Snack Talk

Americans Who Have Lived Abroad Reveal Their Most-Missed Foods

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Cole Saladino & Maggie Rossetti / Thrillist

Living abroad is an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture and broaden your horizons, especially culinarily. However, that doesn't mean it's not without its edible drawbacks. We polled Americans who live (or have lived) in other countries on the one food they find themselves unable to adequately procure on foreign soil. 

Skittles
Drew Swantak/ Thrillist

The sweets aren't the same

"You should see how small the ice cream cartons are here. I miss Breyers rocky road with dark chocolate covered almonds and creamy marshmallow. My dad always has a few cartons in the freezer whenever we come home. I bowl a night is never missed, with a glass of pasteurized milk, not UHT!" -- Leigh R., Spain

"It's funny the types of things you don't miss until you can't have them. I was feeling a little homesick and talking to a friend about things like Oreos, marshmallows, and peanut butter. She told me that there was a small store in Edinburgh, about an hour bus-ride away, where they carried American imports. I made a trip to Edinburgh that weekend. I think the small packs of six single-stuff Oreos were about $8 each or something crazy. Let me tell you, I would have happy paid $20. Those cookies swept me back to memories of sitting in my mother's kitchen after school and plucking cookies out of our ancient cookie jar. Sometimes you really need that." -- Ana Fernatt, United Kingdom

"I was an exchange student in Germany, back when they still had the Mark. Mom sent me a pound of Skittles for Christmas (with some other gifts), and it was the finest reminder of home. It's all about the little things (ahem, Skittles) when you're far from home." -- Hiram B., Germany

"Aussies also appear to be missing out on Raisinets and instead sub milk chocolate malted balls for a movie theater snack. There's something about the sweet and salty combo of Raisinets and popcorn that Maltesers just can't replace. So I became the person who brought their own candy into the theater."  -- Courtney S., Australia

"Living in Austria and Germany for almost five years, I got to sample some amazing cuisine. That isn't to say, however; that I wouldn't have beaten the schnitzel out of someone for some Doritos and Skittles. When I was able to smuggle some in, German peers would eat one Skittle at a time due to the intense flavor, I informed them that the 'Murican way was to grab a handful and throw those suckers in!" -- Jordan B., Germany

"Haribo and winegums are great but sometimes you just want artificial fruit-flavored, gritty Skittles by the handful." -- Greg B., United Kingdom

"Reese’s peanut butter eggs. My parents shipped me a case in Australia." -- Meghan A., Australia

Max & Cheese
Perry Santanachote/ Thrillist

Neither are the savory snacks

"I never knew I liked Fritos so much until I realized that they weren't readily available. I live in Geoje-do, rural Korea, so I only know of one option of corn chips and it's the bland bottom-shelf tortilla chips I would get back home. I miss Fritos, because they had the perfect balance of salt and spice that's not too overpowering, its crunch, and the ability to hold my hunger at bay until my next meal. The chili cheese and Honey BBQ Twists are great flavor options that Fritos has mastered that other snacks simply have not." -- John D., Korea

"There are no 7-Elevens or late-night AM/PMs in England, and thus, for some reason, trying to locate my dearly beloved Flamin' Hot Cheeto fries was notoriously difficult. I spent many a late night wandering through the town of Brighton looking for them to no avail, being only met with truly soul-cringing Walkers salt and vinegar crisps at every turn. Nothing else out there came close to matching its delightfully moderate spiciness and unique texture. It's also worth noting British people have a poor understanding of the concept behind 'Hot Cheeto fries' in and of itself." -- Janelle A., Great Britain

"There were nights when I️ just wanted to feel home away from home. Sadly my only comfort food is Kraft Mac & Cheese with a hefty drizzle of Frank’s, which was nonexistent in the UK. I️ also use food as a vehicle for ranch dressing, so I️ would smuggle in bottles and packets for safe keeping." -- Adrienne Z., United Kingdom

