Social media presents users with previews of highly-rated restaurants and fantastic cuisines. However, frequent flyers like to delve into grocery stores in other countries to navigate local cuisine and get a glimpse of the culture. Here are some other reasons travelers love grocery shopping abroad.
1. Candy Aisle/ Snack Aisle
Loads of travelers share that their favorite part of grocery shopping in other countries is exploring the new candy and snacks they can’t find in other places. In my opinion, British candy is the best.
My favorite chocolate from England is a stretchy, caramel-filled curly wurly followed by chocolate smarties filled with flavored chocolate, and instead of grape, purple candies are blackcurrant flavored. I adore Iceland’s black licorice, which packs a punch with a sharp but fulfilling taste.
2. New Spices
One user says a spice bag is a fantastic grocery purchase. “Pro tip – grab a bag of spices to take home. Cheap, small, light, and you’ll be motivated to try making the dishes you enjoyed when you return home. (commercially dried and bagged spices are generally OK to bring into any country AFAIK [as far as I know]).”
3. Soft Drinks
Various countries use various ingredients for soda. The United States injects its soda with high fructose corn syrup, while Mexico uses cane sugar. In Japan, flavors like lychee, matcha, ramune, and sake fill the shelves.
4. Snapshot into Local Culture
“Grocery stores and street markets give you a special window into local life. At markets, I like to look for the busy stands, watch for a bit, and then get in line,” a traveler expresses. While in Peru, I noticed all the locals lined up behind a Peruvian tamales cart, so I got behind them. I’m glad I did.
“That said, visiting local grocery stores is one of my favorite things about traveling. It offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of the locals and their culinary traditions. So much fun,” another traveler writes.
5. Unique Flavors
A wayfarer writes that while in Greece, they stumbled upon Oregano flavored Lays chips; another says they relished ketchup in Canada. Someone else writes about their experience with hot pot-flavored crisps. Have you heard of these unique flavors?
6. Not a Tourist Trap
Some tourist traps earn titles; others are money grabs for unknowing visitors. Grocery stores offer the authenticity of the country without the surge pricing found at tourist traps. You will learn what the locals eat while they shop for dinner beside you.
7. Trying Authentic Ingredients
In Amsterdam, my friends and I bought an assortment of Dutch cheeses and sprinkled them on all our dishes. We got a feel for our favorites and introduced them into our diet when we returned to the States.
8. Differing Chains
Each country offers different chains of grocery stores. England has Tesco, Japan houses AEON, and Canada hosts Loblaws. One Canadian local says they can’t wait to travel to New York City to experience Target and Trader Joe’s for the second time. My friend from the U.K. always gets Dunkin Donuts when she comes to the States since they have Starbucks and Pret across the pond.
9. Comparing Prices
A few globetrotters claim they get a kick out of comparing prices in other countries. This way, they see which ingredients the locals favor and which items are a luxury.
According to many trekkers, grocery store visits reign supreme when you think you bought one item only to find out you purchased a very, very different food or beverage.
“Happened to me once when I thought I had purchased an orange juice, but when I went to take a drink, it turned out to be some sort of a weird yogurt. It went everywhere, haha,” someone writes.
Another chimes in, “My first three vending machine purchases in Tokyo were hot drinks instead of cold drinks. I was young, and it was my first time overseas.”
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