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Food foreigners take back home when they visit America.

Monica Jun 7, 2011 10:50 AM

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.

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  1. 2
    2roadsdiverge RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 11:27 AM

    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. f
      ferret RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 12:16 PM

      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. c
        CanadaGirl RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 12:28 PM

        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
          piccola RE: CanadaGirl Jun 11, 2011 06:28 PM

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

          1. re: CanadaGirl
            Rodzilla RE: CanadaGirl Jun 12, 2011 10:53 PM

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

            1. re: CanadaGirl
              sgogo RE: CanadaGirl Jun 13, 2011 07:48 PM

              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. sunshine842 RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 12:35 PM

              Reese's cups and Buffalo wing sauce.

              1. Veggo RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 12:49 PM

                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. inaplasticcup RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 01:19 PM

                  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. s
                    Sherri RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 01:29 PM

                    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
                      Monica RE: Sherri Jun 7, 2011 01:31 PM

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

                      1. re: Sherri
                        piccola RE: Sherri Jun 11, 2011 06:32 PM

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

                        1. re: piccola
                          linguafood RE: piccola Jun 13, 2011 04:11 AM

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

                          1. re: linguafood
                            piccola RE: linguafood Jun 14, 2011 05:51 PM

                            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. d
                        DPGood RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 01:31 PM

                        Green Giant creamed corn, Frascati, Italy

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DPGood
                          Sherri RE: DPGood Jun 7, 2011 01:33 PM

                          We must have been in the same store!

                          1. re: DPGood
                            roxlet RE: DPGood Jun 7, 2011 05:34 PM

                            Lol, DPGood!

                          2. k
                            KitchenBug RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 02:09 PM

                            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
                              inaplasticcup RE: KitchenBug Jun 7, 2011 02:12 PM

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

                            2. p
                              pine time RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 03:02 PM

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

                              1. s
                                smartie RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 03:22 PM

                                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
                                Maple Syrup
                                Swiss Miss

                                1. Delucacheesemonger RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 03:40 PM

                                  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
                                    icey RE: Delucacheesemonger Jun 14, 2011 07:34 AM

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

                                  2. honkman RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 04:07 PM

                                    "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
                                      coney with everything RE: honkman Jun 8, 2011 06:01 AM

                                      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
                                        cleobeach RE: coney with everything Jun 8, 2011 10:01 AM

                                        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. e
                                      EllyK RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 04:09 PM

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

                                      1. gaffk RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 04:16 PM

                                        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
                                          lilmomma RE: gaffk Jun 7, 2011 04:28 PM

                                          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
                                            Monica RE: lilmomma Jun 7, 2011 08:38 PM

                                            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
                                              sunshine842 RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 11:02 PM

                                              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
                                                Monica RE: sunshine842 Jun 8, 2011 06:37 AM

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

                                                are those vacuumed packed ones are forbidden too?

                                                1. re: Monica
                                                  sunshine842 RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 01:06 PM

                                                  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
                                                    ferret RE: sunshine842 Jun 8, 2011 01:51 PM

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

                                                2. re: sunshine842
                                                  Naguere RE: sunshine842 Jun 9, 2011 06:02 AM

                                                  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
                                                    buttertart RE: Naguere Jun 9, 2011 06:09 AM

                                                    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
                                                      sunshine842 RE: Naguere Jun 9, 2011 11:42 AM

                                                      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
                                                    lilmomma RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 06:32 AM

                                                    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
                                                      danna RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 07:10 AM

                                                      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
                                                        Monica RE: danna Jun 8, 2011 07:20 AM

                                                        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
                                                          danna RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 10:54 AM

                                                          "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
                                                            sunshine842 RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 01:10 PM

                                                            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
                                                              DoobieWah RE: sunshine842 Jun 14, 2011 07:39 AM

                                                              "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."


                                                              I have!

