                        2. re: arktos

                                                                                          I think it's partly practicality. Junk food and snacks are generally sealed in packages, keep for long periods without refrigeration, are fairly light, and don't break customs requirements. Fresh goods are generally banned at customs, bottled stuff can break in transit, and canned and bottled goods are pretty heavy.

                                                                                          1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                            If you've ever been in a big supermarket in Asia (or even a smaller one) you see the impact of this - there are huge aisles of cookies and other snack products.
                                                                                            Peanuts are big over there too (and grown there) but Belgians and the Dutch are the only Europeans I've seen to have a thing for them (from posts here).

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              Oh, believe me, I have lots of experience with Asian supermarkets. :-)

                                                                                              When I go *to* North America, I tend to take snack foods and tea balls as gifts (the latter, the hand sewn balls of tea that blossom into flowers, are $3 for 15 in the dry goods market, and $3 each in the US). I have to skip the dried squid and dried little fish and nuts snacks for customs reasons, though, even though they are good.

                                                                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                That was meant as a general "you", not you personally. Lucky you!

                                                                                          2. re: arktos

                                                                                            I think it's because for a lot of people, the snack is supposed to be a fun and whimsical thing, and something from a foreign country that comes in a weird package just seems to capture the concept of 'snack' so very well. If you go into a Cost Plus/World Market in the United States, about 2/3rds of their non-alcoholic consumables are essentially 'junk foods of the world' offerings so I tend to think or it as a multi-directional superhighway of candies, chocolate, chips, and crackers instead of a one way street.

                                                                                          3. When I went between the US and Netherlands, it was:
                                                                                            chocolate chips
                                                                                            creamy peanut butter
                                                                                            peanut butter cups (reese's or trader joes)
                                                                                            masa
                                                                                            dried corn husks
                                                                                            sazon
                                                                                            Old Bay

                                                                                            1. Living in Japan, my (mostly) American friends and I bring back/receive from friends in the US:

                                                                                              Cereals that aren't cornflakes
                                                                                              Cheez-its/Goldfish
                                                                                              Mac and Cheese
                                                                                              Taco seasoning
                                                                                              Reeses and Twix
                                                                                              Sriracha

                                                                                              I think junk food tends to be the things taken overseas because the food we really want - cheeses, fruits, meats - are impossible to ship.

                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Japanecdote

                                                                                                When l was in Tokyo for an extended stay, saw Twix in a bunch of flavors not available anywhere else, thus surprised to see that on your list. Granted price might be a factor.

                                                                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                  I'm pretty sure you're thinking of Kit-Kats, which are produced in a ridiculous array of flavors for the Japanese market (and sometimes pop up at Mitsuwa). You can also get them on ebay or jlist.com. I don't believe Twix are marketed in Japan.

                                                                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                    Yep, sounds like Kit-Kats... and we're certainly grateful for them!

                                                                                                  2. re: Japanecdote

                                                                                                    'Sriracha'

                                                                                                    Didn't know it was an American product. If so, that's interesting.

                                                                                                    1. re: arktos

                                                                                                      The popular-in-American sriracha with the rooster on the bottle (Huy Fong brand) is made in America.

                                                                                                      1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                        Huy Fong is the name of the ship that the founder of the company was rescued by when he left Vietnam in a fishing boat. He's a genuine American success story, started with nothing, and now with what is arguably a highly successful brand name.

                                                                                                      2. re: arktos

                                                                                                        If I were going to live in another country, I think I'd take a lot of Huy Fong sriracha with me. Wouldn't want to take chances...

                                                                                                    2. When we visit from Canada I always pick up goldfish for the kids, there are a lot more varieties available in the US than here. The kids love the baby ones, pretzel and s'more goldfish. I look for Ghiradelli brownie mixes, again different flavours available down there. If we're near a Trader Joe's I check the most recent thread here for ideas on what to try. And always as much booze as we're allowed, so much cheaper there!

                                                                                                      1. there was a great article years ago in the Wall Street Journal about the underground passage of food products around the world -- it tracked a business traveler who carried stuff from the US to England, picked up stuff to take to a colleague at the next meeting in Munich, where an exchange was made for someone in Asia, where a shopping trip was made to take back to someone in the States.

                                                                                                        It was an interesting (and realistic) look at how much food we all drag with us around the world -- to cure the cravings of an expat, as gifts, etc, etc., etc.

