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Products you miss when you're abroad

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Hi, everyone! I'm sure many of you have spent some time away from home, in places where you couldn't get snacks, sauces, jams, and other such-like things that are available in any market or corner store back home.

I'll start off this discussion by saying that I used to live in Malaysia, and I miss a lot of foodstuffs I used to get there. Some of them just can't travel, like young cashew leaves, and then there's also tapai (sweet fermented tapioca root or rice cakes), which is seasonal, but quite a number are things you can buy in many supermarkets over there, year-round, but can't get easily even in a big American city like New York. Here are just three that come to mind:

Good satay sauce

Kaya (coconut custard jam, and I do know of one or two restaurants that sell them here, but it certainly isn't widely available in stores)

Malaysian-style smoky palm sugar (manisan)

What about you?

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    1. We lived in the Netherlands for several years. While there, we missed ice. Whenever we go to Europe, we miss ice!

      Food wise, I missed winter squash, USDA well marbled prime beef and Italian sausages. For the most part, the Dutch don't consider winter squash edible. I was sometimes able to find butternut in the "exotisch" fruits and vegetables (along with similarly classed sweet potatoes!). They grow winter squashes for seasonal decor and sell them in garden centers alongside shiny gourds. I never new what they sprayed them with but how I yearned for acorn, Hubbard, buttercup...but they were not sold for consumption.

      We did not care for the lean, grass fed beef there. And their interpretation of Italian sausage "venkelworst" was truly revolting.

      And sharp cheddar cheese. Occasionally we could buy some British cheddar but it was always exorbitantly priced. Access to so many delicious French cheeses made up in that department. After awhile, the Dutch cheeses didn't differentiate themselves enough.

      1. Really good chocolate milk and ketchup chips.

        1. Just came back from Japan, where I lived for years and still visit every year. Off the top of my head, thinking about stuff to buy at stores or order at restaurants:

          Fresh tofu, persimmons, wild caught winter yellowtail (buri), cheap tuna sashimi, various types of pickles, items fried with nama panko, most any fish (fresh water and ocean), cheap plump oysters, flavored Kit Kats, good katsuo, kombu, crab from Hokkaido, fresh sujiko, sake, shochu, good eggs, pork chashu, ramen with broths made from fish..... And no fucking tipping in restaurants.

          1. My mom is Singaporean, so I spend a lot of time in that part of the world. I LOVE the food items from there, and always hit up the local market before I leave to stock up on supplies. I usually stock up on spices -- I MUST get my Baba's curry powders! Those are my biggest buy, as we can't get them here. I also pick up various spices, like Nasi Goreng seasoning powders in the little sachets (so hubby can make it if I'm not home), Milo candy bars, Lipton 3in1 milk tea, etc.

            I can get several brands of kaya in my local asian markets here - Glory, Srikaya, and Yeo's. I prefer the Glory one, but my kids love the Yeo's one because it's orange.

            When I went to India a few months ago, I brought back some indo-chinese spice mixes, and a few bags/boxes of indian snacks and sweets.

            2 Replies
            1. re: boogiebaby

              Thanks for your replies, everyone, and keep them coming!

              Silverjay, what kinds of pickles are commonly sold in Japanese supermarkets? By the way, one item I really liked when I was briefly in Japan last year was candied satsuma imo.

              boogiebaby, what part of the world are you living in now? Also, do you have a favorite brand of nasi goreng seasoning powder? And any favorite brand of Indo-Chinese spice mixes, or did you buy artisanal ones in bazaars?

              1. re: Pan

                Many types, but I was specifically thinking of nukazuke, which are made from rice bran. These are often homemade by a relative or by restaurants. But you can buy them as well at the store. I also like suzuke pickles, which are rice vinegar. As well as anything misozuke, which are miso aged pickles. I mean, it's not hard to find all these in bags here in NY Asian stores. But I like them home made.

            2. I've lived in or spent a lot of time in a few places:

              From the US: I miss heirloom tomatoes, plum tomatoes

              From Germany: kefir, white cheese, cream cheese (quark), bread selection, huge array of hering, flavorful sausages, inexpensive pretty good cheese, inexpensive pretty good chocolate

              From Poland: some of the same stuff as Germany, cwikla (horseraddish/beet spread), chalka (challah bread), pierogis

              From Chile (where I live): empanadas filled with "pino", inexpensive good vegetables and fruit

              5 Replies
              1. re: Wawsanham

                Here in New York, horseradish spread with beets is widely available in the Gold's brand (which also sells beetless horseradish spread), and the word we Ashkenazic Jews use for it is chrein, which Poles have told me is the Polish word for horseradish, too. You might check and see whether there is a Jewish store in your town that sells the horseradish and a kosher bakery that sells the challah.

                What is pino?

                1. re: Pan

                  Good to know!

                  Yes, in Polish horseraddish is "Chrzan" (pronounced "hshan"), in some German dialects, it's also Kren or Krein.
                  Actually, I could probably make the horseraddish/beet mix--I just haven't done it. I don't know about any kosher shops in Santiago, Chile--though, there is a population of about 15,000 Jews (at least half of them are Sephardic, so other culinary traditions). There is a supermarket chain that gets stuff from Europe, and it is the place I can buy horseraddish.

                  Pino is a mix of ground beef with onion, a couple of black olives, rasins, and often 1 hard boiled egg in the empanada. It is the quintessential Chilean empanada. Glad to inform! :)

                  1. re: Wawsanham

                    That empanada sounds delicious!

                    1. re: Wawsanham

                      While in the US horesraddish/beet is commonly associated with (Ashkenazi) Jews - it's not wildly available in Israel. However, Russian grocery stores (both those that are kosher observant and those that aren't) carry it. So if there's a Russian community in Chile - that'd be another place to check.

                      1. re: Wawsanham

                        There is a huge Jewish population in neighbouring Argentina (both Askenazi and Sephardic), so if you ever cross the Cordillera...

                        Butcher shop round the corner from me (here in Montréal) run by a Chilean couple; they make both the Chilean pino empanada and the Argentine kind. Yum.

                  2. I'm not really identifiably Australian, and I never eat Vegemite while I'm in Australia, but when I travel I always find myself missing Vegemite as a quintessential taste of home - probably in part because there are almost no other foods/products that are truly peculiar to Australia.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mugen

                      Anzac biscuits are quintessentially Australian, and much more palatable than Vegemite.

                      1. re: mugen

                        My husband has been known to bring his own little bottle of vegemite down to the breakfast buffet while in Europe when the vegemite cravings become strong.

