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Sep 23, 2013 12:40 PM

What do you appreciate when you come home from international trip?

Im not going to lie, being in europe i feel a lot of things could be better socially and food wise here. what are some if the things you know are better about your area/ country? What do you appreciate about your hometown/ the US in terms of food culture, eating habits ...even general cultural attitudes when you've been abroad?

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  1. that food is really reallyl cheap in US compare to rest of the World. Quality is a different story.

    I do have to say that pizza in NYC is better than pizza in yes, I do appreciate that. Also the bagels I guess..I once had bagels in Korea and they were terrible and didn't like those egg bagels in Montreal.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Monica

      It's fine not to like Montreal bagels but they are not egg bagels :)

      1. re: Monica

        WTF is a Montreal egg bagel? I'm a Montrealer.

        1. re: mtlcowgirl

          Montreal bagels contain eggs while NYC bagles don't.

          1. re: Monica

            You can get an egg bagel in NYC and probably in Montreal but most of the bagels in both places are NOT egg bagels.

            1. re: Motosport

              Montreal style bagels, like Fairmont, use eggs. They just don't call it an "egg bagel" like they do here in the US...I happen to enjoy both a lot.

              1. re: Motosport

                I guess I should have worded differently but it is my understanding, bagel recipes in Montreal contain eggs while NYC bagels don't. I know I can get egg bagels in NYC though they are not that common at all anymore.

          2. re: Monica

            I've not found food to be particularly 'cheap' in the US. Can you elaborate please?

            1. re: c oliver

              I'll second that, I can usually find much better food at cheaper price outside of the US. A lot of that has to do with the strength of the dollar but still. Still give me 300 Bhat (10 USD) in Thailand and I can easily eat three excellent prepared meals in one day.

              1. re: RetiredChef

                Another way to look at it though, is as a proportion of average income. A whole chicken or package of ground pork costs the same in Beijing as it does in Chicago. But of course it's a lot more expensive to someone making the average Beijing salary of $9000 per year. I'm guessing that 300 bhat for food per day is also a lot for the average Thai person to spend.

                I absolutely think that food is cheap here, sometimes in an absolute sense (compared to Europe) sometimes in a proportionate sense (compared to Asia). Being able to exchange less labor for more calories is a very basic metric for standard of living, so God bless economies of scale, and big American agribusiness.

                1. re: RealMenJulienne

                  "A whole chicken or package of ground pork costs the same in Beijing as it does in Chicago."

                  This is not necessarily true. A pound of beef in Malaysia, can cost $15-20 USD, as opposed to $5-7 USD here in the US for the same cut and quality. It goes by supply -- a whole chicken in an area where chickens are not raised and have to be brought in is going to cost more than in an area where chickens are readily available.

                  1. re: RealMenJulienne

                    "A whole chicken or package of ground pork costs the same in Beijing as it does in Chicago."

                    This just isn't true, not even if you're buying cuts from the same steer but in different countries. Where the food product, whether it be beef, chicken, milk, or parsley, is raised, how it is raised, what the prep costs in making it ready for market, how far it has to be ported to reach market, AND what sort of government subsidies and/or tariffs, as well as which governments levy them along the way, ALL come into play along the way. All of which means that a whole chicken or a package of ground pork are NOT the same price in Beijing or Chicago any day of the week! ,-)

                    As for big American agribusiness, there are lots of countries and people who hate it with a passion because of its role in genetically modified foods.

                    Just sayin'....

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Um, what. If you take the RMB price of a whole chicken in Beijing, and convert it to USD, it comes out to about $5, which is what it is at my neighborhood grocery in Chicago. What I'm trying to say is that the US price is effectively much cheaper because average incomes here are much higher. This is due to American food industry economies of scale as well as the subsidies you mention.

                      I stand firmly on the side of big agribusiness and I believe GMOs are the future. Until the human race learns to curb its overbreeding instinct the only way to avoid disaster is to keep the food production curve ahead of the population curve.

                      1. re: RealMenJulienne

                        There've been plenty of discussions about GMO/Agribusiness on Chowhound, but please let's not make this thread one of them. It's a subject that really is likely to go better in a thread that's about that, rather than taking over one that isn't. Thanks.

              1. re: LindaWhit

                I used to travel for work a lot. Sometimes gone for 6 weeks at a time. Eating out every meal gets old (and fattening). I love coming home and cooking in my own kitchen.

                1. re: boyzoma

                  And I've not traveled a lot by any stretch of anyone's imagination, but the few times I did, I very much looked forward to being able to chop, peel, and stir.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    My overseas travel experiences have been fairly modest. But I always have browsed at whatever food markets I've come across. And have always wished I had a kitchen available in order to try the interesting items available!

                    1. re: meatn3

                      As I noted on the Wegman's thread (I think on the Chains board), visiting new-to-me supermarkets is something I *love* to do. Having a kitchen available to cook some of the goodies I find would be a major bonus!

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        We've done AirBNB travel a few times with access to a kitchen, so I've been able to do that. It's fun. :)

                      2. re: meatn3

                        If it fits your schedule and lifestyle, renting or exchanging gives you the pleasure of cooking and also saves a ton of money over eating out three meals a day.

                        1. re: meatn3

                          One of my favourite things to do in a new-to-me country is to go to the grocery store and see what's available that I don't recognize and don't have a clue what to do with. Although I still find those things in countries I've lived in for a couple or eight years, although not as frequently.

                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      I agree! I get bored of eating out quite quickly, even if they are International delights, and long for the kitchen, my own space and my own food. Before I leave, I usually try to stock the fridge and freeze with foods I will definitely want to make when I get home so I don't even have to worry about a long grocery store trip.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Completely agree Linda! Its nice to cook your own meals. I have gotten to the point where I prefer to stay places that have kitchen availability.

