International Foods That Are Hard To Find In The US

International Foods That Are Hard To Find In The US

“It blows my mind that this delicious and cheap meal isn’t everywhere in the US.”

If you’ve ever lived or traveled abroad, chances are you’ve come across some delicious meals that you’ve tried to track down in the US. But not all international foods are easy to find stateside. Redditor u/Final_Cress_9734 asked, “People living in or from the USA, what is a foreign food you are surprised isn’t more popular here yet?” Here’s what people said.


“Döner Kebob stands. They’ve on virtually every block in Berlin. Why don’t I see them everywhere in the US? They’re so delicious and the perfect cheap eat.”


“Not a specific food, but I’m genuinely shocked that Christmas Markets aren’t more of a thing in the US like they are in Europe. In Europe, you’ll find stand after stand of freshly made hot sausages, pretzels, fritters, raclette, hot chocolate, every kind of pastry you can imagine, and gluhwein to enjoy while you walk around. I feel like these markets would go over so well in the US.”


“Dosas. It’s easy to find food typical of northern India pretty much all around the country, but finding the regional dishes from southern India is more difficult to find. I wish it were easier to get my hands on dosas, which are thin crepes made from rice and lentil batter.”


“Käsespätzle, which is basically German mac-and-cheese but with spaetzle (pasta-like dumplings) instead of macaroni. It’s covered with caramelized onions, and it’s sooo good.”


“Sabich sandwiches. Falafel, kabob, shawarma get all the hype here in the US, but sabich is super underrated and hard to find. It’s a pita sandwich with juicy fried eggplant, hummus, and boiled egg, and together it tastes like way more than the sum of its parts.”


“Injera, a spongy, slightly tart Ethiopian flatbread. I love so much Ethiopian food in general, but I wish more Americans knew about injera. You use it to scoop up all other Ethiopian dishes, which tend to be healthy, often vegetarian, and beautifully spiced.”


“Meat pie. Not pot pies, not pasties, not a turnover, but real, hand-held meat pie with a bottom crust and a top crust. And pork with skin on it. I never understand why every meat processor and butcher removes the skin. It’s just not the same.”


“Filipino cuisine in general. I feel like it’s so much harder to find than other more popular Asian cuisines. I gush over my favorite Filipino dishes like lumpia, pancit, and sinigang so often, but Americans don’t usually know what I’m talking about.”


“Okonomiyaki, which are Japanese cabbage pancakes. They are savory, crispy, and so good. I cook it for American friends and they always love this dish immediately. You can find okonomiyaki occasionally, but I think (and hope) it’s going to be the next Japanese food to really take off in popularity in the US.”


“Japanese Kit-Kats and the 3,290,480,934,590 flavors they come in. Why can’t we have this variety in the US?”


“Hainanese chicken rice. It’s very popular in South East Asia. In New York City, there’s a handful of restaurants where you can find this dish, but it’s not very common. I would think it would be hugely popular given how universally tasty, simple, and affordable it is.”


“Paneer. It’s a firm, Indian cheese that can be cooked alone or in sauce. It’s similar to tofu, but so much better. It’s works as a perfect substitute to any protein. I often make it in order to break up my usual chicken routine.”


“Currywurst, which is a German dish of sausage and french fries topped with ketchup and curry powder. It shocks me that it hasn’t taken off in the US.”


“Mojama, which is a type of tuna that is cured in sea salt, then thinly sliced like gravlax. I fell in love with this dish in Spain and Italy, but have only come across it once or twice in the US. It tastes almost like a combination of smoked salmon and prosciutto, and it’s so delicious.”


“I think Georgian food in general is underrepresented in the US, but I’m surprised that Kachapuri in particular is not more popular. Adjaruli khachapuri is basically just a bread bowl full of melted cheese topped with an egg yolk. You mix it all together and tear off chunks of the bowl to dip into the cheese. It’s absolutely fantastic.”


“Japanese curry. I still dream about the curry I ate in Japan several years ago. It’s unlike any curry I’ve had before and I don’t know what they put in the sauce but it’s the perfect comfort food. I wish it were more commonly available in the states.”


“Bitterballen, which are basically crispy, fried balls of meaty gravy (think: meat croquettes) popular in the Netherlands. Most people associate Dutch cuisine with stroopwafel, which you can find in the US, but I much prefer bitterballen.”


“I wish Indonesian food in general was more popular in the US, but specifically gado gado (a big Indonesian salad with vegetables, hard boiled egg, and tempeh in a rich and creamy peanut sauce) and nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice). I live in New York City were there’s no shortage of global cuisine, but Indonesian food is still really difficult to come by. After traveling to Indonesia I fell in love with the flavors and wish I could find more authentic versions of my favorite dishes stateside.”


“Leberkase. It’s Bavarian meatloaf — a slice of seasoned and baked ground meat often served on a sandwich. I can’t find anything comparable to it in the US. Just the thought of eating warm leberkase with mustard on a cold morning in Germany makes my mouth water.”


“Ugali, which is a dough-like cornmeal porridge. I’m from Kenya and it’s my favorite dish, but most Americans haven’t heard of it. You eat it by pinching a piece off, rolling it into a ball, then using it to scoop up the other foods you’re eating with it like spiced rice or sukuma wiki (collard greens).”


“Nepali food, especially momo (a type of steamed dumpling) is really good, but it’s still pretty obscure and hard to find in the US…especially if you don’t live in a big city. If you get the chance to try momo, definitely take it.”


“Arroz de marisco, which is a Portuguese dish that is rice loaded with all different kinds of seafood. Most people have heard of paella, but few people have tried this equally delicious recipe.”


“Toum, a Lebanese condiment made with garlic, salt, and oil. It’s easily my favorite part of Lebanese cuisine. It tastes amazing on pita, chicken, lamb, rice, etc. It should be way more popular because it’s just that delicious.”


“Japanese egg salad sandwiches. American egg salad is fine, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the creamy, tangy, smooth Japanese version, which is typically served between two slices of crust-less, soft white bread. This $2 creation was one of my favorite bites in Japan, and I crave it all the time. If only more restaurants and convenience stores in the US would recreate it…”


“Callaloo soup, a dish from the Caribbean. I was in Tobago once and fell in love with it. I’ve tried tried searching for it everywhere in the statues, and all I could find was a canned version that was totally disgusting. I tried to make it, but you can’t easily find dasheen leaves in the US either. I used spinach, but it just wasn’t the same.”


“Real poutine. I’m a Canadian ex-pat living in Portland, Oregon and there are lots of poutine-like dishes all over the city. But there’s very little no-frills poutine as its meant to be. Restaurants always try to make it fancy, but mushroom gravy and gruyère on artisanal potato wedges is not the same as poutine.”


“Tahdig, an Iranian dish that literally means ‘bottom of the pan.’ It’s essentially a large circle of crunchy, fried basmati rice. It tastes like heaven for rice lovers, and it should be way more popular in the US.”


“Fanta Naranja. We’ve got Fanta orange soda in the US, but it isn’t nearly as good as the Spanish kind, which just tastes crisper, fresher, and way less artificial.”

Have you tried a delicious food abroad that is unpopular or hard to find in the US? Tell us in the comments!