                        I tend to miss salad rolls while in Europe - when travelling and eating in resturants all the time I find myself craving a really simple white roll with lots of salad, which has proven almost impossible to find in Europe. Also, cold (really cold) drinks and ice!!!

                      2. My daughter's been studying in London and the things she misses most from the US are sriracha, bagels, cider donuts (we live in upstate NY and she left before they started making them in the fall), and turkey bacon (we don't eat pork).

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: AmyH

                          I'm surprised she's having trouble finding Sriracha in London, but it is in fact manufactured in California, as I recall. But aren't there similar sauces available in Soho?

                          1. re: Pan

                            She bought a similar sauce and said it was horrible. She's on a student budget and doesn't have a lot of time to go from store to store looking for it, so when we went to visit her we took her a bottle of the real stuff.

                            1. re: AmyH

                              Serendipitous - I came across a Sriracha recipe just last night - I'm posting the link just in case it's useful to her:


                              (The reviews are very positive)

                              1. re: ursy_ten

                                Thank you! Although now she has a bottle that we brought to London for her. But this may be needed for her future travels or just for experimentation.

                                1. re: AmyH

                                  No problem! I just wasn't sure how fast she goes through it. Some people put it on everything!

                                  1. re: ursy_ten

                                    She is definitely one of those people. But she's only there for another 7 weeks, so she should be ok. Thanks for your concern!

                                    1. re: AmyH

                                      Tell her to try the vietnamese grocery stores in Hackney; she'll find it in seconds.

                                      1. re: relizabeth

                                        Thanks! She's only there a few more weeks, though. But hopefully some other sriracha addicted expat in London will be able to use your suggestion.

                          2. re: AmyH

                            My canadian cousin-in-law is living in the UK with his wife and kids. On a recent visit he took a jar of cheese whizz home with him.

                          3. In N Out.

                            Weird too, cuz I rarely get cravings when in California.

                            1. In the Czech republic from the US: Ice (I see that mentioned above). I knew that would be the case, so I brought ice cube trays. Missed having fresh fruits and veggies plentiful. And my friends and I would talk about it while drunk--Mexican food.
                              Returning to the US from Czech, I missed the great beer, of course, smazeny syr (fried cheese) and the great variety of delicious lunch meat.
                              In Thailand from the US, I missed nothing. Nada. Zilch.
                              Back in the US, I miss everything Thai. Especially the super fresh seafood, huge cashews, and gorgeous juices that you can buy in little baggies with a straw sticking out the top. Yum.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: alliegator

                                I miss the cashews, too. And pineapple shakes! And "real" fruit that is ripe and delicious because is wasnt' picked weeks in advance.

                                1. re: arashall

                                  Thai pineapple anything! Moving "back" from Thailand would be a shock to anyone's system.

                                  1. re: alliegator

                                    Are all the items you're thinking of fresh, or are some packed in jars and sold in markets that way?

                              2. I'm from Canada.

                                When living in Sri Lanka, there was a LOT of stuff I missed. It's only the last couple of years that imported food has really taken off. Prior to that, I missed cheese - there are only two shops in Colombo that I know of that sell imported cheese. Otherwise, you can buy the processed cheese food product or locally made cheese, neither of which I like. Mayo was really hit or miss - sometimes it was available, but mostly not. Which was the impetus behind me learning how to make my own mayo, and can no longer stand the store bought stuff. Sambal Oelik, which is a very nice Indonesian chilli paste that I loved with everything. One year when my sister and her family came for a visit, she brought me a few jars of my favourite brand.

                                The list goes on, really, but mostly, I made do and learned to adapt. I also learned how to cook Sri Lankan food properly courtesy of the Sri Lankan husband's mother. :)

                                In New Zealand, I missed being able to get the nice, fresh spices I got in Sri Lanka, and none of the chilli powders were as hot as Sri Lanka's. I also couldn't get a decent virgin coconut oil that I came to love so much in Sri Lanka. Couldn't get decent tamarind, either. On the other hand, we *could* get very very nice dairy products including cheeses and very very nice meats, including lamb which is so difficult to find in Sri Lanka. Good cooking chocolate was difficult to find - mostly it was compound chocolate, which was made with vegetable fat. Anything spicy, like hot sauces, were almost nonexistent - we like our food spicy.

                                Now we're in Singapore. I bring in some spices from Sri Lanka, like chilli powder - Sri Lankan chilli powder is the hottest I can find. But I can find decent cheese, tamarind, dairy products, meat, spices, and a whole host of other really really good food products. I still can't get sambal oelik, which is weird in a way since we're just a hop skip and a jump from Indonesia. We can get a decent range of vegetables, including a whole lot I'm wholly unfamiliar with, which means more play for me. :D I can get Himilayan black salt. At Mustafa's there's a HUGE range of curry powders and mixes, but I go from scratch for the most part, so that's less of a benefit for me than it is for others. I can get decent baking chocolate, which has me happy.

                                How and what I cook has changed so much since I left Canada ten years ago that I hardly remember what I can't get. I have this weird thing where my cooking varies considerably depending on which country we're living in at the time. I also cook far more Sri Lankan curries when the husband's parents/family are around, but that's pretty understandable given that's their cuisine of choice.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: LMAshton

                                  Such an interesting post! You've lived a varied life.

                                  What are your favorite brands of Sambal Oelek? Here in the US, Huy Fong brand (who also make Sriracha Sauce) make a good Sambal Oelek.

                                  Also, do you have a favorite brand of Sri Lanka chili powder?

                                  1. re: Pan

                                    Haha I don't think that it really comes in branded bags (or at least you wouldn't buy the supermarket stuff). When I was last in Colombo (2008), it was still very much more the developing world case of going to a local market for fresh ingredients.

                                    1. re: mugen

                                      I see. If you have a favorite vender, please let me know who it is and whether there's a way to reach them. Do they use paper or plastic to pack things, nowadays?

                                      1. re: mugen

                                        The supermarket stuff is actually very good quality. It's McCurrie at http://www.mccurrie.net/. Or Ma's. Because chilli powder is used so much, the bags (yes, plastic, just like you'd see in the west) are very fresh. And definitely of export quality.

                                        If you like, you can of course take your own dried chillis to a mill and get them ground for you. My mother in law used to do that, but now buys hers in a bag mostly. She still goes to the mill with her old dried coconuts to get them milled into coconut oil.

                                        We (the husband and I) buy our groceries at the supermarket mainly because there the prices are set. At the little shops, because I'm white, they try charging us 3-20x the price they'd charge locals and we just don't want to pay that. Well, unless we go with my mother in law or to a shop where my mother in law goes to and she previously tells them to give me a fair price. She can be pretty convincing. The husband, on the other hand, hates haggling - so not typical Sri Lankan.

