My 7 favorite snack foods, treats and addictions when traveling

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ December 22nd, 2011. Updated on July 8th, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Food around the world.
Red dragon fruit

Does fresh fruit figure into anyone's list ... emmm ... no!

Snacks, treats and all those little things we miss when traveling

I’ll be the first one to admit that I get cravings. I think we all do? But when traveling, especially long-term, or when living abroad, I think these little addictions become far more evident!

Yes, I’ve eaten some great food from around the world. But I still sneak out to the local big supermarket chain and buy the occasional stockpile of much-needed treats. What are they? Well, along with some other traveler addictions I’ve listed them below!

My 7 top snack food / treats when traveling

7. A big burger

A big burger

A big burger is sometimes all you want ... no matter how greasy?

I might be surrounded by great exotic food. But sometimes all I really want to do is chomp on down on a cheese burger and fries.

6. Chocolate bars

Selection of Kit Kats

The most popular chocolate bar in the world?

After a long day out and about sometimes I just need a quick sugar fix! Kit-Kats rank as the world’s number one chocolate bar for a reason.

5. A good beer

A cold relaxing beer

A cold relaxing beer

The emphasis here is on the word “Good”. Most countries have their own brand, some good, some not so good. On a hot evening, there’s sometimes nothing better to relax back with cold one. I’m off beer for now, but it’s something that still ranks up there with relaxing back with a treat.

4. Potato Chips

Opened can of Pringle potato chips

Pringle's once you pop ...

Sometimes you just want something crunchy and salty. Peanuts never seem to do. And Pringle’s usually do the trick.

3. Coffee

Cup of Coffee

Nothing like a cup of coffee ...

Is there nothing more enjoyable than taking a time out in an air-conditioned coffee-house. Relax back in a cafe filled with the smells of rich coffee, freshly baked cakes all set to ambient chill out music. Slouch back in a comfy chair and browse some high-speed internet. It’s the new half a world away for the long-term traveler.

2. Cheese

Cheese and olives

Cheese for long-term travelers and expats ranks way up there!

Ask any western expat or long-term traveler what they miss most and cheese becomes a rather fevered conversational topic. This applies heavily to Africa and Asia where the mere mention of good cheese will set a fire under most expat foreigners as they salivate in front of you.

1. Chocolate (Quality Dark or Milk )

Rich dark chocolate

Rich dark chocolate ranks as my number one treat on the road

Note the world quality here again. No exports from China allowed, no giant commercial brands. We are talking rich 85-90% pure dark chocolate slabs wrapped in shiny protective foil here. Along with creamy smooth melt in your mouth chunks of sweet milk chocolate goodness. No artificial flavorings, colorings or sweeteners to be found. Finding pure chocolate heaven like this is often a challenge when traveling. But when you do, you tend to buy a stockpile and hide it away. A hard thing to do in hot countries!

Top travel treats and most missed foods by nationality

I’ve taken a few personal polls when traveling from travelers of different nationalities when we’ve been in groups. It’s a popular conversation starter. Here’s a list of what foods people from different nationalities miss the most when traveling abroad:

Sliced meats and bread

Sliced meats and fresh bread ... many a nations most missed foods!

  • French: Cheese
  • North Americans: Potatoes chips
  • British: Chocolate
  • Nigerians: Amala / pounded yam
  • Spanish: Serrano / Chorizo
  • Filipinos: Dried Fish
  • Israeli: Tahini  /coffee
  • Nepalese: Dal Bhat
  • Germans: Dried meat / beer
  • Malaysians: Nasi Lemak
  • Indonesians: Fish
  • Dutch: Cheese and Beer
  • Slovenians: Sausage
  • Polish: Beer
  • Indians: Rice
  • Italians: Good Coffee

I’ve added a few close seconds to the list as it’s from conversations rather than statistical charts!

Interestingly many Australians didn’t seem to miss anything. Vegemite came up a lot along with a few crude words.

It’s worth a mention, but many, many ladies mentioned they missed vegetarian food when traveling.

Coffee ranked number two with North Americans, and yes I was surprised that potatoes chips really ranked so high.

The British seemed rather perplexed by all this and would usually settle on their mum’s cooking followed by chocolate.

What food expats miss the most:

On a slightly different twist, expats or people living abroad for long periods generally missed the following:

  • Cheese
  • Coffee
  • Beef
  • Biscuits
  • Good pasta
  • Pizza
  • Specific confectionery

The most popular snack food or treat when traveling is …

As you can see from the small poll on snacks, foods and treats people from different parts of the world miss the most beer & meant seems to rank high. Bread is something that also continuously popped up as a second and third most missed food. At least among “westerners” anyway.

Interestingly beer was never an issue with expats.

But in terms of sheer numbers; chocolate wins out overall for everyone. Which is a good thing in my book!

Have you got a favorite snack food you can’t live without, or miss when traveling or living abroad?

