Please sign in to post.

What foods do you miss?

Curious:

What foods from home do you miss most when you go abroad?

What foods from abroad do you miss most when you are back home?

I'll make a start: I love experimenting and trying different foods abroad, but one thing I always miss to start out my day with is our German rolls.

Posted by
4633 posts

What I miss when I am away from the US? Tex-Mex anything, Trader Joe's anything, Carolina barbecue
What I foods from abroad do I crave? Steak and truffles from Istria, Kelewele from Ghana, Kouign-amann from France

Posted by
1117 posts

Wow... I'll have to look those up. Never heard of Kelewele or Kouign-amann before. :-)

Posted by
888 posts

I miss the pesto pasta they make in Northern Italy, I can't find anyone who can make it in Kansas that even comes close. I miss the croissants from Paris, they are so light and delicious, American croissants just don't taste the same. I also miss Moussaka from Greece, although I found a place in Kansas City that comes very close.

Most of all I miss the great local wines in Italy, France and Spain.

(my wife is rolling her eyes at me as I am typing this response!)

Posted by
6500 posts

Anna, I mostly miss good German (or Swiss, Italian, or French) breads, rolls and pastries too.

You can find good baked goods here, you just have to look harder to find them, and make the effort to get them while fresh. Its the life-style here that gets in the way. Most people (outside cities like New York) live in low-density suburbs where there are no bakeries around the corner and where you can stop in every day to get fresh goods. We have to drive everywhere to get anything, and most people shop for food only once a week or so, at a big supermarket (thank you for Aldi, by the way). Baked goods are made in factories, and expected to last several days. I think for many things, like good sausages or cheese, Americans don’t know what “good” should taste like, so the standards and the willingness to pay for quality are pretty low.

While traveling, I miss American-style breakfasts (bacon & eggs, pancakes) but I don’t need them.

Posted by
2176 posts

I miss flavour. Eating has been one of my most disappointing experiences in both Italy and France. Both countries in general I found the food too bland for my palate. My kingdom for a bottle of hot sauce.

As for a specific food, I have yet to find a grilled and charred Ribeye like I can at home.

Posted by
8255 posts

If you hadn't ruined your taste buds with hot sauce over the years, you'd be able to taste the food, even it's subtilités. To each their own.

Posted by
1028 posts

I don't really miss anything about food in the US. Food from Europe though? Greek Salad, seafood, croissants, English/Scottish/Welsh breakfast, German breads/saurkraut/sausages, Swiss fondue, French cheese. So much great food!

Posted by
1027 posts

Fresh baked goods for sure.

I don't really crave seafood, but it is better almost anywhere than in land/lake locked Ohio.

If I could get Icelandic lamb, I would eat lamb a lot more often (only place that I enjoyed it)

And the most crave worthy: cacio e pepe and gelato!!

I hope to have a bigger list after traveling in 2022.

Posted by
113 posts

Eating is one of our most sensual experiences while abroad.
I miss the following:
- Brittany butter, croissants, and caramel creme
- German nurenburgers, bread, radler, and alpine milk
- Belgian beer, frites, and chocolate
- Dutch gouda
- Italian coffee, gelato, salami, and real pizza
- English full breakfast and pub grub
- Welsh Cawl
- Parisian baguettes with cheese and sparkling water
- Swiss hotel automatic coffee machines, and hot chocolate with a mountain view
I don't miss much from home, maybe ice.

Posted by
958 posts

I am right there re Nürnberg Bratwurst and Belgian frites. It looks as if I may be able to get the wurst online - a weekend project!

Posted by
1831 posts

Anna, Swabian cuisine, particularly Maultaschen, Spaetzle, Zwiebelrostbraten, the sausage and the beer.

Posted by
9989 posts

I do get “restaurant fatigue” when everything starts to look the same, so I like to cook some of our meals. In Italy, I cook simple Italian dishes, but in some other countries (Switzerland most recently) I like to use ingredients that might be available for a simple Thai curry as a change from heavier meat dishes that are common there. Fresh cilantro is a rare find and I miss it when I cook in Europe. Five years living in Rome and I hardly ever came across any cilantro.