                                      2. re: Pan

                                        DEFINITELY Huy Fong's Sambal Oelik. Hands down, they're the best I've ever had. I also love their sriracha, but sriracha (not their brand) I can get here. Odd.

                                        1. re: LMAshton

                                          That really is odd. You'd think someone in Indonesia would make better Sambal Oelek.

                                          What about the Sri Lanka chili powder? Any favorite brand or vendor?

                                          1. re: Pan

                                            I think you missed the part where I've had sambal oelik in Canada - Huy Fongs - but haven't been able to buy it in Sri Lanka, New Zealand, or Singapore. I'm sure there are very good sambal oeliks in Indonesia. I have no doubt about that at all. They're just not available where I am.

                                            About the brand - I answered it above.

                                            1. re: LMAshton

                                              No, I did get that, and thanks for the info about the Sri Lanka chili powder.

                                          2. re: LMAshton

                                            I definitely have to start cataloging the ingredients I buy. Last time I bought Sambal Oelek i ended up with a tall jar of red soury stuff that wasn't hot at all.
                                            I'll be looking for the Huy Fong brand next.

                                            1. re: Grunde

                                              It's definitely got chili in it. Let me know what you think of it.

                                      3. I am from Canada but living in Japan now. Most things are actually available but ridiculously expensive.

                                        I miss cheese. The cheese they use most here is bad processed cheese. Cheddar and Reggiano and other cheeses are available at foreign food sections, but quite expensive. Along these lines, good salami, sausages, olives, etc are all lesser quality and much more expensive.

                                        I miss salmon. Now there is tons of salmon available here, but I miss a large chunk of filet that I can pan fry or grill. The salmon here is tiny chunks of salmon cut at an odd angle. This is because the best part is taken for sushi before the rest is portioned. I have broken down once and bought a chunk of sushi salmon and grilled it. I could go to an actual fish monger and order a side of salmon or whatever, but as my Japanese is not yet good enough and I feel strange doing that and am scared of the price I have not yet done so.

                                        I miss different meat cuts. Most pork and beef are just sliced very thin. I would love a beef brisket or double pork chop or a nice thick steak. I would kill for a pork loin or a chunk of any roasting beef. Again, this is all theoretically available, but I would have no idea how to order it. Eventually I will figure it out.

                                        The one thing I was surprised with was the price of pork tenderloin. Japanese pork tenderloin is still pretty expensive, but I can get a relatively large pork tenderloin for $4, but most people don't buy them so I often am able to snag them for 50% off. I generally have 2 in my freezer at any given time,

                                        Produce is entirely different, but I am mostly ok with it. I miss things from time to time, like beets and brussel sprouts, but only once in awhile, and I have seen brussel spouts once, and I bought all the packages and used them for Christmas dinner :P

                                        I miss cheap fruit. In Canada, areas famous for things are cheap. For example, apples in collingwood are really really cheap. I am living in an area very famous for peaches, and instead of being cheap that means its $10 for 1 peach. It is also famous for grapes. 1 bunch of muscat grapes can be anywhere from $20-$80. Watermelon can be $20-$80 for one as well. Same with other melons. Ouch.

                                        At Christmas I missed eggnog a great deal, so I just made it myself and solved that problem. We were able to order turkey online, and had a pretty traditional dinner.

                                        I miss a large variety of potatos. They really only have a couple here, or only 2 at a given time anyways.

                                        I miss poutine a bit, but its probably good that I have had a break from it, not exactly healthy.

                                        I have found decent Thai and Korean restaurants here as well as a hamburger place and kebab place so I have not been missing anything like that.

                                        Definitely miss pho.

                                        When I go back to Canada in 2 weeks, for 3 weeks, I will miss many things here though. Cheap lunches and convenient 24 hour places like gyudon I will miss. If I am out and want a quick snack or lunch I will miss convenience stores actually being convenient. I will miss not having to tip as Silverjay mentioned. I will miss desserts and bread shops that are not painfully sweet.

                                        I lived in Australia for a year, and from there I miss being able to buy a really quite surprisingly good cappuccino from 7-11 for $1.

                                        I am sure there will be much more, but thats all I can think of at the moment.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: TeRReT

                                          Where in Japan are you?

                                          I think some of your issues can be resolved with better reading and speaking Japanese and maybe knowledge of your area. Butchers are butchers after all. And cheap salmon filets are pretty ubiquitous. Also, there are different fruit purveyors who specialize in those high-end domestic fruits, usually meant as gifts. But cheaper imported fruit is pretty easy to find and not horribly off in terms of North American value. It took me a couple of years of improved reading and speaking as well as knowing where to shop before I resolved some shopping issues living in Japan....Cheese however, is another story. Although things have gotten better in Tokyo- no doubt spurred on by growing interest in wine.

                                          And most definitely YES, Japanese convenience stores. NYC bodegas often have a similar offering and hours but horrible prices.

                                          1. re: Silverjay

                                            I am in okayama city in okayama prefecture. Pretty small city so not nearly as much as tokyo, but certainly I will get the courage to go to an actual butcher soon. I know the fishmonger I will target, need to find a good butcher.

                                            1. re: TeRReT

                                              I knew the moment you described your local fruit varieties that you were in Okayama. I agree about certain vegetables like beets and brussel sprouts. While you're right that cheese is a premium item in Japan, Okayama is known in the Chugoku region for being home to one of the better artisanal cheese makers in Japan.

                                              I'm located just down the way in Hiroshima, and I've been able to find many of those things you say are not available. But first, I'll say that living in Japan has made me more aware of seasonality and the great value of local products. I think living in this region of Japan being close the supply chain of products in the growing region from Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi prefectures, to Shikoku and Kyushu, I think I get more bang for my yen than I did living in NYC, not to mention better taste and quality. But you need to know where to find it. For me, supermarkets are a secondary source. I suppose I am one of the more fortunate ones to have family/relatives who are connected to local growers, or are growers themselves, that I've never had to buy rice, or that I get sackfuls of more great seasonal vegetables than I know what to do with. (I'm trying to convince one of them to grow beets).

                                              I suggest finding a restaurant supply market, like A-Price or a Gyomu-yo chain. I get my big hunks of meat at those places, usually imported and frozen. For better quality stuff, the meat guy online is a great resource in Japan. Since I don't know the markets in Okayama, I'm not sure what to tell you about finding hunks of salmon, but I've been able to find them at the markets that are operated by Aeon, more likely at their discount markets. And if you're more desperate for North American stuff, you can take the short trip to Hiroshima to got to Costco which is opening in March near the Shinkansen station.