                                                                                                        1. Rotel canned tomatoes!!! There is nothing comparable to that in Canada.

                                                                                                          1. Real maple syrup,choc chips in morsels & minis(for pancakes- stopped ferrying pancake mixes with all those chemicals now that I've got a GREAT pancake recipe!) and chocolate Rice krispies for my son, honeynut cheerios for my daughter, all to India. On occasion, genuine Parmigiano hunks. Either more things are available here or we've learned to adapt but the list has reduced over past few years.. As my DH says, enjoy what we get in each country thoroughly, don't try to have stuff in either when it's too much a stretch....

                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: madmaya

                                                                                                              Will you share your pancake recipe? I made lousy ones just yesterday. Have a new bottle of Grade B maple syrup that's crying out for really good pancakes. Gracias.

                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                Sorry for the late response! Here goes: Whisk 2 cups (9 oz) all purpose flour with 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 21/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt. Then whisk together 2 cups buttermilk(I've subbed diluted yogurt) with 2 eggs and 3 Tbs melted butter. Pour into dry stuff, whisk all together MAXIMUM 15 rounds, leave one minute or so and you're good to go! Comes out as fluffy as the boxed stuff without the chemicals... hardest part is to stop whisking it smooth .. enjoy! P.S: sprinkled mini choc chips are a must here :)

                                                                                                                1. re: madmaya

                                                                                                                  'hadest part is to stop whisking it smooth'- I am glad i wasn't the only one who felt that way every time i made pancakes...lol

                                                                                                                  1. re: madmaya

                                                                                                                    Thanks, except (sigh) Mr. Pine doesn't like chocolate chips (he's warped, I know), so I'll have to sprinkle those on top of my pancakes.

                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                      I'm only a part time chocoholic :) so I sprinkle on the pancakes after pouring the batter... so it's optional all the way... Hope they comes out well Pine time!

                                                                                                                      1. re: madmaya

                                                                                                                        Thanks again. And I had another epiphany--butterscotch bits. Just heaven with grade B maple syrup. Can you tell I have just a tad of a sweet tooth?

                                                                                                              2. My Norwegian step-family always takes back vanilla and cream of tartar. (Meringues are the family cookie tradition.) And they've brought me bakkpapier (sp?) which is sort of like parchment, and a cake form for .. is it kranselkakker, the rings of almond paste to make celebration cakes. (Have eaten it, haven't made it yet.

                                                                                                                1. Somehow this thread is reminding me of when, years ago, we stayed at the (very fancy) Plaza Hotel in Buenos Aires and enjoyed an elegant breakfast buffet. Only, expensively-dressed and sophisticated Italian and Japanese guests weren't going for the hot entrees or even the medialunas---they were all scarfing down Tiger Cereal, as my children used to call Sugar Frosted Flakes (due to Tony the Tiger on the box). It seems that Kellogg's is a luxury item in other countries.

                                                                                                                  1. One more, can't resist. I used to get my hair cut by a French guy whose family, when they came to visit him here, raved over American bread (this is not a joke). It was all about toast. These French people from the land of the baguette and the ficelle would buy a loaf of Wonder Bread and sit around the toaster for hours making slice after slice of American toast.

                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                        and now they buy tasteless white bread here in France -- with the crusts already trimmed.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                          We used to eat the best white bread in India, of all places. So fragrant as toast, with a slight sweetness. Last time we went, that bakery is out of business, and all the rage was American style flavorless white bread. So sad.

                                                                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                            There's a bakery near my parents home,about 45 mins away. I pick up bread right after baking and its great! Of course, now hubby loves only that bread, regardless of the bakeries 5 mins away ... :) We are in Kerala, India btw .. where do you visit,pine time?

                                                                                                                          2. My Canadian and Australian friends always want Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and PopTart Variations. The Canadian guys will also stock up on Ben & Jerry's flavors when they cross the border.

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Rodzilla

                                                                                                                              Odd, considering we have all those things in Canada.

                                                                                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                  and as such I thought you might be able to discern which items were preferred by the Australians.

                                                                                                                                  Further, as I understand it - you're Ben & Jerry's selection is severely limited.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rodzilla

                                                                                                                                    That's possible. I'm not a fan, so I haven't noticed.

