30 “American” Foods That Are Difficult To Find Abroad

30 “American” Foods That Are Difficult To Find Abroad

Marcel Stevens

Marcel Stevens

Marcel has over 12 years in journalism who enjoys writing, jogging, reading and tennis.


“As a Londoner who has lived in Indiana and Illinois, if you could send these to me in the UK, I’d give you my first born.”

If you’ve ever traveled abroad, you’ve probably realized there are some common “American” ingredients and foods that you’ll hardly ever find in another country.

So Redditor u/Specialist_Plum673 said, “I’m American and I want to send a British friend a care package of ingredients that you don’t see a lot in the UK.” And they asked, “What is a very, very American ingredient?” Here’s what people said.


M-production / Getty Images/iStockphoto

1.

“My family always takes boxes of Jiffy muffins and cornbread mix home when they come over to the states. It’s a rarity back home.”


Warren_price / Getty Images/iStockphoto

2.

“A good burrito. When I was living in the UK, I couldn’t find good Tex-Mex (and burritos, specifically) for the life of me.”


Boston Globe / Boston Globe via Getty Images

3.

“I am Croatian, and I have a few American friends who introduced me to ranch dressing. I don’t know what it is about those Hidden Valley ranch packets, but they’re fantastic.”


Gail Hedgpetha / Getty Images/EyeEm

4.

“When I lived in Switzerland, I missed Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups so much. Don’t get me wrong, Swiss chocolate is amazing (even superior to American chocolate), but chocolate and peanut butter is a combination they have yet to catch on to. My grandparents used to send me enormous packages of Reese’s, and I’d finish it all in no time.”


Mysteryshot / Getty Images/iStockphoto

5.

“Hot Cheetos. IMO, they are the single hardest food to find outside of the US.”


Chicago Tribune / Tribune News Service via Getty Images

6.

“I live in Japan, and I constantly miss and crave queso. As someone from Texas originally, it basically runs through my veins, but it’s so hard to find here.”


Bhofack2 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

7.

“Slim Jims. From my experience living in the UK, it’s impossible to describe a Slim Jim to anyone who hasn’t tried one. A friend of mine insisted he has tried something similar in the UK, but he brought back a meat sausage that didn’t come close to replicating the magic of a Slim Jim.”


Juanmonino / Getty Images

8.

“Not a specific ingredient, but anything from Chick-fil-A. Since visiting the states, it has become my definition of good American fast food. Those spicy chicken sandwiches are something else.”


Jeff Greenberg / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

9.

“Graham crackers. What even are they? Crackers or biscuits? I have absolutely no idea, and I have never seen them anywhere outside the USA. They are a mystery to me.”

10.

“Mexican chile peppers like ancho, arból, and chipotle peppers. They’re near impossible to find in the UK, but they’re everywhere in the US. It shows how Mexican cooking and its influence really is such a big part of American cuisine.”

11.

“Bagels, particularly everything bagels. I’m an Australian, and I dream about eating another everything bagel like the one I had on a trip to the US. 😭”

12.

“Southern sweet tea. I’m from Alabama, but while living in Ireland, I was experiencing serious withdrawals for my mom’s (or anybody’s!) sweet tea. I made my own the best I could, but it just wasn’t the same as the stuff back home.”

13.

“Everything peanut butter-related. I’m an American living in Scotland, and this is the stuff I miss most. Good peanut butter only exists here in tiny, expensive jars. I really miss peanut butter cookies, Reese’s Puffs, chocolate peanut butter candy, etc.”


Anna Janecka / Getty Images

14.

“American-style donuts. A lot of donut chains in Asia make them much less sweet than they do in America, because otherwise, the locals won’t care for them.”

15.

“In Japan, cottage cheese is impossible to find. Oh, how I miss this common American breakfast…”

16.

“When I lived in Austria, I had my mother send me taco seasoning. There is an enormous need for decent Tex-Mex in Europe.”


Cyndi Monaghan / Getty Images

17.

“Cheap boxes of American cake mix. My sister-in-law who lives in Spain goes absolutely crazy for them. I bring her five boxes each time I visit.”


Yuki Kondo / Getty Images

18.

“Root beer! There was a very brief (but brilliant) period in the UK where McDonald’s served root beer. 😔”

19.

“American ‘Chinese’ food, specifically east coast Chinese food. General Tso’s chicken, egg rolls, egg drop soup, oily, soy-sauce laden lo mein, beef and broccoli, and fortune cookies.”

20.

“Triscuits and spray cheese. It’s the greatest cheap snack.”


Kenhoward / Getty Images/iStockphoto

21.

“A friend of mine from the UK couldn’t get enough of gas station beef jerky when he was visiting the states. He talked about how good it was for a solid 10 minutes. It’s very hard to find in Europe and also very expensive.”


Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

22.

“Saltwater taffy. I recently sent some to an overseas friend. She had never tried it before, and she loved it.”


John Greim / LightRocket via Getty Images

23.

“Banana peppers. As a Londoner who has lived in Indiana and Illinois, if you could send me banana peppers in the UK, I’d send you my first born.”

24.

“Girl Scout cookies, particularly Thin Mints or Samoas. I sent about $150 worth of these cookies to my son when he was living in Germany. He was so excited to have his German girlfriend try them.”


Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

25.

“I lived in Croatia for two years, and it might sound ridiculous, but the thing I missed most were cranberry products like cranberry sauce and cranberry juice. I could find every other fruit imaginable, but not cranberries.”


Cyndi Monaghan / Getty Images

26.

“Velveeta cheese. It makes the best macaroni and cheese, and it’s so hard to find outside of the US.”


Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

27.

“Coffee creamer. Nowhere else outside of North America can you find coffee creamer. They just use milk or cream.”


Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

28.

“Corn tortillas. I always have a tough time finding real corn tortillas here. It’s difficult to make chilaquiles and migas without them!”


Chan2545 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

29.

“Breakfast cereal. In the US, cereal is a very, very different phenomenon than it is in the rest of the world. When I studied abroad, cereal was nothing like what I was used to.”


Nguyen Pham / Getty Images/EyeEm

30.

“Pepperoni. I live in Korea, but because I’m in the military, I still have access to all of my American comforts. That said, I went on a date with a civilian who begged me to bring her a bunch of pepperoni because the Korean version tastes different.”

What’s a quintessentially “American” ingredient or food you love that is either difficult or nearly impossible to find abroad? Tell us in the comments!