American Foods That Are Hard To Find Outside Of The US

American Foods That Are Hard To Find Outside Of The US

If you’ve ever lived outside the US (or even if you’ve traveled abroad for a short period of time) you’ve probably noticed some culinary differences. So I browsed the subreddit r/expats and rounded up a bunch of ingredients, foods, and culinary traditions that Americans are seriously homesick for while abroad.


“Tex-Mex cuisine for sure. I live in France, and here Tex-Mex is a crime against the culinary arts.”


“Reuben sandwiches. You can buy something called a Reuben where I live, but nine times out of ten it’ll disappoint you.”


“IHOP, where you can get a good breakfast anytime of day. I live in Australia, and places here might do eggs and toast (and maybe some some bacon if you’re lucky), but hash browns, pancakes, waffles, and sausage are pretty much unknown here.”


“Good Mexican food with some spice to it. After three years of living in Europe I’ve turned into such a baby with spices that even Cholula gets me!”


“Access to a massive variety of excellent food from all around the world (Vietnamese! Thai! Regional Mexican!) I don’t have that anymore since leaving the US.”


“Taco Bell. I finally found one in Bangkok and I almost exploded with joy. Turns out, they don’t have refried beans here, which was weird, but I still ordered $40 worth of food.”


“Costco. I live in Paris and I have been dreaming of going to the one Costco here for over a year now. I can’t wait to get my gallon-size anything and those hot dogs!”


“Girl Scout cookies. Most other treats I can find here in Australia, but I can’t get my hands on Thin Mints.”


“Brunch! There’s no real culture of going out to breakfast or brunch where I live in the Netherlands.”


“Buffalo chicken everything — and Ranch dressing.”


“Coffee. Not espresso, cappuccino, or flat white. Just filtered and brewed plain black coffee. Restaurants and cafes don’t serve it here. I just miss my regular drip coffee.”


“I miss the huge variety in US supermarkets and other shops. It’s not that there’s no variety here, but it’s just nothing like in the US. I took my kids back to the states recently and they had a blast just walking through a grocery store and seeing all the choices.”


“Right now I’m craving a breakfast sandwich on a NY bagel.”


“In-N-Out Burger. The last time I want home to California I drove straight from the airport to In-N-Out.”


“I moved to England and I desperately miss Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese. You’ve never lived abroad if you haven’t smuggled a whole suitcase of the stuff home with you.”


“Burritos. I ordered a beef burrito in South Africa. They used the beef cubes that are meant to make stew with and put them in tomato sauce. World, please learn how to make Mexican food, or at least something that resembles it.”


“I moved to London and what I missed the most was good old greasy, fatty American food. Sure, there are places to get this kind of food in London, but nothing compares to a juicy American burger with a big side of fries smothered in ketchup or BBQ sauce with a giant drink.”


“I’m an American living in Australia, and for some reason most of the times that I order French fries here, they don’t bring ketchup (or any other condiment, for that matter). I’ll take vinegar, mayonnaise, ANYTHING, but I can’t stand when they’re served dry.”


“After a few months of living in China, all I wanted was cheese. Any. Damn. Cheese.”


“BBQ was the thing I craved while living abad. Like a dummy, I’d go to European barbecue joints and leave shaking my head every time. It was my own fault, expecting something good.”


“When I was a student abroad I desperately missed real peanut butter, (and nut butters I’m general). You can probably find Jiffy in the ‘American’ section of a market, or a Nutella-like product, but finding straight up ground up peanut butter without all the sugar was a real challenge.”


“Americanized Chinese food, and specifically east coast Chinese food. Stuff like general Tso’s chicken, egg rolls, egg drop soup, oily, soy-sauce-laden lo mein, beef and broccoli, and fortune cookies. Funny enough, this stuff doesn’t exist in Asia. I was so happy to see that an American Chinese restaurant opened in Shanghai, but it closed down.”


“I’m from Connecticut and have been living in England for a couple of years. For me, I really miss classic New England fall foods like apple cider donuts and pumpkin flavored everything.”


“This may seem like a silly (and unhealthy) thing to miss, but the instant and frozen meals in the UK leave something to be desired. I miss American frozen aisles, which are stocked with pizza rolls, frozen mac ‘n’ cheese, and more.”


“Triscuits. I once spent $60 to ship four boxes of Triscuits to myself abroad, and I would gladly do it again.”


“Bagels. I‘ve seen a couple of pre-packed bagels sold in the American section of my grocery store, but I often miss a real, freshly baked American bagel.”


“Chicken wings. I’ve found some places that make decent wings here in Canada, but generally speaking even the best chicken wings outside the US are average compared to any of my favorite places to eat them back home.”


“Chipotle. I was living in Switzerland and traveled to Paris for a long weekend. As I was walking around, I stumbled upon what I discovered was one of three Chipotles in all of France. So there I was, in a city known for its world class restaurants and chefs, eating a freaking burrito bowl and enjoying every bite.”

What’s an “American” food, ingredient, or culinary concept you can’t find or miss when you leave the US? Tell us in the comments.