Fare Trade

Few things are as essential to any world culture as its food. Despite increased globalization of many popular food brands, tastes and basic ingredients alike still vary wildly between countries, so a stroll through the supermarket can yield vastly different snack foods depending on where the store is. With so many exotic food products yet to reach U.S. shores and grocery shelves, we’re highlighting a few of the tastiest examples from around the world.

A dutchie from Tim Hortons2 / 41
A dutchie from Tim Hortons by wctaiwan (CC BY-SA)

Dutchie

Find it in: Canada
The Dutchie is a Tim Horton’s original, and thus found only in Canada. The popular glazed doughnut made with yeast and raisins was one of the chain’s original offerings upon opening in 1964, and its popularity has only been bolstered since it was made into a limited-time-only offering. Americans curious about the Canadian confection can try making their own at home.

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Amazon

Frazzles

Find it in: U.K.
Despite Americans’ unabashed love for bacon, they still don’t have access to this popular corn-based snack from the U.K., which are small wavy crisps made to resemble and taste like bacon. They’re smoky, salty, notoriously addictive, and even safe for vegetarians to consume.

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©TripAdvisor

Pork Floss Dunkin’ Donuts

Find it in: China
Dunkin’ may be a U.S. company, but it’s reserved its most unusual flavors for the Chinese market, for which sweet breakfasts are still an oddity. Among the varieties of doughnut offered at a Beijing location are enticing oddities made with seaweed, chili oil, and pork floss, a sort of savory, pig-derived cotton candy.

Weird Lay's Flavors5 / 41
Amazon

Find it in: Canada, UK, China
Lay’s, a U.S. company, has found far more success creating unconventional potato chip flavors abroad. While it struggled to market short-lived flavors such as cappuccino, tikka masala, and beer n’ brats to consumers here, it’s already created staples elsewhere such as garlic Caesar in Canada, wasabeef in Japan, fish soup in China, or prawn cocktail and crispy duck in the U.K.

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United States Customs and Border Protection

Kinder Surprise

Find it: Worldwide
Also called Kinder Eggs, this Italian treat consists of a hollow chocolate egg containing a toy inside and is famous all over the world for its unique concept. The candies were banned here for posing a potential choking hazard. The Kinder Joy variety (the toy is separate from the dessert) is now available widely in the United States, while the Kinder Surprise is still banned.

An 80 gram, pure ruby chocolate bar7 / 41
An 80 gram, pure ruby chocolate bar by Zacharie Grossen (CC BY-SA)

Ruby Chocolate

Find it in: Switzerland
Swiss company Barry Callebaut introduced this latest variety of chocolate in September 2017, and it hasn’t yet been made regularly available in U.S. stores (Trader Joe’s had ruby chocolate-dipped wafers available for a limited time in 2019, and it can be tracked down through speciality retailers). Made from special ruby cocoa beans, ruby chocolate is said to have a fruity, sour-yet-sweet flavor almost nothing like other chocolate varieties. It’s something chocoholics are sure to celebrate. For Kit Kat connoisseurs in Japan, however, it’s a different story …

Regional Kit Kat Display (2010)8 / 41
Regional Kit Kat Display (2010) by jpellgen (@1179_jp) (CC BY-NC-ND)

Crazy Kit Kat Flavors

Find it in: Japan
Nestle’s Kit Kats have become Japan’s most popular confectionery treat, often accompanying gifts for school-aged children. To capitalize, Kit Kat has a huge selection of flavors available in Japan but not elsewhere — except occasionally in Japanese markets and specialty shops — including the well-known green tea variety as well as cherry blossom, grilled potato, adzuki bean, fruit parfait, and Muscat. The limited edition “Kit Kat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby” featuring the new ruby chocolate debuted in Japan in 2019.

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McAloo Tikki Burger by Russ (CC BY-NC-ND)

Find it in: India
The McAloo Tikki Burger is one of McDonald’s most successful attempts to adapt its menu for the palates of Indian diners. The meatless burger is made with a patty of potato, peas, and breadcrumbs topped with onions, tomato, and sweet mayo. Americans curious about this icon of Indian fast food can seek relatively easy copycat recipes online.