                                                        2. re: Monica
                                                          cgarner RE: Monica Jun 10, 2011 09:52 AM

                                                          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
                                                            Bada Bing RE: cgarner Jun 19, 2011 10:14 AM

                                                            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
                                                          buttertart RE: lilmomma Jun 8, 2011 12:22 PM

                                                          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. ipsedixit RE: Monica Jun 7, 2011 09:00 PM



                                                        Ritz Crackers

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

                                                        1. t
                                                          tastesgoodwhatisit RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 03:00 AM

                                                          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. marsprincess RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 03:46 AM

                                                            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
                                                              ferret RE: marsprincess Jun 8, 2011 06:54 AM

                                                              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
                                                                KailuaGirl RE: marsprincess Jun 10, 2011 09:36 AM

                                                                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. arashall RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 07:27 AM

                                                                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
                                                                  BKK Brendan RE: arashall Jun 15, 2011 04:14 AM

                                                                  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
                                                                    buttertart RE: BKK Brendan Jun 15, 2011 06:33 AM

                                                                    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
                                                                      sunshine842 RE: buttertart Jun 15, 2011 02:46 PM

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

                                                                2. t
                                                                  theuninvitedguest RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 09:24 AM

                                                                  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. alliegator RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 10:36 AM

                                                                    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. s
                                                                      shoes RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 11:05 AM

                                                                      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. r
                                                                        ricepad RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 12:00 PM

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

                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ricepad
                                                                          buttertart RE: ricepad Jun 8, 2011 12:25 PM

                                                                          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
                                                                            sunshine842 RE: buttertart Jun 8, 2011 01:12 PM

                                                                            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
                                                                              buttertart RE: sunshine842 Jun 8, 2011 01:33 PM

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

                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                sunshine842 RE: buttertart Jun 10, 2011 01:41 PM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  buttertart RE: sunshine842 Jun 10, 2011 02:11 PM

                                                                                  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
                                                                                    sunshine842 RE: buttertart Jun 10, 2011 02:22 PM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                      buttertart RE: sunshine842 Jun 12, 2011 09:04 AM

                                                                                      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. a
                                                                          AverageJo RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 12:02 PM

                                                                          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
                                                                            rHairing RE: AverageJo Jun 9, 2011 08:01 PM

                                                                            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
                                                                              JEN10 RE: rHairing Jun 10, 2011 04:32 AM

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

                                                                            2. re: AverageJo
                                                                              piccola RE: AverageJo Jun 11, 2011 06:40 PM

                                                                              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
                                                                                AverageJo RE: piccola Jun 13, 2011 01:24 PM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  piccola RE: AverageJo Jun 14, 2011 05:52 PM

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

                                                                            3. r
                                                                              Reston RE: Monica Jun 8, 2011 03:28 PM

                                                                              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. roxlet RE: Monica Jun 9, 2011 05:12 AM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  layla13 RE: roxlet Jun 10, 2011 12:22 AM

                                                                                  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
                                                                                    roxlet RE: layla13 Jun 12, 2011 05:55 AM

                                                                                    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. j
                                                                                  jester99 RE: Monica Jun 9, 2011 08:46 AM

                                                                                  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
                                                                                    tastesgoodwhatisit RE: jester99 Jun 10, 2011 12:46 AM

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

                                                                                  2. boogiebaby RE: Monica Jun 9, 2011 04:05 PM

                                                                                    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. arktos RE: Monica Jun 9, 2011 04:31 PM

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

                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: arktos
                                                                                        centralpadiner RE: arktos Jun 9, 2011 07:23 PM

                                                                                        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
                                                                                          Chowrin RE: centralpadiner Jun 12, 2011 06:37 AM

                                                                                          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
                                                                                            centralpadiner RE: Chowrin Jun 12, 2011 02:44 PM

                                                                                            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
                                                                                              alliegator RE: centralpadiner Jun 13, 2011 01:21 PM

                                                                                              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
                                                                                                cleobeach RE: alliegator Jun 14, 2011 06:53 AM

                                                                                                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
                                                                                                  cgarner RE: cleobeach Jun 15, 2011 07:35 AM

                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                    cleobeach RE: cgarner Jun 20, 2011 06:43 AM

                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                      sunshine842 RE: cleobeach Jun 20, 2011 10:55 AM

                                                                                                      Maybe the middle swath of the state? O.o

                                                                                        2. re: arktos
                                                                                          tastesgoodwhatisit RE: arktos Jun 10, 2011 12:48 AM

                                                                                          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
                                                                                            buttertart RE: tastesgoodwhatisit Jun 10, 2011 06:08 AM

                                                                                            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
                                                                                              tastesgoodwhatisit RE: buttertart Jun 13, 2011 07:41 PM

                                                                                              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
                                                                                                buttertart RE: tastesgoodwhatisit Jun 14, 2011 07:02 AM

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

                                                                                          2. re: arktos
                                                                                            beachmouse RE: arktos Jun 10, 2011 11:58 AM

                                                                                            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. c
                                                                                            CloggieGirl RE: Monica Jun 9, 2011 04:58 PM