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31 Great responses to My 7 favorite snack foods, treats and addictions when traveling

  1. hayadith says:

    heyy..this is different kind of post..

    personally, as Malaysian, food i miss the most would be roti canai. And teh tarik.

    Ehem..btw, fresh fruit is on my list! and the purple dragon fruit above is my fav. Dunno if it’s true but ppl says it can kills cancer cells. hmm..

    Miss any malaysian food yet, dave?

    • Roti Canai … I miss that! The soft buttery one. They have roti over here, but it’s like bread :( I miss fruit shakes too. But then again, the naan over here is good :)

      Have a good Holiday Hayadith, thanks for all your support in 2011! It’s always been great to see your comments.

      I’ve a few things scheduled over the next couple of weeks, other than that, see you in 2012!! :)

  2. whenever I am travelling my pizza consumption goes through the roof! lol

  3. James says:

    French Fries. I can always end up craving French Fries. No idea why as back home I rarely touch them.

  4. Anna's World says:

    Chocolate all the way here too. Confession, I pack tea bags when traveling :)

  5. Hans says:

    Marshmallows … Even when not traveling! Have a good Christmas.

  6. chocolate, and mochacinos the way I MAKE Them, on my gaggia! LOL!

  7. Roxanne says:

    I love, love, love the concept of this post. My favorite comfort food worldwide is popcorn — it is also one of my favorite new words to learn in every language. It always seems to be as joyous as the sound of the kernels popping. Also high on the list of comfort food: chai lattes, muffins or baked goods of sorts, and good pasta. I most often miss baked goods and frothy milk in beverages when they are unavailable…

    • I think that I’ll need to hire you as my executive “better blog title” consultant! Comfort food is far more apt.

      I like popcorn too (who doesn’t), but I don’t like the over processed types in SEA Malls. And after that it’s a DIY job.

      I hear you with the baked goods. And, pasta. Real pasta. And fresh milk! Better stop, getting cravings.

      Have a good holiday, and see you in 2012!

      P.S. I’m giving you a shout out on a post scheduled for the 26th, just mentioning it as I’ll be offline!

  8. mandy says:

    Once I bought a bar of chocolate before departing KL airport, upon arriving at Cambodia and checked in to the guesthouse, I thought I had bought chocolate paste! Just have to throw it away without even opening.

  9. flipnomad says:

    whenever i go on a long road trip, i always bring pringles with me :-) sour cream and original :-)

  10. iamthewitch says:

    I love your list! Especially Kit Kat and Chocolates! Which girl doesn’t? :P And I agree with you on Nasi Lemak too, but of course, there are plenty of others which are very close! :D

  11. David Urmann says:

    A burger sounds more like a meal… still a great list

  12. There’s 3 foods I deeply missed. In Korea, I missed Smarties candies and Falafel. I scoured Korea for that falafel until I found it. Smarties, I needed mailed up. Korean candy just didn’t do it for me as much.

    Interestingly, I’ve found chocolates almost every country I’ve traveled to so far, but I’m a pure sugar gal.

    India for 3 months– I missed fresh fruits (and green salads). After a while, you just want fresh stuff without having to worry about whether its clean or safe. Hence, I directed my trip to Thailand immediately after, based on this craving.

    • I hear your with green veg and fruit. Always amazed me how hard it was/is to get them in a place that grows so much!

      Chocolate … hmmm something like Hershey’s doesn’t do it for me. I need pure chocolate :)

    • David Urmann says:

      India has lots of great fresh fruits and vegetables. I have been living in the country off and on for 5 years and never been sick. I do wash and/or peel them especially lettuce but I do this anyways so its nothing really different. If your worried wash in a solution of bleach or use some vinegar to wipe down. On the plus side a lot of the vegetables are grown locally so they are not as full of chemicals pesticides.

  13. Poppie says:

    I missed Vegemite and also found it difficult in most places in UK & Europe to buy rice pasta. Wheat intolerant soul that I am!
    Found it hard to get a HOT coffee anywhere O/Seas.

    Loved the fresh beautiful food with heaps of salad, even in mid winter and the awesome goulash soup, filled with many vegies and meat in Austria.

    Regardless, it is an experience.

    • Rice pasta, yea I’m guessing it might be available in a few Asian delicatesants under another name? e.g. pancit

      Hot coffee is true in the sense that in many hot places they keep putting ice cubes in it and ruining the flavor!

  14. Alf Welch says:

    Iam happy if I can get cashew nuts and any kind of cheese.
    Mars bars are a favourite too. Strong teabags are always in the case.

  15. Loeffle says:

    Great lists…

    When coming home from a business trip to Norway I miss virtually everything “German”. Real coffee, good meat, bread, joghurt…
    Coming back from Asia I wasn’t missing that much. Maybe it’s bread again and good homemade jam in addition to some pretty regional stuff.

    Now being back in Europe I miss “Milo” and all the Asian mee dishes.

  16. Oh my god, I miss the chorizo in Spain so much too. Also their churros con chocolate!