                                              1. re: E Eto

                                                Ah yes I am also lucky, my fiancées family lives on Shikoku and someone is a rice farmer, maybe an uncle, and I have never had to pay for rice. Well, just the couple bucks to remove the husk.

                                                I have been to a-price here but did not look at the meat section at the time, will check out soon thanks.

                                                I will definitely check that Costco out when it opens. The aeon here is old and not so nice, we will get a new one in 2014. Ito yokado has some sort of chunk of beef that looks like I could roast it, I will try that soon too.

                                                Seasonal is definitely important here, and I have ridiculous amounts of citrus always as her family is from ehime. I buy at the grocery store when fruit is 50% or more off, otherwise I go to the local ja market.

                                                What cheese producer is here? I am unfamiliar with it.

                                        2. I'm from the US and currently live in Jerusalem but for a while was also in Dublin.

                                          The things I miss most at the moment - bagels, parsnips, a range of chilis and Indian food.

                                          For the most part, if you're willing to pay, you can get a really wide range of ingredients in Jerualem and Tel Aviv given the various immigrant populations. And situations like all of the guest workers from the Phillipeans and Thailand have definitely brought down the prices of a number of Asian groceries. Restaurants are more hit and miss, but again - if you can pay it's there. And for a treat it's not so expensive.

                                          To properly make a more diverse range of Mexican food though, there is a real limitation in access to various chilis. And while the ingredients are available to make many Indian style dishes - it's never been a cooking style I've done well. And for all the travel that Israelis do to India - the Indian restaurants that exist here are dreadful.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: cresyd

                                            Some member of the Jewish community from Cochin who now lives in Israel should open a really good restaurant. It sounds like they could really do well, what with all the Israelis who must miss the great food they ate when they were in India on vacation.

                                            1. re: Pan

                                              I've mentioned this on another thread - but as most Israelis go to India in their 20s and as backpackers looking to stretch their money as far as possible, the overwhelming attitude towards Indian food is that if it costs "restaurant money" then it's inauthentic/not worth it.

                                              In Jerusalem there used to be two Indian restaurants that I knew of (now just one) and both followed the model of being vegetarian and having a range of dishes they made every day, with minimal to no variation. Light on spices (as spicy food is not all that popular), and clearly cooked by someone who came back with a love of India more than a knowledge of an Indian cuisine.

                                              Tel Aviv has recently seen some growth of restuarants featuring dishes from Vietnam/Thailand - so perhaps the travel bug and the restaurant bug will one day properly cross over for a good Indian restaurant. But I don't have my hopes up.

                                          2. I work in S.Korea and miss a few things when I'm away from home/US:

                                            Summer corn (corn on the cob in Korea is very starchy/chewy; not as sweet, crunchy as back home)
                                            Bacon - in particular, Applewood smoked
                                            Tomatillos, green salsa, etc.
                                            Craft beers (Korean beer is notoriously insipid)
                                            Cliff bars
                                            Cheese (sliced provolone, asiago)

                                            When I'm back in the US I miss:

                                            Triangle Kimbap
                                            Pork belly
                                            Quail eggs - in any store, you can pick up a pack of boiled, shelled quail eggs simmered in a soy sauce marinade.
                                            Myulchi bokkum - these tiny dried fishes sauteed in a gochujang sauce
                                            Kabocha squash - they're everywhere in Korea all year round. Hard to find back home

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: tamagoji

                                              I forgot about tomatillos - need to add that to my list!

                                              1. re: tamagoji

                                                I love kabocha.

                                                Do you have a favorite green salsa brand? I spent a week in New Mexico a few years ago and absolutely loved New Mexican food. I bought some good products in Santa Fe, but unfortunately, they are used up. That was in a store that specialized in all things chili - all kinds of spicy sauces, bags of different kinds of chilis. Any of you have any idea which store I'm talking about?

                                                1. re: Pan

                                                  I think I've been to a similar type of store (Latin/South American foods), in Pittsburgh though. They made tortillas right there at the store and sold lots of little bottles of chili/hot sauces. I remember I was able to get a particular kind of corn flour to make arepas.

                                                  My favorite salsa verde was from Rick Bayless (Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde). I found it in my supermarket (Wegmans) before I moved to Korea. Holy smokes, it was really good. It looked super fresh and was delicious.

                                                2. re: tamagoji

                                                  My daughter moved to SK in September. She misses baking ingredients; apparently in her town it has been hard to find vanilla or vanilla bean, baking powder, and some spices. She mentioned that chocolate is cheap but of poor quality (we sent some).

                                                3. When I am traveling for long periods in Italy, France, England I tend to miss a good burger. Not a McDonalds/FF burger but more the kind you get at an average american restaurant. A *thick* juicy medium rare burger topped with american or cheddar cheese, sliced tomato and iceberg lettuce. Heinz ketchup a must. For some reason the European burgers I have tried when the craving hits just don't taste the same.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                                    Have you tried Hippopotamus or Buffalo Grill? I'm just not a burger person (even at McDo) but these two put out a burger that looks as American as anything I've seen at Chili's or similar - -sometimes even with cheddar cheese.

                                                    I had a bite of the burger one of my dining companions ordered at Hippopotamus - it was tasty and juicy, for sure.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      I have had a burger at Buffalo Grill in Paris and while a good burger it is not American. I have never been to Hippopotamus- my local friends refuse to go, saying that it is the worst service anywhere.

                                                      I pretty much have given up on finding a truly American burger because, well it's not America! I really think it has to do with the fact the ground beef tastes different and European Heinz doesn't taste like *my* Heinz. But that doesn't mean I don't miss it…

                                                      1. re: foodieX2

                                                        I think that's the biggest thing -- the beef tastes much different here.

                                                        Hippopotamus isn't ever our first choice, (but we all make choices out of necessity -- Sunday afternoon on the way home from vacation, etc., etc.)....but the service at our local one is very warm, friendly, and efficient. Like most chains, I think it swings wildly depending on which location and who happens to be working.

                                                        I honestly don't notice a difference in Heinz...but then I go through one bottle a year....but it has to be Heinz.

                                                  2. As an American living in Moscow, there isn't much that can't be found for any price with diligent searching, although timing can be iffy, e.g., American cranberries have a knack for appearing the week _after_ Thanksgiving (the local ones are smaller and don't pop). Things I routinely wish were more cheaply and readily available include sweet potatoes, black beans, leafy greens, peanut butter and asparagus. I also love to bake, and a few distinctly American ingredients have to be lugged from the States -- corn syrup, sweetened coconut and molasses.