I miss being able to do some good but simple Tex-Mex when we’ve had enough bratwurst, rösti, and pork in Switzerland.

We both miss big, creative salads in restaurants as well as hearty and interesting sandwiches. I miss eggs and toast for breakfast in countries where they don’t put a toaster in our apartment.

Every country has its cuisine stars and also things one gets weary of. I am sure European visitors to the US must have some of the same thoughts and miss many of their favorites.

Posted by
470 posts

I can't honestly say that I miss any US foods while traveling. At home I miss having access to the many different pasta shapes in Italy, truly fresh ricotta, freshly filled cannoli, gelato. Oh my, I'd better start planning a trip soon. 😉

Posted by
1117 posts

You can find good baked goods here

Oh, absolutely! I didn't mean to say that there aren't great baked goods in other places. It's just the rolls I miss.

When we were in the United States, we kept being pointed to this bakery or that, or to this German deli or that. Fact is, none of them had them. Some looked like they came close, but when you unpacked the rolls at home, you would find that they had way too much sourdough, or be soft and squishy like a sponge. Probably those bakeries originated with an ambitious German baker who missed German rolls but ended up adapting his products to American taste buds, just like Chinese restaurants in Europe or America have adapted to European or American tastes.

Once, and only once, did I find good rolls in America. That was in a Polish supermarket in Chicago, of all places.

Posted by
836 posts

After I return home, I truly miss the daily specials offered by European restaurants. Using whatever freshest ingredients of the day--this is the true essence of restaurant dining.

Posted by
1043 posts

Wow...great question. The only thing I miss from the US when in Europe is authentic Mexican food and a good steak.

What I miss from Europe. Any European bread. A lost art in the US.

Pierogis from Poland, Sausages and schnitzel from Vienna and Germany, fried anchovies from Liguria, pasta carbonara in Italy, risotto in Milan, French croissants, chocolate and frites from Belgium, alpine cheese and tapas bars of Spain. I'm probably missing a couple, but now I am heading to the kitchen!!! Thanks for the post.

Posted by
1117 posts

Fresh cilantro is a rare find and I miss it when I cook in Europe.
Five years living in Rome and I hardly ever came across any cilantro.

Fresh cilantro was unheard of here until maybe twenty or so years ago. You can get it in supermarkets now, but the problem is it doesn't keep in our climate, and I have had absolutely no luck trying to grow it myself. Should work better in Rome, I would think.

We both miss big, creative salads in restaurants

This has gotten better over time. I remember those times when we used to push away the puny pickled salad items they served with a meal, regarding them as mere decoration. There are many places now where you can get really good salads.

hearty and interesting sandwiches

I can't say that I miss those, but it's certainly true that sandwiches aren't part of most European food culture. What you can get in many places is hearty and interesting rolls as a meal to go. We have one Italian place at our train station that just makes the most delicious rolls filled with lots of good stuff. We go there even when we don't have to catch a train. :-)

Posted by
1248 posts

We start every trip with a stop at our local Mexican food place (time allowing) knowing we won't get to eat authentic Mexican food for a few weeks. So for us it's Mexican food.

I don't miss specific food as much as the food culture itself. The small portions of really good food, eating in season food, knowing that someone is actually chopping and cooking food, the long meal times, the fresh pasta and all the mom-n-pop shops, no chains. The one food I think about is Potato Pizza in Rome and an Aperol spritz just hit's different when your sitting in a sidewalk cafe in Italy.

Posted by
479 posts

I miss Guiness from the tap in Ireland. I don't even like beer.

Tapas in Spain, especially fried eggplant with honey and fresh, whole sardines.

Picnic lunches eaten on the side of a mountain in Switzerland. With chocolate, of course.

When I'm traveling anywhere (even Florida), I miss real maple syrup.

Now I'm hungry.

Edited to add: Yes!! to what Letizia said (except we don't have good Mexican food in Vermont, so I miss that all the time :-) )

Posted by
9989 posts

Yes, Anna, cilantro should grow in Rome but I could not find plants nor seeds!

Salads are better in Europe than they used to be but I think North America does an amazing job with salad cuisine.

