We know there are questions around travel amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Read our note here.
For many food-loving travelers, paying a visit to a grocery store abroad to see what’s in stock is part of the adventure. Unusual produce, wacky snacks, and entire sections you’ve never even dreamed of help to build a picture of what day-to-day life is like in the place you’re visiting. Here are nine amazing snacks you can find in grocery stores abroad — and with the magic of the internet, you’ll be able to order several of these faraway foods straight to your doorstep
Euro Cake (Thailand)
Wrapped in an air-filled foil packet and virtually indestructible (a backpacker’s dream), Euro Cakes certainly aren’t like anything you’ll find in Europe — they are uniquely Thai. These bite-sized “puff cakes” are sponges filled with a variety of creamy flavors: There’s classic cappuccino, chocolate, and vanilla, but also more Asian-inspired tastes, such as banana and screwpine (pandan). With expiration dates of up to nine months and a bouncy texture that can withstand both heat and transportation, Euro Cakes fly off supermarket shelves in Thailand, but you can order some on Amazon if you’d like to try the disc-shaped, cream-filled treats for yourself.
Pizza Bake Rolls (Greece)
Craving the taste of cheesy, tomatoey pizza, but can’t get to a proper pizzeria? Cue Bake Rolls from Greek brand 7Days. These thinly sliced rounds of bread are baked in the oven twice to make them extra crunchy. They’re also seasoned with dried vegetables such as tomato and celery, fragrant herbs like oregano, and topped with a generous sprinkle of dried cheese. Be warned: The taste is addictive and surprisingly similar to actual pizza. If you stop by a sidewalk kiosk while vacationing in Greece, you’re sure to find these bagel-shaped bites of goodness next to 7Days’ other handy on-the-go snacks — think foil-wrapped soft croissants, breads, and cakes.
Angel Delight (United Kingdom)
Ask any Brit what their favorite childhood dessert was, and you’re likely to hear about Angel Delight, a mousse-like dessert that begins life as a sugary powder and ends up as fluffy as a cloud. The sachets were first sold in 1967, and families loved how quick the dessert was to prepare: All that’s required is to whip the powder with fresh milk. Strawberry is the original flavor, but Angel Delight now also comes in banana, butterscotch, and chocolate varieties. Eat it by itself, make it into a milkshake, or top with fresh fruit, taffy chunks, or chocolate. For an even more indulgent treat, you can dip a Mars chocolate bar (or, as they’re called in the U.S., Milky Way) into fresh Angel Delight and enjoy the blissful after-dinner experience of many happy British kids.
Masala Lay's (South Asia)
Lay’s are the undisputed king of potato chips, but the company also tailors its seasoned snacks to different tastes and markets across the world. In India and Pakistan, it seems that one flavor is universally beloved: masala. You may have heard the word before, because in many South Asian languages, it simply refers to a blend of spices.
But Masala Lay’s are no ordinary spice blend. Mix fresh ground chillies and mangoes with cumin, coriander, black pepper, and a hint of turmeric — plus a ginger and garlic base — and you’ll have the magical combination that makes up this irresistible chip. Crinkle-cut potatoes mean there’s even more of the spicy stuff to go around. It’s easy to see why the tangy snack is adored by the desi (South Asian) diaspora, and, if you’re lucky, you may be able to grab a bag from your local South Asian store.
Tim Tams (Australia)
With three layers of chocolate, Tim Tams are Australia’s meltiest — and most beloved — biscuit. Two chocolate shortcakes sandwich a chocolate cream, and the whole thing is doused in melted chocolate. Tim Tams were inspired by the Penguin biscuit in the U.K., but the Aussies will tell you their version is smoother and even more chocolatey.
If you want to eat a Tim Tam like they do Down Under, you’ll need a cup of something warm: milk, tea, and hot chocolate are always popular. Then, nibble off opposite corners of the bar, and you should be able to slurp your drink using the Tim Tam as a straw. This method of consumption is known as the “Tim Tam Slam” — because the chocolate will melt quickly between your fingers, so you’ll end up slamming the whole thing into your mouth before it makes too much of a mess.
Guava Cookies (Costa Rica)
Pink-and-green guava fruit, which thrives in tropical climates, is a popular breakfast item across Latin America, but Costa Rica has worked out a way to have it at all times of the day: guava jelly cookies. Sunflower-shaped vanilla shortbread cookies envelope a circular heart of pink jelly, and the fruity taste is complemented by a crumbly, not-too-sweet cookie. If all that fruity goodness seems impossible to resist, you can easily grab a box of 12 online.
Mackintosh’s Toffee (Canada)
Dating back more than 100 years, this Canadian twist on British butterscotch was recently on a brief hiatus, but has burst back onto the supermarket shelves to the sounds of cheering Canadians. Mackintosh’s comes in bar, chunk, and soft caramel versions, but the buttery taste of condensed milk is consistent across all varieties. The impatient can indulge in a vigorous action called “Smack the Mack” — it’s exactly what it sounds like: smashing the candy bar with something hard to break it into small, suckable pieces. Just make sure you get to the biggest piece before someone else.
Ouma Rusks (South Africa)
Rusks — oven-dried and hardened bread or cake — have a long history in South Africa as a food of sailors, soldiers, and everyone in between. One brand, Ouma Rusks, has a place in many South African hearts (and breakfast tables). The most beloved flavor is buttermilk, and the delicate balance between sweetness and yeastiness makes rusks ideal for dipping in a milky cup of tea.
Ouma Rusks are a crunchy national treasure, but they were born out of hard times. In the 1930s, the Great Depression ravaged rural South Africa, and to spur the local economy in his town of Molteno, one pastor had the idea of investing in local women so they could start their own businesses. Elizabeth Ann Greyvensteyn, known locally as Ouma Nannie, seized the opportunity, using an old family rusk recipe. Her rusks, sold at church bazaars and social events, were a hit, and Elizabeth’s husband soon took them across the country. The factory remains in Molteno, producing 23 tonnes of rusk every day.
Chestnut Spread (France)
France is responsible for many of the scrumptious spreadables we have come to know and love, but it has kept sugary, nutty chestnut spread (crème de marrons) mostly to itself. Sweet chestnut trees once grew in abundance in France, and in 1885, one candied chestnut manufacturer, Clément Faugier, was seeking a way to use the by-product of broken sweet chestnuts. The nutty fragments were boiled and condensed into a purée, sugar and vanilla were added, et voilá — crème de marrons was created.
His namesake Faugier is still a best-selling brand of chestnut cream in France, stashed away in cute fine china-styled tins. You’ll find crème de marrons in the aisle next to the Nutella, marmalade, and jam — the perfect topping to your fluffy French crêpe.