                                                    Things I would miss if I left: after several years, I have learned to love Russian food, but most of my favorites would be easily replicable anywhere with beets, buckwheat, mayonnaise, etc. -- although the local McDonalds make ridiculously good wedge fries that I don't eat often, but I like knowing they're there. The bigger blow would be the loss of restaurants serving Caucasian (esp. Georgian khachapuri, a type of cheese bread) and Central Asian (esp. plov, a lamb-based version of paella) cuisine. I would also terribly miss markets heaped with fresh and fairly inexpensive dried fruit and nuts, and expensive but quality produce (pomegranates, persimmons) from the same regions.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: Grechka

                                                      Thanks for that great post! Do you have any favorite dried fruit or nut vendors? Do you get those mostly at supermarkets or farmers' markets?

                                                      1. re: Pan

                                                        There are a couple of big indoor markets in central-ish Moscow (I go to one called Danilovsky) that are more expensive than most places, but I generally find the quality upgrade big enough to justify it to myself, and I can sample before deciding whether to buy. Moreover, I do have a handful of favorite vendors who certainly put on a good show of giving me discounts, and at least I know and like them well enough that if they are ripping me off, I'm okay with it as long as they're keeping the extra for themselves and not passing it to some shady middleman.

                                                        While there are definitely vendors who show up only when they have something local and seasonal (the pumpkins are particularly impressive -- I always half the sugar called for in my Thanksgiving pie recipe), there's a permanent crowd (although I suspect a very limited number of underlying distributors) that increasingly sells imported produce alongside stuff from the "near abroad." (This morning, for example, my buddy offered a choice of persimmons from Azerbaijan, Israel and Spain.) Other things at the market that I buy less often include meat, fish, spices, an array of Georgian products about which I could write a whole separate rhapsodic post, pretty much any pickled vegetable or fruit you can imagine, etc. Oh, and if you ever find yourself there (or in Central Asia), be sure and try the highly addictive cashews covered in honey glaze and sesame seeds (another thing I'd have to learn to make if I leave).

                                                        I have another favorite fruit & vegetable seller whose stand is much more convenient and offers a good price/quality tradeoff, except that we've built up such a good relationship over the years that she insists on giving me ridiculous discounts, and I can't in good conscience continue to buy from her when I'm sure she must lose money on the transactions. So now I just stop by to talk and trade her my American baked goods for the Russian/Georgian food her sister makes for me....While Moscow generally earns its reputation for dourness, its produce sellers are an almost universally friendly lot.

                                                      2. re: Grechka

                                                        I am an American living in Moscow too!

                                                        Although I do appreciate being able to find almost everything here that I miss back home, I hate the prices! For example, mangoes, which are my favourite fruit are 400 rubles a kg! I still buy it though...just rarely.

                                                        I like to bake too and was wondering....have you found pure vanilla extract here? I have only found vanilin or vanilla sugar and I really dislike it.

                                                        I adore Russian food but I absolutely love the Georgian and Uzbek food here. Plov is perhaps one of my favourite foods ever. I really like Russian fast food as weird as that sounds. Kroshka kartoshka and teremok will always have special places in my heart.

                                                        1. re: bringmeback

                                                          I tend to bring enormous bottles of Penzey's vanilla extract from the States, but I once saw it in Eliseevksy on Tverskaya (which means other branches of the Alye Parusa chain may have it as well). Vanilla beans are a lot easier to find -- I've seen them at Perekrestok Zeleny, among other places -- so you can also go the DIY route....Agreed on ghastly prices and on Teremok, although I haven't had a Kroshka Kartoshka in about 10 years. (Back then I had a friend who loved their Korean cabbage potato so much she kept ordering it even though she got food poisoning every time.)

                                                          Incidentally, I am moving back to the US in a few weeks after 4 years of accumulating all sorts of miscellaneous kitchen stuff that's not worth it to take with me. If you might be interested and if we can figure out some non-sketchy way to exchange contact info, I'd be happy to bequeath some of it to a fellow Chowhounder. (Especially since there's a decent chance we already know each other!)

                                                          1. re: Grechka

                                                            I've seen vanilla beans (I love Perekrestok Zeleny and go there wayyy too much!) but I have no clue how to make vanilla and am lazy, so I'll buy some extract when I make my way back to the States.

                                                            Lol, when I mention Kroshka Kartoshka to my American friends or my mom, they don't understand what the big deal is about a potato and some toppings.

                                                            And that would be great if you want to give some of your stuff to me! I'll be here for awhile (my visa just got renewed for 3 years). I guess there is no private message function on here, at least i didn't see one...so if you want, you can email me at terminallyvain[AT]gmail.com

                                                      3. Well, I feel down-market here, because what I missed when I lived in Okinawa were red bell peppers and big fat, thick- walled stuffable green bell peppers. The only peppers we could get were small and thin walled. Now, of course, I wish I could buy those here in California.

                                                        Also, Mentos (which don't even come from my country). When we came home on leave, I bought a bunch at LAX.

                                                        Also, for some reason, there we couldn't get white wine vinegar. However, we did have coin sized oreo wafers without the stuffing. We loved those, for our tea parties, but no such thing is available here in Hmmurica.

                                                        And now that I am home, I miss Orion (The Beer of Beers)

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: RosePearl

                                                          Some of the things I miss are down-market in Malaysia, too. I haven't checked lately, but I believe sauces you can buy in jars in stores are not expensive there.

                                                        2. For the last six years I have done a good bit of traveling through Dubai, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, and Afghanistan.

                                                          I miss good bacon.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                              My friend has to travel to Dubai and Saudi all the time and all he talks about, or rather complains about, is not being able to drink beer. However, he seems to be smitten with camel meat as a replacement for pork. Although, according to him, it tastes like moist turkey.

                                                              1. re: Silverjay

                                                                I find smoked goose to be a "less objectionable" bacon replacement. Though where I am, there are enough Christians and Russians to keep various pork traditions easily available.

                                                                1. re: cresyd

                                                                  It is just not the same. The first morning after getting home from these trips I always fry up a bunch of extra thick cut bacon with some eggs. Often times I will eat my breakfast with a great beer...I love America.

                                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                                    No, it's definitely not the same. In Jerusalem there's enough of a Christian/foreign population to make bacon available, but a few years ago I found a Russian butcher who basically breaks down his own pigs/makes his own bacon - and that was a revelation.