Posted by
2499 posts

As a Spanish expat now living in the USA, I've had much difficulty finding the foods from my homeland over here. This I miss the most:

Fuet de Vic - a traditional Catalan sausage that puts any Italian salami to shame. Not approved for importation in the USA because of its ingredients.

Pa de Pagès - traditional crunchy Catalan bread that we make our famous Pa amb tomàquet (tomato bread). I've noticed 99% of breads in the USA are chewy like the bubblgum, and have extra sugars and preservations.

Milk that tastes like milk - most milk in the USA has a weird taste, like it's watered down or something. Also good cheese in the USA is so damn expensive!

Paella/Fideuà - every Paella I've eaten in a Spanish restaurant in the States has been sub par, they end up just tasting like boiled rice, added too much caldo/rice and too little olive oil. Also Fideuà has not yet migrated to this side of the Atlantic yet.

Pimientos de Padrón - impossible to find in the USA, only could find Shishito peppers which make for a poor substitute.

In terms of full-on Spanish Restaurants, unfortunately I still have not found any in Southern California that I would actually recommend, they just don't hold up in terms of quality and price. Honestly the best Spanish food I eat, around these parts, is the Spanish food I prepare fresh in my home. So here's the secret to finding some vestige of good Spanish food in the US, the trick is finding a Spanish ingredient supplier/wholesaler.

There is an importer and wholesaler of Spanish food close to Long Beach called La Española Meats (https://laespanolameats.com/es/), all of us Spanish expats in Los Angeles buy direct from there. This is the place to buy Jamon Iberico and other Spanish delicacies they import and also make directly in-house. Unfortunately they are quite expensive for the quality, but they are the only option in the region.

Another place to look for Spanish food is surprisingly... Costco! Yes they always have 3-5 Spanish products hiding around their stores. I recently picked up in Costco - Galician Octopus, Cantabrian canned Tuna, and Manchego cheese all imported from Spain. In the past holiday season I bought from Costco a whole Jamon Serrano leg to have in my home for Christmas (very traditional to have during the holidays in Spain), for only 100$ very very good price!

With diligent research and much leg work one can find some foods that have the resemblance of back home in Spain.

Posted by
836 posts

Carlos, thanks for the information. Spanish delicacies from Costco--what a pleasant surprise!

Posted by
4633 posts

In Vienna you can get bushels of cilantro from the Turkish markets as well as at any grocery store.

Posted by
1117 posts

Talk about salads: There is one lettuce I really missed in America. The English Wikipedia doesn't even have an article on this particular species of Lactuca sativa. Our local tradition is to eat it with only pure lemon juice and sugar as a dressing, which is something even Germans from other regions can't understand. :-)

Posted by
2499 posts

Carlos, thanks for the information. Spanish delicacies from Costco--what a pleasant surprise!

No problem :)

Costco also has from time to time a whole leg of Jamon Iberico de Bellota from COVAP (Córdoba region), the highest level of Jamon, 7 kg for only $500 what a steal! They go fast.

Posted by
1117 posts

In Vienna you can get bushels of cilantro from the Turkish markets as
well as at any grocery store.

Wow, really? We have lots of Turkish markets here, and they do have bushels of something that looks very much like cilantro, but it's not, it's flat leaf parsley.

Posted by
4633 posts

It’s definitely cilantro - not parsley (which they also have). I use it to make salsa all the time.

Posted by
4936 posts

Carlos, pimientos de padrón are easy to grow. I got hooked on them in Spain, and have been delighted to find plants at local herb fairs.

Posted by
2499 posts

Thanks for the tip Jane! I guess as a city boy I never considered actually growing my own food lol. Not sure if we have many those 'herb fairs' in these parts though... but I will keep an eye out.

Posted by
1834 posts

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we're blessed to have the best of everything when it comes to food, but even so I do miss affordable charcuterie and dairy products that are everyday treats in Europe.

Posted by
289 posts

Carlos, it's time for you to head to Costco again...just saw those Jamon legs at our local store yesterday:)!

