What food do you miss as a Canadian or American?

525 posts in this topic

41 minutes ago, dessa_dangerous said:

@Space Cowboy not sure how it is where you live, or if these kinds of stores are even available to you but in my area when I need some heat I head to the local Turkish, Arabic, Asian, African or Indian grocer.  You might feel funny walking into an "Afro-shop" with its shelves of cocoa butter and wall of fake hair pieces but a lot of them actually do keep an assortment of food goods, including bottles of sauces as well as a freezer which may or may not contain bags of scotch bonnets, in case you were ever so inclined to chuck a handful of them into a blender with a bit of salt and oil of your choice for a nice sauce...?  Although that may not check your criterion of "easily available," hmm...

 

Thanks.  Unfortunately, Mainz is pretty provincial.  There is an "Asian" store near me, but they mostly sell tea and cheap rice.  There is no Indian grocer that I have been able to find.  I'll look for an "Afro-shop," but I won't be holding my breath in anticipation.

 

This problem extends even to the restaurants.  In a few other German cities (Berlin, Düsseldorf, Munich), I have been able to convince the restaurants to cook dishes for me to native-level spiciness.  With the exception of a nearby Vietnamese restaurant, I have struck out here.  One Indian restaurant owner even told me straight up that he wouldn't do it because he was afraid the smell of a "London Hot" dish would scare off other patrons.

 

The worst thing was that in a couple of places they told me they'd make the dish properly spicy, but didn't, choosing instead to bring me dried chili flakes that I could ladle on to the dish myself.  That is not the way to do it.

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41 minutes ago, Space Cowboy said:

 

Thanks.  Unfortunately, Mainz is pretty provincial.  There is an "Asian" store near me, but they mostly sell tea and cheap rice.  There is no Indian grocer that I have been able to find.  I'll look for an "Afro-shop," but I won't be holding my breath in anticipation.

 

This problem extends even to the restaurants.  In a few other German cities (Berlin, Düsseldorf, Munich), I have been able to convince the restaurants to cook dishes for me to native-level spiciness.  With the exception of a nearby Vietnamese restaurant, I have struck out here.  One Indian restaurant owner even told me straight up that he wouldn't do it because he was afraid the smell of a "London Hot" dish would scare off other patrons.

 

The worst thing was that in a couple of places they told me they'd make the dish properly spicy, but didn't, choosing instead to bring me dried chili flakes that I could ladle on to the dish myself.  That is not the way to do it.

 

Frankfurt has a couple of good Indian and Asian shops right by the Bahnhof. I agree some hot sauces can not be found, but Munich (where I am now) has my favorite (Valentina). I do wish I was able to get the sauces they have on “Hot Ones.” 

 

As for getting food hot in a restaurant, I have the same problem. I really have to convince them. I always say extra hot and about 7 out of 10 times I get what I want. The other times they look at me and laugh. 

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1 hour ago, Space Cowboy said:

choosing instead to bring me dried chili flakes that I could ladle on to the dish myself

 

chili flakes I could at least work with.  It's when they bring you the little dish of sambal ölek or point to the nasty jar of it already rotting away on your table.  Jesus wept.

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1 hour ago, klingklang77 said:

 

Frankfurt has a couple of good Indian and Asian shops right by the Bahnhof. I agree some hot sauces can not be found, but Munich (where I am now) has my favorite (Valentina). I do wish I was able to get the sauces they have on “Hot Ones.” 

 

As for getting food hot in a restaurant, I have the same problem. I really have to convince them. I always say extra hot and about 7 out of 10 times I get what I want. The other times they look at me and laugh. 

 

Good to know - I'll take a look next time I am in Frankfurt.

 

I am familiar with Valentina - from my perspective, it is what Tabasco *should* be (but isn't).  Nice to know you have it available to you.

 

I've learned the hard way not to go to Asian restaurants of any variety with Germans.  One incident in particular stands out - a Bekannter learned from me that I like spicy dishes, and he claimed to also like spicy food ("...unlike most Germans," he said) so he offered to take me to his favorite Asian restaurant. 

 

We both ordered the same dish, advertised as the spiciest on the menu.  I thought he was going to die - he was gasping, choking, sweating, the whole "chili overload" thing.  It was one of the mildest dishes I've had.

 

Another time I was taken to a Thai place in Aachen - stellar reviews, etc.  It was the worst Thai food I have ever eaten in my life.