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

                                                                                            1. j
                                                                                              Japanecdote RE: Monica Jun 9, 2011 11:54 PM

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

                                                                                              Cereals that aren't cornflakes
                                                                                              Mac and Cheese
                                                                                              Taco seasoning
                                                                                              Reeses and Twix

                                                                                              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
                                                                                                Delucacheesemonger RE: Japanecdote Jun 10, 2011 04:56 AM

                                                                                                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
                                                                                                  ferret RE: Delucacheesemonger Jun 10, 2011 09:53 AM

                                                                                                  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: ferret
                                                                                                    Delucacheesemonger RE: ferret Jun 13, 2011 04:30 AM

                                                                                                    Duh, yup, KitKat

                                                                                                  2. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                    Japanecdote RE: Delucacheesemonger Jun 12, 2011 08:52 PM

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

                                                                                                  3. re: Japanecdote
                                                                                                    arktos RE: Japanecdote Jun 10, 2011 09:14 AM


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

                                                                                                    1. re: arktos
                                                                                                      mpjmph RE: arktos Jun 10, 2011 09:30 AM

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

                                                                                                      1. re: mpjmph
                                                                                                        dpan RE: mpjmph Jun 12, 2011 07:00 AM

                                                                                                        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.

                                                                                                        1. re: dpan
                                                                                                          inaplasticcup RE: dpan Jun 12, 2011 07:16 AM

                                                                                                          God bless that ship...

                                                                                                      2. re: arktos
                                                                                                        inaplasticcup RE: arktos Jun 12, 2011 06:50 AM

                                                                                                        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. c
                                                                                                      cheesymama RE: Monica Jun 10, 2011 04:05 AM

                                                                                                      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. sunshine842 RE: Monica Jun 10, 2011 12:17 PM

                                                                                                        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. rayrayray RE: Monica Jun 10, 2011 08:46 PM

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

                                                                                                          1. m
                                                                                                            madmaya RE: Monica Jun 11, 2011 06:02 PM

                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                              pine time RE: madmaya Jun 13, 2011 06:31 AM

                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                madmaya RE: pine time Jun 13, 2011 09:12 AM

                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                  Monica RE: madmaya Jun 13, 2011 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                  '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
                                                                                                                    pine time RE: madmaya Jun 15, 2011 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                      madmaya RE: pine time Jun 15, 2011 11:25 AM

                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                        pine time RE: madmaya Jun 19, 2011 08:48 AM

                                                                                                                        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. l
                                                                                                                lemons RE: Monica Jun 12, 2011 02:52 PM

                                                                                                                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. q
                                                                                                                  Querencia RE: Monica Jun 12, 2011 09:06 PM

                                                                                                                  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. q
                                                                                                                    Querencia RE: Monica Jun 12, 2011 09:12 PM

                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                      rochfood RE: Querencia Jun 15, 2011 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                      That's hilarious.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Querencia
                                                                                                                        sunshine842 RE: Querencia Jun 15, 2011 02:47 PM

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

                                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia
                                                                                                                          pine time RE: Querencia Jun 19, 2011 08:50 AM

                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                            madmaya RE: pine time Jun 19, 2011 07:26 PM

                                                                                                                            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. re: Querencia
                                                                                                                            Monica RE: Querencia Jun 20, 2011 06:31 AM

                                                                                                                            hahaha...that's hilarious...

                                                                                                                          3. Rodzilla RE: Monica Jun 12, 2011 10:56 PM

                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                              piccola RE: Rodzilla Jun 13, 2011 04:06 AM

                                                                                                                              Odd, considering we have all those things in Canada.

                                                                                                                              1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                buttertart RE: piccola Jun 13, 2011 06:24 AM

                                                                                                                                Perhaps cheaper here in the US?

                                                                                                                                1. re: piccola
                                                                                                                                  Rodzilla RE: piccola Jun 14, 2011 12:02 AM

                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                    piccola RE: Rodzilla Jun 14, 2011 05:54 PM

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

                                                                                                                              2. linguafood RE: Monica Jun 13, 2011 04:20 AM

                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                  buttertart RE: linguafood Jun 13, 2011 06:28 AM

                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                    sunshine842 RE: buttertart Jun 13, 2011 11:36 AM

                                                                                                                                    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: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                      buttertart RE: sunshine842 Jun 13, 2011 11:57 AM

                                                                                                                                      That is truly priceless.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                      kmcarr RE: buttertart Jun 13, 2011 11:44 AM

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

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kmcarr
                                                                                                                                        buttertart RE: kmcarr Jun 13, 2011 11:55 AM

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

                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                          kmcarr RE: buttertart Jun 14, 2011 01:39 PM

                                                                                                                                          Doh! (slaps head).

