When you’re traveling to new places and new cultures, it’s rather obvious you’re going to miss some things. Items that are popular in Australia may not be popular or even known elsewhere. When in Mexico, one isn’t surprised they can’t find Thai food. However, some things you just innocently think should be common only to find out they’re actually rather hard to find.
Food and Flavors
So it may not be very difficult to imagine that Lucky Charms cereal is not all that common outside of the US. However, places like Central and South America and Southeast Asia surprise you and leave you thinking you won’t have to sacrifice much after all.
Then you get to Europe and discover sugary cereal is just not something the more health-minded Europeans have grown an appreciation for. I wasn’t too surprised when we could find very few cereals we recognized in Romania, but I thought for sure Vienna, a large, metropolitan city, would have our backs. Nope! They had a few familiar cereals but not much more than Romania.
This is just one of those flavors that screams “the holidays” for me. I love making peppermint chocolate brownies as well as putting it in my hot chocolate. Tigger has spent many a holiday season enjoying his warm beverage loaded with mini marshmallows and either crushed peppermint or having a candy cane dissolved into his mug. One of my guilty holiday pleasures is peppermint schnapps in my hot chocolate.
Well, you won’t find it in a good portion of Europe apparently. I’ve been quite surprised by this. I mean who doesn’t like peppermint?
“Why would you want to drink something that tastes like you just brushed your teeth with it?” was the response of my Austrian friend.
Okay, I can’t say I can really argue with her logic, but, well, it’s peppermint! How can you have Christmas without peppermint? It just boggles my North American mind.
I can find a bazillion different flavors for candy canes, but not one of them is peppermint.
Although Vienna did turn me onto putting amaretto in my hot chocolate, so she’s partially forgiven.
Licorice and jelly beans
I love my Red Vines and almost any other form of licorice, but man it’s a huge challenge to find it in any form here. I also like jelly beans. Jelly Belly is my favorite candy (chocolate is a food group so doesn’t count as candy), but I also enjoy jelly beans.
Yeah, good luck finding those, too.
I never realized just how American this food really is until I started traveling more. If you’re able to find it, it’s usually 2-3 times the cost of a jar of the stuff back home. And sometimes you just simply can’t find it. Mention the term around many other English-speaking travelers, and they’ll usually just roll their eyes and say, “You Americans and your peanut butter.”
Yeah, well you can’t stick your nose up at me when you’ve been bitching about the lack of “proper tea” or vegemite or marmite. (And at least peanut butter actually tastes good.)
The lack of peanut butter also means no Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for poor, deprived Tigger.
Another item I’m at a loss to explain as to why it can’t be found. How you not like chocolate chips? This one is a big mystery to me for sure.
Oh my beloved bagels. Why oh why have more countries not caught onto your extreme yumminess? Not like you’re expensive to make or anything, and a bagel sandwich is one of the most delicious things around. You can find nasty Starbucks coffee in almost every corner of the planet but not bagels. So very sad.
Let’s be real here. Nescafé is NOT coffee. Neither is Starbucks. I’m talking good coffee. And why is it even harder to find good, real coffee in places that are known throughout the world for producing some of the best stuff? I get you make more money exporting it, but couldn’t you at least save some of the good stuff for your own people and visitors?
Explain this one to me, please. I can find every part imaginable of almost any animal in the stores. Feet, ears, necks, heads, intestines, you name it.
But no turkey.
What do you have against these birds? And when you do carry their meat, it’s usually either the wings or breast. Is this a Freudian thing?
If you aren’t going to let me buy the whole thing, at least carry the legs, too!
OK, I get why it’s a bit tough to find you in Morocco and Malaysia. But in Europe, why are there 25 types of bacon, but none of them are “streaky” bacon? Have your taste buds truly not been introduced to the joys of the crispy stuff?
Why could I not find an ice cube tray in Brasov, Cluj, or Timisoara? I realize that we Americans have what some would consider an unusual fascination with having ice in our beverages, but don’t you use ice at all?
And for as much cheese as you eat in Europe, why in the hell do I have to search high and low to find a lowly cheese slicer? Sure, when I’m drinking wine, having a cheese plate with some fruit, etc., I want those nice, fat chunks of cheese, but surely you have discovered the deliciousness of a grilled cheese sandwich. You want thinner slices on those things, trust me. Why must I resort to either paper thin slices or having to substitute with a section of dental floss to get a decent cut?
You think peppermint-flavored drinks and candy taste bad? Try adding mint flavoring to your cheese. I’ve had to stop buying the flavored dental floss because you won’t have one stinking cheese slicer in your store for me to buy, or you want to charge me $36 USD for it.
Oh you and your sense of humor, Europe!
What items surprise you when they are hard to find while traveling?