                                                            2. I'm Canadian, was living in India for a year and a half and now the Czech Republic for almost 2 years. From Canada I miss:

                                                              Bagels, Sockeye Salmon; Good cuts of beef (in CZ you only get goulash cut, Svitskova (ie: translates to "good cut", not really) or short ribs), Lamb, Seafood in general, Kraft Dinner (guilty pleasure), and Clamato juice.

                                                              From India I miss: truly flavourful dahl dishes, but we make them at home often, samosas, chat that's safe to eat for whitey, and peshwari gobi.

                                                              What I'll miss when we leave: oustanding CZ beers, Moravian Punch @ Christmas (hot mulled wine based on a local recipe), Medvedi Cesnek (Bear's Garlic, the best spring green in the world), extremely well priced Austrian white wines (30 mins drive away), Austrian asperagus in the spring and the explosive selection of pork products available everywhere and in every form known... except bacon, go figure.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: vanderb

                                                                Beef. In Canada I could get really really good quality meat, pretty much any cut I wanted. In Sri Lanka, when you go to a beef stall, you see a hunk of beef hanging by a hook from the ceiling coated in flies. And you point to the beef, they cut off a hunk, and at home, you have to wash it so thoroughly before you cook it. The quality is just terrible compared to the beef in Canada. And New Zealand and Singapore. I missed good quality meat in Sri Lanka.

                                                              2. I'm from the US but spent most of the last 3 years in Beijing. Things I missed the most:

                                                                Big, fat roasting chickens – Most chickens in Chinese markets are much scrawnier and tougher. They seem intended for making soup.

                                                                Beef cuts - China is a pork-eating country so the beef selection at the market is limited. You could always find beef shank and questionable-looking ground beef but no pot roast, short rib, or any of the steak cuts.

                                                                Ovens – I baked bread and roasted meats in a tiny countertop toaster oven for three years. That thing gave good service, size notwithstanding.

                                                                Cheetos – Cheetos in China are a cruel trick. The bag looks the same but the texture is all wrong, much airier than the real thing. That orange cheese powder is replaced by weird seasoning blends with anise and five spice flavors

                                                                Peas - Chinese peas are starchy and hard. If I had had a bag of Green Giant frozen peas I would have hoarded it like gold.

                                                                Spaghettios – I have no defense or explanation for this one

                                                                Creamy things – soups, gravies, pot pies, etc.

                                                                Taco Bell – There were nights when I would have lucid dreams about eating a crunch wrap supreme.

                                                                Lunch meat – Boring old sliced turkey… they don't have it.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                  The peas in India sound about the same as the peas you experienced in China. We smuggled in small amounts of immediate use veggies from Kuala Lumpur when we visited, the quality was much higher IMO.

                                                                  No oven in our place in India either, tried a weird microwave convection contraption that caused no end of grief. Ended up buy a cheap BBQ and grilled up lots of food on the weekend for use throughout the week. We are very happy to have an oven in the Czech Republic.

                                                                  1. re: vanderb

                                                                    What's it like buying meat and other groceries in India? Are there a lot of religiously segregated markets?

                                                                    1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                      The western style stores in Bangalore did not have any religious affiliations that were obvious. We had Spar which carried most all types of animal protein and a couple of higher end expat places that sold pork products, but not any beef. The only butchers selling beef were obviously either Muslim or Christian owned but the quality was so poor it was not worth buying. We stuck to chicken and goat, from time to time fish; but that was also quite hit and miss.

                                                                      Meat in general was a gamble as the cold chain is not well maintained in the places we visited in India. Definitely a good place to veer towards the vegetarian end of the spectrum. Or do as neighbours did and smuggle beef in their luggage as a part of any/all trips to Europe.

                                                                      1. re: vanderb

                                                                        Worst food poisoning in my life was after a hamburger in India! In fact, became vegetarian shortly thereafter, for the next 25 years. Even now, when we return to India, I revert to vegetarian, unless eating at a family member's home, where I trust the food chain and refrigeration chain.

                                                                  2. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                    What is it about the siren song of Taco Bell.....sigh. I do miss that.

                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                      I have no idea, but I've always missed it when living abroad, and no here in the US, I almost never eat there. Figure that out.

                                                                  3. During my first tour in Germany, I severly missed potato chips, sour cream, Doritos, tossed salad, and beef steak.

                                                                    Upon my return to the States, I missed potato dumplings, veal, white asparagus, blue trout, whole deep fried carp, and beer. Especially the beer. Decent tasting beer that did not cost an arm and a leg.

                                                                    In Japan, I missed coffee. To the extent where I went through caffine withdrawl. And the cost of european wine was prohibitive. Which explains my intro to the wonderful wines of Australia.

                                                                    What do I continue to miss? German beer, nigiri sushi in pairs, drinkable cheap wine and champagne, restaurants that don't rush you, Weinerwald chickens, and all styles of european baked goods.

                                                                    1. I'm originally from India, living in the USA for a couple decades now. I really miss all the luscious varieties of mangoes. The imported ones here are stringy and thick-skinned by comparion.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Turmericginger

                                                                        I used to think the mangoes I had in Canada were terrific. Then I experienced Sri Lankan mangoes. Same with bananas and papayas and pineapple. The ones I had in Canada were fine at the time, but after experiencing the really good stuff in Sri Lanka, I realize that the Canadian ones are completely flavourless by comparison.

                                                                        1. re: LMAshton

                                                                          Malaysian bananas are wonderful, but they just don't export too well. Bananas are a fruit that really has to be picked ripe to be really good. The bananas we get in the US, outside of banana-growing areas, are awful. They pick them when they're weeks and weeks underripe, so they have a fighting chance of not rotting in transit by sea, but they never really ripen, have a mealy texture, and upset my stomach.

                                                                          1. re: LMAshton

                                                                            Every year from May to July I live off Pakistani mangoes bought by the crate. Pure bliss.

                                                                        2. Diet Coke. Coke Lite just doesn't do it for me. I don't make it to Europe much, but when I do I would gladly kill for a Diet Coke.

                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                          1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                            The firs time I found diet Coke in a grocery store in India, I danced in the aisle, bought every single can, hoarded them in the hotel room and drank one, warm, each day. Bliss.

                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                              Did the same thing in India the first time we found Diet A&W Rootbeer... hoarded it like a precious metal and kept it locked in the pantry. Good times, good times.

                                                                              1. re: vanderb

                                                                                A&W Rootbeer! I haven't had that since I left Canada. You've just reminded me how much I miss it. :(

                                                                                1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                  Sorry didn't mean to do that to you... but if it helps I can't get it here in the Czech Republic at all, so I'm in the boat with you.