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Alfajores by jamieanne (CC BY-ND)

Alfajores

Find it in: Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay
Imported from Spain and popular in South America since the mid-19th century, alfajores are confectionary sandwich cookies traditionally filled with dulce de leche, but produced with many variations. They’re most popular in Argentina, where the melt-in-your-mouth treats can be found at convenience stores and specialty kiosks across the country.

HP Sauce11 / 41
World Market

HP Sauce

Find it in: U.K., Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand
The U.K.’s most distinguished condiment is named after the British Houses of Parliament and has a tangy taste best paired with savory foods such breakfast sausages, fish and chips, or thick-cut British bacon. U.S. consumers can either pay to order the sauce online, or replace it with the somewhat-comparable A-1 Steak Sauce.

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Snack Hawaii

Coco Jazz

Find it in: Thailand
Coconuts lend themselves well to snacking chips, especially since this popular Thai foodstuff uses a low-heat technique called "amber roasting" to preserve the fruit’s natural taste and texture after cooking. Coco Jazz chips can sometimes be bought online and sometimes in Hawaiian supermarkets.

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Biltong Stokkies by Jamsta (CC BY-SA)

Biltong

Find it in: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana
Biltong is jerky, but not just beef. This form of cured, dried meat comes made from chicken, fish, ostrich, and wildebeest, as well as the standard beef from sirloin or other high-quality cuts. Also distinct from American jerky in thickness and the addition of vinegar in curing, biltong is common in butcher shops and grocery stores throughout Southern Africa.

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Cadbury Crème Egg14 / 41
Amazon

Find it: Nearly everywhere but the United States
Another egg-shaped European confection unavailable here, Cadbury Crème Eggs are chocolate eggs filled with white-and-orange frosting resembling the yolk of a chicken eggs, especially popular in the U.K. around Easter. In 2015, Hershey effectively blocked importation of British Cadbury Crème Eggs into to prevent competition with its own, less-sweet American-made version.

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Amazon

Cadbury Flake

Find it in: U.K., Ireland, Australia, South Africa
Made from thinly folded milk chocolate, the Flake is another British sweet difficult to find in its original form on American shores, since Hershey has license to produce its own Cadbury products and blocks imports to avoid "brand confusion." For proof of the products’ differences, look no further than the first ingredient, which is milk in the British Flake, but sugar in the American one.

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World Market

Coffee Crisp

Find it in: Canada
A Canadian original now owned by Nestle, Coffee Crisp is a milk chocolate bar filled with alternating layers of vanilla wafer and coffee-flavored candy. Fans petitioned Nestle to begin marketing the bars in the United States in 2006, but the effort didn’t last; now Americans can typically only find Coffee Crisps imported in shops near the northern border.

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SellOnlineMarketing/istockphoto

Clotted Cream

Find it in: U.K.
With taste like a hybrid between whipped cream and butter, clotted cream is a popular, deliciously fatty accompaniment in southwest England for scones and biscuits, as well as the essential component of an afternoon meal known as "cream tea." Its high saturated fat content would have it classified as butter in the United States, if it could ever be found here except as an expensive import.

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Amazon

Chocoballs

Find it in: Japan, Taiwan
A popular childhood treat in Japan and Taiwan, Chocoballs are chocolate-covered candies with chewy caramel cores, though they also come with peanut and strawberry flavors, among others. The packaging comes with a beak-shaped opening to dispense the bite-sized chocolates, in reference to the candy’s popular cartoon bird mascot Kyoro-chan.

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Golden Gaytime by Samuel Wiki (CC BY)

Golden Gaytime

Find it in: Australia
Sold as Cookie Crumble in New Zealand, Golden Gaytime is a popular Australian frozen dessert made from vanilla and toffee-flavored ice creams enrobed in chocolate and honeycomb cookies. The manufacturing company has also released Golden Gaytimes in ice-cream tub and Cornetto-style formats, but never in the United States.

A close-up of the bar's honeycomb centre.20 / 41
A close-up of the bar’s honeycomb centre. by Adambro (CC BY)

Crunchie

Find it in: U.K., Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa
Crunchies are chocolate bars filled with honeycomb toffee widely available in most English-speaking countries, but rarely outside of New York City in the United States. A bourbon-flavored Crunchie was launched in test markets around Nashville, Tennessee, in 2003, but was quickly discontinued due to religious boycotts.