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1 hour ago, dessa_dangerous said:

 

chili flakes I could at least work with.  It's when they bring you the little dish of sambal ölek or point to the nasty jar of it already rotting away on your table.  Jesus wept.

 

Lol - who even thinks that stuff is hot, other than Germans?

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22 minutes ago, Space Cowboy said:

 

Good to know - I'll take a look next time I am in Frankfurt.

 

I am familiar with Valentina - from my perspective, it is what Tabasco *should* be (but isn't).  Nice to know you have it available to you.

 

I've learned the hard way not to go to Asian restaurants of any variety with Germans.  One incident in particular stands out - a Bekannter learned from me that I like spicy dishes, and he claimed to also like spicy food ("...unlike most Germans," he said) so he offered to take me to his favorite Asian restaurant. 

 

We both ordered the same dish, advertised as the spiciest on the menu.  I thought he was going to die - he was gasping, choking, sweating, the whole "chili overload" thing.  It was one of the mildest dishes I've had.

 

Another time I was taken to a Thai place in Aachen - stellar reviews, etc.  It was the worst Thai food I have ever eaten in my life.

 

Well, you can also get Valentina (the extra spicy one is my go to; I sometimes wake up to a nice spoonful of that in the morning and that’s it) off of Amazon. I had to do that when the taco place (Condesa— it’s really, really good; one of my Mexican students suggested it) was closed at the beginning of the pandemic. 

 

I forget the name of the exact street in Frankfurt, but if you look on a map and type in Asian markt you will get a fair bit of results. I also forget the exact name, but in my head I know how to get there. 

 

I like Spice Mountain in London because they have a really nice naga curry spice mix. Might be worth a try. 

 

And yes, chili flakes are nothing. However, I did get a nice Piri Piri on Amazon once. 

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One thing (of many) I miss is a nice jerk spice mix. If you don't know, it's a Jamaican spice mix whose key ingredients can slightly vary, but include at least allspice/pimento, scotch bonnet peppers and thyme, and then usually also some degree of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, maybe some brown sugar. 

 

Traditionally jerked meats are cooked over smoking wood coals so you get a nice smokey profile too, but modern mixes usually add some kind of smoked salt or something else. Dry rubs are more traditional I think, but you can get wet sauces too. In the Toronto area, every grocery store has some in their spice aisle, or you can just go to a Caribbean shop. 

 

Here, in my 10 years here, I think I have once seen jerk spice in a store. Over the years, I have ordered versions from IIRC four different online German spice companies to compare. All pretty forgettable. One was a completely pulverized yellow-brown powder, which made me whimper in defeat. The one I have now is decent, probably the best to date. They add some dried mango powder which gives a slight interesting zing, but is absolutely not hot enough, and the thyme is too freakin' twiggy (at least it's not a powder). I bought a baggie of dried chipotles from a Mexican market last time back home, and I usually add some crushed up to my jerk mix to give it more oomph. Jerked chicken thighs with jerked cubed pumpkin or squash, mmmmmmmm.

 

Another thing I miss is root beer. I don't know why, I never drank it excessively back home and I cut back on pop many years ago, but somehow it's just a strong hankering. I would probably chug a 2 litre bottle in an afternoon if you gave it to me now.

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56 minutes ago, alderhill said:

I don't know why, I never drank it excessively back home

 

This is so true of the crappier end of food stuffs from 'back home' - there's all sorts of actual rubbish which I was never interested in, which suddenly become a 'thing' once they are no longer easy to source.

 

And then there's Twiglets. Boy those were great :P

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1 hour ago, alderhill said:

One thing (of many) I miss is a nice jerk spice mix. If you don't know, it's a Jamaican spice mix whose key ingredients can slightly vary, but include at least allspice/pimento, scotch bonnet peppers and thyme, and then usually also some degree of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, maybe some brown sugar. 

 

Have you considered mixing your own? You already know the spices that are included and what you like.

 

Spicebar has a mixer that allows you to order your own customised spice blends. Although I haven't used the mixer yet, I have bought their spices before. 

 

https://www.spicebar.de/mixen/mixbar

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2 hours ago, alderhill said:

Another thing I miss is root beer. I don't know why, I never drank it excessively back home and I cut back on pop many years ago, but somehow it's just a strong hankering. I would probably chug a 2 litre bottle in an afternoon if you gave it to me now.

 

A buddy of mine showed up at my place one day with two small cans of American Root Beer (an off-brand I had never heard of).  It was like drinking liquid gold.