                                                                                  1. re: vanderb

                                                                                    *laughs* No worries. It's not like I *need* it. :D

                                                                                    1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                      Found Canada Dry ginger ale on a trip to Prague last week... manna from heaven, haven't had it in ages.

                                                                                      Many restaurants/bars will show Canada Dry on the menu here but they never actually have it and I get suckered every time. Schweppes and Kinley ginger ales are available but they are not the same as Canada Dry for a homesick Canuk.

                                                                                      1. re: vanderb

                                                                                        Have you ever had ginger beer? It's not actually alcoholic. It's similar to a ginger ale but with way more kick. It's ruined me for ginger ale.

                                                                                        1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                          It's hard to find good ginger beer in Atlantic Canada, another thing to add to the miss list.

                                                                                          1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                            I had ginger beer with lunch today and have enjoyed it the past 3 years living abroad, but it doesn't replace ginger ale for me.

                                                                                2. re: pine time

                                                                                  When my husband and I travel, the topic of what foods from home we're craving always comes up, no matter how great the foods abroad are. We live in Canada, in a small city that has substantial Italian, Lebanese and Vietnamese communities. Accordingly, we often crave pho, noodles of all kinds, wood oven fired thin crust pizzas and assertively garlicky Lebanese mezes. Personally, I am a lover of chiles. Bland dishes beg for a little heat. We often bring along a black pepper grinder on vacations, but I don't bring hot sauces or chiles, because I want to appreciate the cooking styles from around the world. Condiments I crave are black pepper, Dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, fish sauce and Sriracha.

                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                    In Ireland, I missed good, red tomatoes. Also wanted to make potato salad since my Irish relatives had never tried it. Had to substitute yogurt for the sour cream.

                                                                                3. Allan Benton's Applewood (or Cob) Smoked Bacon.


                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                    Two more items came to mind, though I cover one, when I travel:

                                                                                    Unrefined, raw turbanado sugar (I now carry that in checked baggage). The UK is offering this in many more places, than ten years ago.

                                                                                    International Delight "French Vanilla" coffee "creamer." Tried flying with those in the little canisters, but it did not go well, and for whatever reason, they do not taste the same in the little canisters, as opposed to a larger, refrigerated bottle.


                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                      ugh, Bill, you disappoint me -- I know there's nothing wrong with your palate, but yet you use that stuff? *shudder*

                                                                                      We all have to have our vices, I suppose....


                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        Actually, I do.

                                                                                        Half-n-half will do in a pinch, but I really like the French Vanilla - something just clicks for me.

                                                                                        Sorry to disappoint.


                                                                                  2. Born and raised in the UK, but a couple years ago I moved to Canada for love. It's a lot of the silly things I miss and every now and again I get my parents to post me it.

                                                                                    Jaffa cakes, hobnobs and most recently, chip shop curry sauce.

                                                                                    The chocolate just isn't as good here, at least not without paying through your teeth for it.

                                                                                    Ribena. By far my favourite cordial (or squash as I always called it). I used to hoard a bottle in my room so my sister couldn't drink it.

                                                                                    And I realise this is not a particular food, but I greatly miss a brit style pub. I've been in one since I moved and that was in Charlottetown on PEI during a visit.

                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Musie

                                                                                      I'm not even British, and have never lived there -- and I miss Jaffas and Hobnobs (plain chocolate, please)

                                                                                      And Branston pickle, and HP sauce, and good tea...and a rather inexplicable addition to prawn crisps.

                                                                                      (It's probably better for my health, however, that Jaffas and Hobnobs and Crunchie bars are an occasional treat, rather than something I can have to hand every day...)

                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        Before I moved to Canada I posted a bag of prawn cocktail crisps to my now husband. He didn't much like them! I do think I should have sent him a brand called Skips... I now want a bag of them.

                                                                                        I wouldn't mind a bag of pizza flavoured cheetos, but I've only ever seen them in Greece.

                                                                                      2. re: Musie

                                                                                        We found Jaffa cakes exactly once in Sri Lanka. Of course we bought a box, having no idea whether we'd like it or not. We loved it. So now we're going to hunt them down in Singapore if we can.

                                                                                        And Ribena? Definitely stash-worthy. :)

                                                                                        1. re: Musie

                                                                                          Have you looked about a bit? In Denver, just up from my house, there was a great British shop - sort of a tea shop, a birck-a-brack shop, but also a grocery - in Denver, CO, USA.

                                                                                          Along with Jaffa cakes, they had maybe three "clotted creams," orange barley water, and so much more. Did not look for Hobnobs, so cannot say. Plus, it was run by the two most charming, and very British ladies, who were the most gracious and welcoming people, with whom I have dealt. Very proper, but such ladies.

                                                                                          Good luck,


                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                            what's painful is having to cough up US$5 for a box of tea that says "Special promo price -- just 80p!"

                                                                                            (that was about 10 years ago for a box of Typhoo...but that's a pretty normal markup, by the time you count duties, taxes, freight, and profit for everyone in the distribution chain)

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              Now, I never promised a "great price." I never bothered to look at my Robinson's Orange Barley Water. I knew that I wanted it, and had it available (only about 8 blocks away too), so I bought it. Same for the clotted cream, and then, the little Bulldog statues. The ladies knew that if they had new Bulldogs, I would buy them...

                                                                                              Of course, if in London (not the cheapest place on Earth), I never figure in any exchange rate. I pretend that the little £'s are but $'s, and let AMEX figure it out, a month later...


                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                where you find that you were off by 60% and it wasn't in your favor.

                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842


                                                                                                  I am missing something important here, but not sure what it is.

                                                                                                  I just buy, what I want, where I find it, and do not fixate on any exchange differences.

                                                                                                  Help me out, please,


                                                                                        2. I just got back from 3 weeks in Ecuador. By the end I was really missing whole wheat anything--bread, cereal. I got sick of corn and rice.

                                                                                          1. We moved from the NYC area to central FL. I would kill for a fresh, crusty, NY Hard Roll.

                                                                                            1. I live in Tokyo now (originally from the U.S. -California) and I seriously miss In-n-Out Burgers!
                                                                                              thick cut applewood smoked bacon
                                                                                              dry Spanish chorizo
                                                                                              thick meat cuts - like someone else said, you can request it from the butcher, but I don't speak enough Japanese to have tried ordering it yet!
                                                                                              tomatillos (to make chile verde - also the pork butt, see above)
                                                                                              half & half
                                                                                              good cheese that doesn't cost an arm & a leg ;-)

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: curlscj

                                                                                                <<thick cut applewood smoked bacon>>

                                                                                                I still live in the US, and all too often miss that, as well. We purchase it on-line, so that we have it in our home, but with our travels, well... let's just say that we are more often disappointed, than pleased.