                        That and of course my own bathroom. Public restrooms in many European countries/cities leave a lot to be desired.

                        1. re: foodieX2

                          Guess we've been lucky. We've frequently stayed in places in the US and abroad where we went "down the hall" to the bathroom. Never had a problem.

                          1. re: foodieX2

                            Bathrooms in some places in some third world Asian countries are... Well, you just avoid them if at all possible unless you're going to have an accident.

                          2. Just got back from 6 weeks in London. Loved it! But I was dying for a cup of coffee in which I could add my own cream. I don't want a flat white. I don't want a latte. I don't want instant. I just want a cup of coffee... :)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lbs

                              I live in the UK now, and have been out of the US for nearly a decade, but nothing tells me I'm "home" like the neat line of jugs of half and half, whole milk, 2% milk, fat-free milk, and soy milk at a coffee shop.

                              1. re: pine time

                                Where do you travel to that you can't get a salad and/or fresh vegetables?

                                1. re: ferret

                                  We spend a lot of time in Africa and South America and we are careful about eating fresh fruits and vegetables that can't be peeled. I'm guessing that's where Pine Time hangs out, too.

                                  We get home, I practically inhale salad for a week or more.

                                  Plus in a lot of places outside the U.S., salad is at most some very pale iceberg, some tasteless 'toes, and maybe some onion.

                                  Ironically, I've gotten sick only twice. Once in Cuba (the water used to make the powdered eggs) and once in Peru (peas cooked to mush; thought that would be OK but apparently not). And when I say sick, I mean days and days of agony!

                                  1. re: Just Visiting

                                    We visit Brazil every year and eat all the fruits and vegetables we want. From farmers markets and the grocery. The only time I got sick was salmonella-tainted American peanut butter that didn't get removed from the shelf. Our selection is huge and we've found that to be true in Europe also.

                                    1. re: Just Visiting

                                      Hmmmm, I've been to South America 5 times over the last 2 years. With the exception of very southern Chili and Bolivia, I have never had a problem getting plenty of fruits or vegetable there. Currently about 18% of all fruits sold in America is grown in South America.

                                      And where are you that you are worried about eating them. I have eating everything from street vendor bought to store bought to picking it off the trees and eating it and haven't gotten sick? If there was something in the fruit or water certainly people in the US would be getting sick since they import so much.

                                    2. re: ferret

                                      That's what I tend to miss when travelling.

                                      You can generally get *some* vegetables while travelling, but restaurant meals generally contain a lot less vegetables than I'm used to eating, and not as well prepared.

                                      I was recently in Germany, and I quite enjoyed the food, but it seemed that veggies were definitely an afterthought in most of the restaurants.

                                      So by the time I get home, I want good salads with home made dressing, lots of simply prepared but good vegetables.

                                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                        My daughter said the same about the vegetable prominence in Germany during her time working there this summer. Aside from spice, she was missing sizeable portions of fresh vegetables. Perhaps peculiar to her area, but interesting that you had the same experience - she, too, generally loved the foodways.

                                        To be fair, I think most restaurant meals treat vegetables as an afterthought. Or, worse, as a skimpy and precious garnish that amounts to a mouthful.

                                      2. re: ferret

                                        India. Even in upscale places, uncooked vegetables/fruits are suspect--I've gotten quite sick several times. Can only eat things with a thick peel (think bananas) which I peel myself. Cooked vegetables there are delicious, but cooked to death, usually.

                                        Plain old iceberg lettuce looks lovely when I get back home!

                                        1. re: ferret

                                          A nice green salad isn't terribly common on a Chinese lazy susan. At the same time, one of the best salads I've ever eaten was at a Northern Chinese restaurant in Beijing- peanuts, capsicum, radishes, a slightly salty and spicy oil as the dressing- but I was surprised to see it on the menu.

                                          Now, chock full o' mayonnaise fruit salads in that part of the world are a dime a dozen...


                                          1. re: ferret

                                            Most of the salads I had in Sri Lanka were... Awful. And that's being kind. Too much water not shaken off the lettuce, using pickling cucumbers instead of English cucumbers, using green tomatoes, rotten lettuce... Complain about it and the waiter does nothing. They don't care. Really. They just turn around and ignore your comments. No replacement food, no discount, item still on the bill and you still have to pay for it even though it's inedible.

                                          2. re: pine time

                                            I miss good Chinese stir fried veggies.

                                            1. re: pine time

                                              Yes! I eat veggie heavy most of the time and that's hard to do when I'm not at home unless I'm getting a vegetarian meal.

                                              1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                Amen to that. Say what you will about McDonald's but they have clean toilets, free wifi, A/C and ICE no matter where you find them.

                                                  1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                    I'm the opposite. One particular thing that I quite enjoy about International eating is the lovely no-ice drinks :) I've never been a fan of cold drinks, never pay attention to the stock of ice in the house usually and keep drinks out of the fridge :) SO really loves this challenge.

                                                      1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                        Will do, all yours. I was born in Europe and my parents like to think that's why I'm a room temperature beverage fan.

                                                      2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        Don't like cold drinks at all. It's so comforting to drink tepid or hot water. One thing I definitely don't miss at all when I travel, ice-cold drinks in the dead of winter. I think there are special ice-cubes restaurants in the US bring out in winter that are below 0 degrees celsius.

                                                      3. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                        On a somewhat similar note, I'll add the ability to drink the tap water (depending on where you are). I'm fond of hydration and while chillin' in my room, I would like to just refill that bottle I polished off.

                                                        1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                          We've been successful going to a local pub and paying a pound/euro/whatever for a bag of ice.