"I'm not sure why Spaniards have a universal hatred for peanut butter, but they do. No, really. Go ask them. When I was living in Madrid 10 or so years ago, I became acutely aware of this phenomena. You could sometimes find it in the fancier stores but with very limited options to choose from. While I do like peanut butter, I'm not a diehard fan. But I found myself defending it to Spaniards on a regular basis and it took on a bigger meaning methinks than just spreadable peanuts." -- Lisa S., Spain

Taco Bell
Cole Saladino/ Thrillist

If you aren't in Mexico, Mexican food is an issue

"I was studying abroad for the summer in Milan, and for the most part I didn't miss many foods, but one thing they don't have is good Mexican food (for obvious reasons) and they don't really sell anything close the right sauce in the grocery stores either. I think I found it once and bought a couple of bottles." -- Anne R., Italy

“In Turkey they only serve 'what's in season,' and guacamole apparently was never in season. And definitely not the hundred-calorie packs they sell here, so you just get the right amount.” -- Nina K, Turkey

"In the states a quick, cheap dinner for me was an Amy's burrito with some avocado on top, now it's slices of jamon with olives a glass of wine. Not sure why I miss the damn burrito's, but old habits die hard." -- Kristin W., Spain

"Taco Bell is my fast-food guilty pleasure, and after moving to the United Arab Emirates and discovering one didn’t exist within the country .. I was crushed. KFC, McDonalds … even the last Chi-Chi’s on the planet was there ... but no Taco Bell.  Fast forward three years after my arrival, and all of a sudden, online, the UAE expat community is abuzz. Rumor has it that kiosk-sized Taco Bell is about to open at the Dubai Mall. Sure enough, it did! On opening weekend I lined up and order a DOZEN of my favorite menu item: 12 bean burritos, minus onions, add sour cream. I took those bad boys all the way back to Abu Dhabi on the bus, threw them in my freezer, and proceeded to reheat them over the next few weeks. When I ran out, I repeated this (sad) adventure." -- Elysia S., United Arab Emirates

"I lived in Berlin for three years and Germany did not have Taco Bell, mac & cheese, or Mountain Dew. Any time any of us expats visited the US, we'd take orders for the others. A friend went so far as to order Taco Bell, individually wrap them, and smuggle them onto a flight to reheat for us later." -- Rudy D., Germany

"While attempting to hunt down a decent burrito in Asia, we'd be consistently crushed when handed a dry, cracked tortilla stuffed with same fillings they'd put in their curry - with no hot sauce in sight. Which to me, is no burrito at all." -- Annie H., Thailand

The thirst is real, especially for Dr. Pepper

"Refillable sodas with ice. Is there some massive tariff on carbonated water and syrup that prevents the rest of the world from selling unlimited sodas for what ends up costing them about 2 cents?" -- Matthew M., various European countries

"I missed iced coffee more than anything! Hot espresso poured over ice by a confused barista just wasn't the same." -- Sarah A., Czech Republic

"I️ missed the hell out of diet Dr. Pepper in Japan. Was an addict back in college. I️ found it at one specialty store in a huge mall outside Tokyo and almost cried." -- Andrea D., Japan

"When I lived in Spain, a friend paid $45 for a six-pack of Dr. Pepper at a special import shop." -- Brandon R., Spain

Cheeseburger
Cole Saladino/ Thrillist

America also knows burgers, breakfast, and hot dogs

"I craved the American cereals -- Lucky Charms, Froot Loops --  all the unhealthy American cereals. They mostly had Muesli and granola." -- Samantha R., Switzerland

"I was Germany, the land of the frankfurter and could not satisfy my near-monthly chili dog cravings. The wursts were great, but there was not a can of that mysterious hot dog sauce to be found. How did I survive that year without causing an international incident?" -- David F., Germany

"NOBODY else does a decent burger. Had a burger in Switzerland that snapped when you bit into it like a bratwurst. Ugh." -- Ben M., Switzerland

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Matt Lynch didn't eat there, but was weirdly happy when he encountered a Steak 'n Shake in Madrid. Follow him to his next Frisco Melt @MLynchChi