                                                                                                                                  2. RhondaB RE: Monica Jun 13, 2011 09:54 AM

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

                                                                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                                                                      serah RE: Monica Jun 13, 2011 11:54 AM

                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                        gaffk RE: serah Jun 13, 2011 01:17 PM

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

                                                                                                                                        1. re: gaffk
                                                                                                                                          serah RE: gaffk Jun 13, 2011 01:54 PM

                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                            loeborg RE: serah Jun 13, 2011 09:09 PM

                                                                                                                                            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. h
                                                                                                                                        Harters RE: Monica Jun 19, 2011 06:09 AM

                                                                                                                                        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. ninrn RE: Monica Jun 19, 2011 07:59 AM

                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                            pine time RE: ninrn Jun 19, 2011 08:52 AM

                                                                                                                                            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. LorenM RE: Monica Jun 19, 2011 09:00 AM

                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                              ninrn RE: LorenM Jun 19, 2011 03:25 PM

                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                LorenM RE: ninrn Jun 19, 2011 03:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                  ninrn RE: LorenM Jun 19, 2011 03:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                  linguafood RE: ninrn Jun 19, 2011 04:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                  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: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                    ninrn RE: linguafood Jun 19, 2011 04:26 PM


                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ninrn
                                                                                                                                                    sunshine842 RE: ninrn Jun 19, 2011 10:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                      1sweetpea RE: sunshine842 Jun 20, 2011 06:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                        Smouse RE: sunshine842 Jun 23, 2011 05:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                        That would be kvass, sunshine 842.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Smouse
                                                                                                                                                          sunshine842 RE: Smouse Jun 23, 2011 10:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                      Japanecdote RE: LorenM Jun 19, 2011 08:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                        dpan RE: Japanecdote Jun 20, 2011 06:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                        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. Scrofula RE: Monica Jun 19, 2011 11:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                        ninrn RE: Scrofula Jun 20, 2011 09:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                          Scrofula RE: ninrn Jun 21, 2011 08:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                            ninrn RE: Scrofula Jun 21, 2011 09:24 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                      2. Monica RE: Monica Jun 20, 2011 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                          waxyjax RE: Monica Jun 21, 2011 10:02 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: waxyjax
                                                                                                                                                            sunshine842 RE: waxyjax Jun 21, 2011 10:50 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                              ninrn RE: sunshine842 Jun 22, 2011 01:44 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                        2. KaimukiMan RE: Monica Jun 22, 2011 01:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                            Humbucker RE: KaimukiMan Jun 25, 2011 05:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I wonder if sesame oil based mayo would be good.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Humbucker
                                                                                                                                                              piccola RE: Humbucker Jun 25, 2011 09:24 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                          2. John E. RE: Monica Jun 25, 2011 10:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                            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.
                                                                                                                                                              sunshine842 RE: John E. Jun 26, 2011 01:38 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                John E. RE: sunshine842 Jun 26, 2011 09:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                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?

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                                                                                                                                                              butterfly RE: Monica Jun 26, 2011 09:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                sunshine842 RE: butterfly Jun 26, 2011 11:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                ain't *that* the truth!

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

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                                                                                                                                                                mse924 RE: Monica Jun 26, 2011 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                  butterfly RE: mse924 Jun 27, 2011 03:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                    Monica RE: mse924 Jun 27, 2011 06:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                      Bada Bing RE: mse924 Jun 27, 2011 07:41 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                    2. pinehurst RE: Monica Jun 27, 2011 09:10 AM

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

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                                                                                                                                                                        nattythecook RE: Monica Oct 16, 2011 04:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        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!

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                                                                                                                                                                          Olliegator RE: Monica Oct 16, 2011 07:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          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.

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                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Olliegator
                                                                                                                                                                            sunshine842 RE: Olliegator Oct 16, 2011 11:00 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                              John E. RE: sunshine842 Oct 17, 2011 09:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              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. eclecticsynergy RE: Monica Oct 16, 2011 09:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            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.

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                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: eclecticsynergy
                                                                                                                                                                              Monica RE: eclecticsynergy Oct 17, 2011 06:47 AM

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

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                                                                                                                                                                              laliz RE: Monica Oct 17, 2011 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              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)

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