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Amazon

Mackintosh’s Toffee

Find it in: U.K., Canada
With a recipe dating back more than 100 years to Halifax, England, Mackintosh’s Toffee is renowned in Canada and the U.K. for its caramel flavor and "not-too-hard, not-too-soft" texture. The candy is now owned and marketed by Nestle Canada, but can’t be found in the United States except through online importers or specialty candy shops.

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Nanaimo Bars by Edward Kimber (CC BY-NC-ND)

Nanaimo Bar

Find it in: Canada
Another of Canada’s signature sweets in the Nanaimo bar, a no-bake dessert bar named for a British Columbia town and layered with wafer, chocolate, and custard icing. Sometimes named as the nation’s most popular confectionary, Nanaimo bars are found at bakeshops throughout Canada, but can be made at home elsewhere.

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Walmart

Jos. Louis

Find it in: Canada
Invented in 1932 and named rather awkwardly after two of the creator’s sons, the Jos. Louis is a plastic-wrapped red velvet cake-flavored confection with cream fillings and soft chocolate shell, sometimes sold in bar form. The closest things one can find in the United States are Entenmann’s Enten-mini’s chocolate half-rounds, which come instead in half-moon shapes.

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Amazon

Ribena

Find it in: U.K.
Blackcurrant is a popular flavoring in the U.K., and the base for a widespread soft drink called Ribena, available in carbonated and non-carbonated versions, long regarded as a healthy beverage for children before scandals drew attention to its high-sugar content and lack of real fruit juice. Nonetheless, it’s still beloved in England and all-but-nonexistent here.

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Amazon

Percy Pig

Find it in: U.K.
Percy Pigs are fruit-flavored gummies manufactured in Germany but popular primarily in the U.K., shaped like pigs and even made with a bit of pork in the form of gelatin —though a vegetarian form was released in 2011. There are international imitations of the popular Percy Pig, including Canada’s "Juiced Up," but unfortunately none in the United States.

 Mokiko Kracie Popin Cookin - Sushi Candy Making Kit / クラシエポッピンクッキンお菓子すし26 / 41
Mokiko Kracie Popin Cookin – Sushi Candy Making Kit / クラシエポッピンクッキンお菓子すし by

Find it in: Japan
These tasty Japanese novelty kits let you make your own sweets resembling miniature versions of other foods, from doughnuts to savory favorites such as sushi, fish cakes, and cheeseburgers. Each Kracie Popin’ Cookin’ includes a tray and spoon to mix the dried ingredients with water, and select kits can be bought online with shipping for less than $5.

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Kalles Kaviar by Petey21 (None)

Kalles Kaviar

Find it in: Sweden, Finland
Gourmet condiments in tubes are all the rage in Scandinavia, and Kalles Kaviar is a particularly popular Swedish brand of smörgåskaviar, a fish roe made from cod eggs, differing from common sturgeon and salmon caviars. It can sometimes be found at Ikea locations internationally, but usually not with the same variety of caviar flavors such as dill, cream cheese, and gold (with rum).

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Desire by Judit Klein (CC BY-ND)

Túró Rudi

Find it in: Hungary, Russia
Túró Rudi, which translates roughly to "curd bar," is a popular Hungarian candy bar made with real curd cheese coated in a thin chocolate layer — artificial in Túró Rudis but real in competing products. The bars come in many flavors and should be refrigerated, but can be found stateside through a select few coastal retailers.

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Walmart

Champagne Cola

Find it in: Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Bahamas
Bearing little in common with champagne or cola, champagne colas are simply golden yellow soft drinks popular in the tropics of Latin America, with a flavor comparable to cream soda or bubblegum. There’s also Peru’s more vibrant, lemon verbena-derived relative Inca Kola, a big source of national pride available for purchase online or in Latin American specialty shops internationally.

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12 mm – ¹⁄₄₀₀₀ Sek. – f/4.0 by Stefan ‘Stoipi’ Seger (CC BY-NC-ND)

Skyr

Find it in: Iceland
Skyr is a sour and slightly sweet cultured dairy product technically considered cheese but widely regarded as yogurt, which has been a staple of Icelandic cuisine for centuries, usually served with milk and topped with sugar. It made its way to America in the form one brand, siggi’s, which uses added flavors such as vanilla and strawberry to broaden the low-fat, high-protein snack’s appeal. Other brands including Smari, Icelandic Provisions, and Trader Joe’s Icelandic Skyr have joined the refrigerated section, most with similar added flavors.