                                                                                                1. re: curlscj

                                                                                                  Spanish chorizo is available now in the U.S. It comes in a Criovac bag and that makes it usually able to pass thru customs in many countries. Check into someone in the states sending you some. It's not expensive, so if you lose it, not that big a deal....

                                                                                                2. In the UK, I miss:
                                                                                                  Tomatoes - UK tomatoes are invariably the 'Moneymaker' strain. They are described by my Spanish buddy as 'pool balls' - perfectly round, perfectly red and perfectly tasteless.
                                                                                                  Ice cream - real ice cream is comparatively rare outside of the specialty freezer in the supermarkets. Most ice cream served up is all wind and water - but things have improved a lot in the last 10 years.
                                                                                                  Ice - in most pubs, only a sliver of one or two ice cubes will be found bobbing in water in a plastic pineapple-shaped ice bucket at the end of the bar.
                                                                                                  Good coffee - again, things have improved a lot in the last 10 years, but instant coffee is still common in diners
                                                                                                  Fresh Soft fruit - peaches, cherries, strawberries, raspberries blueberries etc. are available but are expensive. Lots of diners still serve tinned fruit - but again, things are getting better
                                                                                                  Fresh fish and shellfish - if I ever get served crabsticks, instead of real crab again, I will scream.

                                                                                                  In the US I miss (and if you come across them you might find them interesting to try)
                                                                                                  Marmite - you either love it or hate it
                                                                                                  UK baked beans - same as the US version but without pork fat and masses of sugar
                                                                                                  Good bread - again, its difficult to find without masses of sugar in it
                                                                                                  Teapot-made tea - my Mexican pool guy didn't know what my teapot was. No tea from bags for me thanks.
                                                                                                  Single malt whisky - blended whisky is the norm
                                                                                                  Biscuits - the US range of cookies is superb, but I still have yearnings for McVities digestives, custard creams and ginger biscuits.
                                                                                                  Good hard cheese - bring on the Stilton, Wensleydale, Caerphilly and cheddar

                                                                                                  1. So, I've not spent much time abroad, but even two weeks in China was sufficient to get addicted to Jian Bing. Seriously, I think I'd camp out at a restaurant if they served it here. They're really not well suited for being made at home, but I still might try eventually...

                                                                                                    Rugalach from Marzipan bakery in Jerusalem. I've only had them once, but they made a very strong impression.

                                                                                                    When I was in LA, I missed good Jewish deli food (corn beef, rye, blitzes. Yeah, LA has them, but even the famous delis were horribly disappointing). Now back in Cleveland, I miss good Boba (we've got it, but it's just not been as good...), the ridiculous variety of Asian food (we've got good asian food... but only some regions), and the Persian food (haven't seen that at all here).

                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: celesul

                                                                                                      The Marzipan rugulah is the only food product people from the US ask me to bring home when I visit.

                                                                                                      1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                        Are they really that good? I've had Marzipan's challah a couple of times and found it almost nauseatingly sweet and vanilla flavored -- although that might work in a rugeleh, I guess. Maybe I will go pick one up when I walk the dog.

                                                                                                        1. re: almond tree

                                                                                                          It's a very rich/dense consistency and flavor opposed to a more cakey variety that I grew up with. So if rich sticky gooey chocolate isn't how you like your rugulah - then these won't fit other cravings.

                                                                                                          I get that their sweet challah is quite sweet - but it's my favorite to use when making stuffing.

                                                                                                          1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                            Well, looks like I'll have to try one in the name of scientific research :).

                                                                                                            1. re: almond tree

                                                                                                              Of all of the times "try it, you might like it" has been said - I think this has the potential to be one of minimal pain. :)

                                                                                                      2. re: celesul

                                                                                                        Which jian bing did you have: the kind that's stretched out of dough and shallow-fried with egg, or the one that's made of batter spread onto a griddle and filled with stuff?

                                                                                                        Your post also reminded me of rou bing, fried pork and cabbage filled pastries sold in the street in Beijing. They were a surefire way to induce a stomachache but they sure were tasty.

                                                                                                        1. re: celesul

                                                                                                          Went to school for a semester in Prague and often travel to Europe..... when there I miss Rootbeer sweet/sour/bitter rootbeer! Canadian Cadbury bars! In Prague, living on student wages I couldn't afford Soya Sauce or Brown Sugar - God I missed those!

                                                                                                          Here in Canada - I miss great bread - flavor buns that have texture and give with fresh cultured butter, proper pretzels - not the crap they sell here, although a little sandwich shop has opened up here with European pretzels and soup, real wonderful amazing soup proper swiss soups made fresh daily. Fried Cheese Czech style with real tartar sauce (not the jarrred crap), Yoghurt that does not slosh but thick creamy yoghurt with tart cherries, cream that has flavor, the European torten with lots of nuts and narry a sight of shortening or lard. I can go and on. Can't wait for my trip to Zurich and Berlin this summer!

                                                                                                          1. re: Leofric

                                                                                                            In Berlin you'll find a lot of those things, but also more foods from the "Global South" - certainly soya sauce!

                                                                                                        2. Hamburgers for sure. Most of them here are dry, deep fried and/or come from a weird box boldly proclaiming something like "20% meat patties". Over ten years and I still have yet to find a proper one.

                                                                                                          Certain basics - baking soda, cream of tartar (can occasionally find some of both).

                                                                                                          Lime. Anything lime flavored, except limes. Just not a popular flavor, I guess.

                                                                                                          What I'd miss - maybe Rivella.

                                                                                                          1. Ice is the first thing I thought of! Why no ice available in Europe? (Where I've traveled anyway)...bagels..sadly, Tim Hortons

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: burlgurl

                                                                                                              I hate ice; suppose a lot of people in European countries feel the same, or feel they are being cheated paying for it.

                                                                                                              Wonder if there are any good bagels nowadays in Europe? I've seen very few good ones outside Mile End in Montréal; evidently there are similar good ones in Brooklyn?

                                                                                                              Why on earth Tim Horton's?

                                                                                                              1. re: burlgurl

                                                                                                                Good bagels can be found in Prague, Vienna and Copenhagen based on recent visits, although they tend to be lighter in texture compared to real Montreal bagels.