                                                                                                                              1. Cheez Whiz - brought this back to Germany from the US because my buddy couldn't wrap his head around the idea of cheese (and I use that term loosely given the context) in a can. He actually likes the stuff. Gross.

                                                                                                                                My mom (postwar generation with fond memories of GIs, their chocolate, and assorted junkfoods) would go to town in the candy aisle when she visited: necko wafers (they are HARD to find these days), lucky charms, whatchamacallit, 3 musketeers... you get the idea. Candy bars.

                                                                                                                                Now, she mostly asks for French onion dip mix (Kraft, I think) and Whisky Sour mix, and the occasional can of Altoids, even tho she damn near burnt her mouth on the last batch. Don't ask how.

                                                                                                                                Before I moved to the US, I was addicted to Reese's pb cups & Planter's Cheez Curlz. Wish they were still around...

                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                  My French guests went kookoo for French onion dip last August - they took some of the mix home too.
                                                                                                                                  NECCO wafers (New England Candy Co.)??? That's about the blahest candy there is. Too cute. One of the oldest packaged candies continuously produced and marketed in the US by the way (Good and Plentys being another).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                    I'll never forget being struck completely speechless when one of my dad's business colleagues (French) took home a suitcase FULL of Kraft French dressing in the late 70s.

                                                                                                                                    Still makes me chuckle.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                      "NECCO wafers (New England Candy Co.)???"
                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                      It's actually New England Confectionary Company.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                        Pardonnez-moi. I thought it didn't sound quite right. But it's "Confectionery".

                                                                                                                                  2. Not available in Canada: Nathan's hot dogs (with natural casings), JIF peanut butter

                                                                                                                                    1. As for the junk food, as a kid growing up in Ireland you see a lot of US TV shows, get a lot of US books. They are full of references to things like Oreos etc - for YEARS I wanted to know what an oreo was, let alone what it tasted like. It was one of the first things I begged someone to bring back from the US!!

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: serah

                                                                                                                                        And . . .? Did it live up o expectations?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                          Heck yeah! Mind you with the hype it could have been *awful* and I would still have loved it. I can totally get why they are so iconic. Kind of like custard creams or jammie dodgers in the UK.

                                                                                                                                          I've just remembered another thing I bring back from the US- Cracker Jack popcorn. A US Coastguard ship once came to Belfast and they did tours around their ship - the sailors handed out boxes of CrackerJack to us kids. I kept the empty box for years. Good ol' Uncle Sam!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: serah

                                                                                                                                            I have relatives in Poland and they request/bring back a ton of stuff whenever they visit. Costco definitely boost it's bottom line when they come over. Some things they are crazy about is cinnamon gum, pistachios, dried mango, whole pepper, cereal of any kind - sweeter the better, EVOO (simply based on cost), Starbucks whole bean coffee, Splenda, maple syrup, Taster's Choice coffee and California Prunes -Must Be from Cali. They bring full suitcases of this stuff back and what doesn't fit, gets shipped via boat which arrives a couple of weeks later along with their clothes. Nuts but I guess I have this stuff readily available to me so I don't crave it and when I do, I hop in the car and am satisfied in a matter of minutes

                                                                                                                                      2. I've been visiting America since around 1980 and don't think I've ever brought food home. That said, I rarely bring home food from any country I visit

                                                                                                                                        1. When my grandmother came to visit from India in the 'Seventies, she fell in love with sugar-free Tang, the official artificially sweetened orange drink powder of the US space program. She took a suitcaseful home and we sent boxes of it to her in her tiny village in Kerala for thirty years (along with boxes of Betty Cocker cake mix and Kit Kat bars). Alas, a few years after she died, sugar-free Tang was discontinued. We joked that she had accounted for such a large percentage of their annual sales that they couldn't stay in business without her.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: ninrn

                                                                                                                                            Oooh, forgot about Kit Kats. For years, we were asked to bring all the Kit Kats we could carry to India. We'd go to Costco (then Price Club) and clear them out of gigantic boxes of the bars and forego some clothing items to make room for them all. I think they're now available there, too, but the flavor seems different.

                                                                                                                                          2. This has been a fun thread to follow! I am curious about root beer. I know it is quintessentially an American thing that is not readily found abroad. Is there any place in the world that people really love it and want visitors to bring back with them (though I realize liquids are heavier and harder to transport)?