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BeyondTheRoad/istockphoto

Tea Leaf Salad

Find it in: Myanmar (Burma)
By and large, Burmese cuisine has yet to infiltrate American food culture — a shame given the tastiness of their staple dish lephet, or fermented tea leaf salad. It’s made from slightly bitter tea leaves mixed with shredded cabbage, tomatoes, chili, garlic oil, and crunchy deep-fried nuts, peas, and beans. Certain southeast Asian restaurants may offer it, or it can be made at home with a few specialty ingredients.

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M&T Food Industries, Inc.

Find it in: Philippines
Sunshine Green Peas are seasoned dried peas with crunchy coatings known as an addictive favorite snack for children growing up in the Philippines. There are similar dried peas snacks available here, but not with the same variety of spicy, salty flavor as the ones found in Filipino supermarkets.

United King Namkino Mix33 / 41
Amazon

United King Namkino Mix

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Appenzeller Biberli by Adrian Michael (CC BY-SA)

Appenzeller Biberli

Find it in: Switzerland
Though not as famous as Swiss chocolates, this cookie made with gingerbread and almond-marzipan filling is just as deserving of international acclaim. Once just a treat for special occasions in the country’s eastern portion, Appenzeller Biberlis are today available online and across Switzerland in convenience stores and Migros co-op-style supermarkets, where the cookies are baked and packaged locally.

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Walmart

Osem Bamba

Find it in: Israel
Accounting for more than a quarter of the market, Israel’s best-selling snack is Osem Bamba, best described as air-baked corn puffs flavored with natural peanut butter, free from preservatives and food coloring. First made in 1964 with a more common cheese flavor, these became a national sensation upon switching to peanut butter — making peanuts 50% of the recipe — two years later.

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Subway

Veg Shammi

Find it in: India
American Subway locations have only the protein-lacking Veggie Delite to offer vegetarians, but in India, the chain’s menus cater to local palates with a wide range of meatless dishes with much more spice and substance. There are aloo potato and chana chickpea patties, as well as the specialty Veg Shammi sandwich featuring patties made with garlic, onion, and lentils.

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Amazon

Tunnock’s Teacakes

Find it in: Scotland, U.K.
From one of the oldest family firms still operating in Scotland come Tunnock’s Teacakes, shortbread biscuits topped with Italian meringue and encased in chocolate, best served with afternoon tea or coffee. The teacakes are ubiquitously popular in Scotland like most Tunnock’s sweets, but across the pond they are found only rarely through importers or British specialty shops.

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Target

Tim Tams

Find it in: Australia
Australia’s favorite snack cookies are Arnott’s Tim Tams, sandwich cookies with creamy filling between two crisp biscuits coated in chocolate. Already sold in 40 countries, they began entering U.S. stores (namely Walmart and Amazon) in 2017 with a new flavor, dark chocolate-mint, while omitting international varieties such as honeycomb, cappuccino, and cheese.

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President’s Choice

President’s Choice Poutine Chips

Find it in: Canada
President’s Choice is a premium brand in Canadian grocery stores specializing in everything from baby foods to financial services. Their distinctly Canadian foodstuffs such as poutine potato chips and maple-bacon popcorn were available in certain U.S. stores mostly in the ’80s and ’90s, but it’s become increasingly difficult since to find the products domestically.

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Umaibō by 天然ガス (CC BY-SA)

Umaibō

Find it in: Japan
Translated as "delicious stick," Umaibō is a cylindrical puffed corn snack that sells in Japan for only 10 yen (equivalent to around 10 cents) apiece. The popular snacks come in a wide variety of flavors, some sold only in select locations, including salami, vegetable salad, chocolate, and chicken curry. They’re rarely found domestically even in Japanese supermarkets, but can be found on eBay and other online stores for little more than their retail price.

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Spezi by Dougal2010 (CC BY)

Spezi

Find it in: Germany, Austria
Orange Fanta is so popular in Germany it’s even spawned a hybrid soft drink called Spezi, a mix of cola and orange soda that can also go by the name "Mezzo-Mix." You won’t find the standard glass liter bottles in American supermarkets, but it’s easy to make your own by buying the components separately.