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On 10/13/2020, 12:18:15, klingklang77 said:

 

As for getting food hot in a restaurant, I have the same problem. I really have to convince them. I always say extra hot and about 7 out of 10 times I get what I want. The other times they look at me and laugh. 

 

You should try Hindura Indisches near trudering. I asked for it hot, they said after a while  1 chilli or 2 chilli or 3 chilli, I got 3 chilli, that was very hot/spicy - I will be going back

 

 

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On 13/10/2020, 13:18:15, klingklang77 said:

As for getting food hot in a restaurant, I have the same problem. I really have to convince them. I always say extra hot and about 7 out of 10 times I get what I want. The other times they look at me and laugh. 

 

Try using the German description 'naturscharf'

 

HTH

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If I was Canadian...  I think I'd miss Poutine, Nova Scotian lobster rolls, and Montreal style bagels, not to mention a Saskatoon berry pie.. yum yum...  But I'm not Canadian. I can only imagine what foods a Canadian misses.

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2 hours ago, yesterday said:

 

You should try Hindura Indisches near trudering. I asked for it hot, they said after a while  1 chilli or 2 chilli or 3 chilli, I got 3 chilli, that was very hot/spicy - I will be going back

 

Did you order takeout or eat at the restaurant?

The Munich Curry Night is always looking for new Indian restaurants with tasty food and the ability to supply heat when required!

 

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I have made some halfway competent jerk seasoning on my own and it tasted good to me but I'm by no means overfamiliar with Jamaican cuisine (read: it was definitely good, but it might not have been great).  As engelchen noted, the spices themselves are pretty readily available here, you just have to put them into the right order.  

 

Was blown away by the schawarma and falafel I made following recipes I got off the internet.  Now when I buy either in a restaurant, I do it for convenience, since it definitely tastes much better at home.  Sadly, that has been the case with almost all non-German restaurants, but on the up side, I have taught myself how to make every cuisine I like except for Ethiopian.  I'm too impatient for all of that.  But the ingredients are there!  I could even source teff flour if I wanted to (my neighborhood rocks)

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I do miss cheesesteak on the south street, but deep inside what I want most is a Wawa all-beef hot dog with a big cup of Hazelnut coffee.

OMG, it is a torture to talk about Philly food at this time of day, which they should put it into Geneva Convention and forbid forever.

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17 hours ago, dessa_dangerous said:

I have made some halfway competent jerk seasoning on my own and it tasted good to me but I'm by no means overfamiliar with Jamaican cuisine (read: it was definitely good, but it might not have been great).  As engelchen noted, the spices themselves are pretty readily available here, you just have to put them into the right order.  

 

Was blown away by the schawarma and falafel I made following recipes I got off the internet.  Now when I buy either in a restaurant, I do it for convenience, since it definitely tastes much better at home.  Sadly, that has been the case with almost all non-German restaurants, but on the up side, I have taught myself how to make every cuisine I like except for Ethiopian.  I'm too impatient for all of that.  But the ingredients are there!  I could even source teff flour if I wanted to (my neighborhood rocks)

 

Ethiopian food (Dora wat (spelling?) especially) has been on my list for ages, but it intimidates me. I also think I would wind up spending double the price of it in a restaurant. I have been to some really good inexpensive restaurants in Germany. Let me know if you ever decide to do it and find a great recipe. 

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On 13/10/2020, 13:25:57, Space Cowboy said:

The worst thing was that in a couple of places they told me they'd make the dish properly spicy, but didn't, choosing instead to bring me dried chili flakes that I could ladle on to the dish myself.  That is not the way to do it.

 

And they know that. They know the spices and oils must be cooked into the foods. They would never cook a bland dish and ladle on dry chili flakes or accept somebody else doing it to them. 

 

But they view it as the safer option. You're just a whitey who knows nothing about food, probably doesn't want it spicy anyway, and if you really do, you'll just ladle on the chili flakes and thus honour is saved.

 

And they smile & say: I brought you extra chili as if they are doing you a huge favour, as if their idea is brilliant.

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I miss the farmers market ice cream cakes back in NS, Canada. Hmm chocolate chips, big packages of things, and coffee creamer. There were a few other things I thought I missed but after visiting last year (I have only been here about 2.5 years), I discovered the food tasted excessively sweet and not as great as I imagined it. Do they load food more with sugar in North America or what? 

 

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27 minutes ago, Narjiz said:

Do they load food more with sugar in North America or what? 

 

I think so. I can't even eat cake or brownies or things like that over there. Too sweet yet I used to like it. 

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