                                                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: LorenM

                                                                                                                                              Maybe it's just the people I know, but every single foreigner of my acquaintance is completely mortified by the taste of American root beer (and Maxwell House coffee). Even Caribbeans who drink very similar beverages. I don't like root beer myself, but I don't know why it repulses the non-Americans I know quite so much.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ninrn

                                                                                                                                                That has been my experience as well. I had a relative from England try it and said it tasted like cough syrup. My response was "Ah, but you never had a root beer float"! Somehow I don't think it would have made a difference. Interesting that something so popular and normal here is so hated abroad especially considering the mish-mash of cultures we have here. I figure someone out there has to like it except for us. Maybe it's kind of like the Australians and Kiwis and their Vegemite?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LorenM

                                                                                                                                                  And yet, I bet if we opened a beach shack in France that served nothing but root beer and vegemite sandwiches, we'd be a huge hit, featured in all sorts of magazines and on the Food Network within a year.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: ninrn

                                                                                                                                                  German here, but one who has had the 'pleasure' of trying Peptobysmol (sp.?) as a kid. Root beer -- to me -- tastes like someone took that stuff and decided to turn it into a soda.

                                                                                                                                                  Nope, don't get it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ninrn

                                                                                                                                                    Me, too -- the closest I've found to root beer outside the US is a vaguely alcoholic summertime drink that they brew in Moscow and drink to beat the heat (and yes, it IS refreshing) -- I'm sure someone else will remember the name, because I cannot at the moment, but it is similar to root beer, although not likely to be confused with it any day soon!

                                                                                                                                                    But there are things in every culture that are adored by *that* culture and abhorred by others.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                      The best root beer I've ever had was at a little inn in Honduras. It is run by a Honduran and her American husband. He has a brewery on the property (inside a truck container) where he produces a stout, IPA and a third beer, plus a half dozen natural sodas. I tried 3 of the sodas: cream soda, root beer and blueberry soda. The root beer was by far the best. The beers were good too, but at the time there was a hops shortage and he ran out after we'd only tried a couple of them.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                        That would be kvass, sunshine 842.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Smouse

                                                                                                                                                          YES. I remembered it started with a K, but I was too early in the coffee-intake cycle to even manage a good Google.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LorenM

                                                                                                                                                      I don't really like the taste of root beer myself, but I know plenty of Americans here that miss it... and aping ninrn, every foreigner (Japanese, Australian, New Zealander) who has tried it has hated it.

                                                                                                                                                      That being said, I think root beer is available/enjoyed in Okinawa, Japan. Because of the US military presence there many western foods have become popular and been woven in with the native foods.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Japanecdote

                                                                                                                                                        When I was a child in the late 60s, my family moved from Hong Kong to Taiwan. Whereas I could get things like Coke and 7 up in HK, Taiwan back then didn't have access to those soft drinks, and the state softdrink monopoly only had root beer available. How I hated root beer ever since. Just a taste of it reminds me of that deprived period :)

                                                                                                                                                    3. When I was a kid, my parents always brought back jam after a trip to the US or UK. Most jams available in India at the time were basically sugar, coloring and thickening agents, without a lot of fruit. I understand that the situation is better now.

                                                                                                                                                      I also remember some smoked salmon and Carr's table water crackers.

                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Scrofula

                                                                                                                                                        No canned peaches? My Mom still adores canned peaches because they were such an exotic treat when she was growing up in India.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ninrn

                                                                                                                                                          I don't think it occurred to us to buy canned peaches. We had plenty of good fresh fruit, after all. I still miss the mangoes.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Scrofula

                                                                                                                                                            Yep, the canned peach thing never made sense to me. I think it's a WWII generation phenomenon. I miss Indian mangoes, too.

                                                                                                                                                      2. I grew up in Korea and my aunt used to bring candies from America whenever she visited us.
                                                                                                                                                        Once she brought Twizzlers and i thought they were the strangest tasting food in the world, funny taste, funny texture..it actually tasted like eating a rubber eraser. Hated it but now, I love them...!

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                                          i have one parisian friend who always asks for Combos...and another that loves grits

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: waxyjax

                                                                                                                                                            Polenta is easy to find in Paris...and makes damned fine grits.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                              Maybe the Parisian friend means hominy grits. I have trouble finding those right here in the U.S. of A.