Posted by
3279 posts

@Emily, re Trader Joes
I believe TJ is actually a German company, or so I was told by our Berlin house exchangers. They were delighted to find one close to our house. And kouign-amann has started to appear in many cafes in the SF Bay Area.
@Carlos
We have plenty of access to Spanish products. One shop in Berkeley, called “The Spanish Table,” sells them exclusively; and another, “The Pasta Shop,” in north Oakland has a lot of cheeses and canned fish from Spain. I believe both sell on line. Prices? Well, that’s another story.
The fact is that in the Bay Area we can get almost any edibles from amost anywhere. What I do yearn for, on occasion, is authentic gelato; and while on the topic of Italian food, the fresh, sweet shellfish varieties that I’ve never seen here. Most of the shrimp/prawns we get have been previously frozen.

Posted by
1117 posts

I believe TJ is actually a German company

It belongs to the Aldi imperium, as far as I am aware.

Most of the shrimp/prawns we get have been previously frozen.

Sigh. Same thing everywhere, it seems. When you buy the tiny North Sea shrimps even right next to the North Sea, you can bet they have already traveled to Morocco and back to get peeled. The only way around that is to buy unpeeled ones right from the boat.

And talk about missing food abroad, those are something that you won't find anywhere else. There's not even a corresponding English Wikipedia article to the German one. These are the only shrimps I know that actually have a flavor and don't taste like styrofoam. :D

Posted by
5493 posts

Abroad, I miss getting milk in anything larger than a 1-liter carton. Except in Greece, getting plain Greek yogurt. Maybe ground beef or cuts of bison, too.

And while not food, I miss our plastic wrap. Compared with Saran Wrap, the plastic “film” in Europe is just thin, flimsy stuff that you can’t get separated from the roll, and if you do manage to get it peeled off the roll, it just sticks to itself and wads up, before you can get it spread across a container, or wrapped around what you want wrapped up.

Back at home, I miss European eggs (deep yellow yolks), cheese that’s not a brick of oddly colored yellow-orange, pretty flavorless), parmesano reggiano that’s not $25 for a small wedge, fruits and vegetables that are actually just sold in season - so fresh and flavorful, especially strawberries that aren’t just white inside and taste like styrofoam, lamb, perfectly al dente pasta, haggis, thick hot chocolate, eggplants that aren’t huge, prosciutto and also basil that aren’t sold only in small quantities, in plastic clamshell containers, and proper gelato - scooped up fresh, and wonderful.

Kouign-Amagnn from Brittany! A caramel roll on steroids, devine!

And, living 1,000 miles from the ocean, not having fish that was swimming that morning. Fresh anchovies and sardines, like I had for dinner tonight in Riomaggiore, Italy - like nothing you can get in Colorado. But nowhere else has Palisade peaches, Rocky Ford cantaloupe, or Pueblo chilis, so there’s some good stuff at home, too.

Posted by
93 posts

I miss the convenience of North American food, especially quick, anonymous take-out.
In Spain, I found it difficult to find a good cup of tea.

When home I miss the variety (and low price!) of cheese and wine.

Posted by
4633 posts

@Rosalyn - yes, I know TJ is a German-owned company. There are no TJ’s in Europe, however, so it doesn’t seem to matter. I still miss it madly.

Posted by
1117 posts

I'll add two more:

When I'm in the US, I miss good coffee. Free refills can't make up for what we call "flower coffee". (In former times, the dainty little coffee cups often used to have a flower design, including a little flower painted on the bottom of the inside. If you could see the flower through your coffee - thus "flower coffee" - , obviously the coffee is no good.)

I'm not a great fan of big chains and coffee in paper cups, but there is something to be said for Starbucks and co. They have done a lot for good coffee.

When I'm in Europe, I miss my favorite cookies, Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano. You just can't get them anywhere, not even over the internet.

Posted by
2499 posts

Carlos, it's time for you to head to Costco again...just saw those Jamon legs at our local store yesterday:)!

I know!! Just bought one today, will probably last me until January lol 😆

It is an old tradition in Spain that when workers get thier Christmas bonuses, they also receive a whole leg of Jamon, that's why in the homes of many Spanish we have Jamon legs that everyone snacks on over the course of the holidays.