                                                                                                                                                        2. when i lived in Korea I had access to the commissary and it always amused me that among the items that were rationed were instant coffee and mayonnaise. the coffee i kinda understood, but mayonnaise? its not that hard to make, but i guess if you are trying to do it with sesame oil.....

                                                                                                                                                          I wonder if those things are still hard to get in Korea?

                                                                                                                                                          (american liquor and beer as well as tobacco and other products were rationed too... but those were the only foodstuffs)

                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                            I wonder if sesame oil based mayo would be good.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                                                                              Toasted sesame oil would be too overpowering, unless you only used a little mixed in with a more neutral oil.

                                                                                                                                                          2. When I was in high school our family hosted a German exchange student. He came back for a visit many years later and stocked up on Dentyne and Big Red gum (cinnamon flavored gum was unavailable in Germany at that time). A few years later when I visited him in Germany I bought 2 dozen Milka chocolate bars. At the time the dollar was strong so they cost the equivalent of .50¢ each. I was surprised and somewhat disappointed to recently learn that Milka chocolate is made by Kraft Foods.

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                              but in European factories according to EU regulations -- thus, Milka is still European chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                Yes, I know that and Milka is much better chocolate than your average American made chocolate. Not all of the Kraft production of Milka is in EU countries. I wonder if they cut any corners in those operations?

                                                                                                                                                            2. I live in Spain and try to bring back pecans and grits (and I'm not even southern...) and matzo meal. I used to have a longer list of stuff, but as the years pass, the desire to occasionally eat stuff like cheez-its and triscuits wanes.

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: butterfly

                                                                                                                                                                ain't *that* the truth!

                                                                                                                                                                And when you DO eat it again, you wonder what you ever saw in it....

                                                                                                                                                              2. When I was living in Spain, my grandmother sent me a giant care package filled with American food such as Kraft shells and cheese, chunky Jif and Double Stuf Oreos. The students at my university went absolutely NUTS for the Oreos. Seriously. All the wonderful pastries and cookies made in Spain and their various native countries (I was in an Erasmus program) and the only thing those kids could talk about for days was the damn Oreos. And just when the excitement died down, my roommate and I taught them about the wonders of dipping them IN the peanut butter...and their excitement began again. :)

                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mse924

                                                                                                                                                                  Spanish cookies are so tiny, perfect, and jewel-like and reserved for civilized meriendas... Whenever I make chocolate chip cookies people always go nuts--I think it's the wild messiness of them combined with the brown sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mse924

                                                                                                                                                                    haha..cute story.
                                                                                                                                                                    Those oreos i must say are pretty good...i don't even buy them cuz i know I will end up eating the whole thing in one sitting.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mse924

                                                                                                                                                                      That is funny about the Oreos. I can see it happening.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Good peanut butter (natural, chunk style), thousand-island dressing, and Bell's Seasoning.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Our visitors from Thailand love artichokes, pretzels, olive oil, olive bread, cantaloupe and blueberries.

                                                                                                                                                                        Our visitors from Japan took back salami and found out it was illegal to bring meat products into their country!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. A friend of mine has moved to Germany with her boyfriend. She says she misses peanut butter and doritos the most. I plan on going to costco and getting her a giant jar of it for her Christmas gift when she comes back home.

                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Olliegator

                                                                                                                                                                            make sure she takes it home in her checked luggage. Peanut butter will be confiscated by TSA. (dumb, ain't it?)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                              The TSA took an unopened jar of peanut butter from me one time but another time I got through with a folding knife with a 4" serrated blade (it was unintentional).

                                                                                                                                                                          2. My grandmother in Austria would beg us to bring her Junket whenever we'd go over to visit. That was years ago; nowadays it's hard to find even here in the States- I have to order it online.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                                                                              I just googled Junket...sounds interesting, I think I want to try it too!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. DD (from California) is living in Bolivia this year and wants peanut butter, cheezits, instant mashed potatoes, kraft blue box dinner, stuffing mix (pepperidge farms), ingredients for her aunt's sweet potatoes (canned peaches and whole berry cranberry sauce) and ingredients for the green bean casserole (that she never ate when she lived here) for Thanksgiving dinner in Bolivia. She is vegetarian, so turkey (pavo) is not the issue and I can't send Tofurkey.

                                                                                                                                                                              3 volunteers (2 americans and 1 german and 3 bolivian nuns are going to rustle up a thanksgiving dinner)