Everyone who has lived abroad for a certain time has done it. You go to a restaurant and order Toad in the hole or rush over to those amazing looking biscuits at the café down the road with such high expectations. These are the flavours that remind you of times gone by… So much anticipation invariably means a crushing disappointment. Most familiar things taste quite different to the way you think they should. I once almost had a tantrum in Vietnam when I ordered a BLT that did not even resemble a sandwich.
Thankfully we now have the wonder of food miles, simultaneously filling us with guilt and providing us with the taste of home. We even have Marks and Spencer here (there is one in Central Rama 9 and Centralworld). Sometimes I go there just to look at biscuits. I am currently debating whether it is worth it to spend over two pounds on their basic dark chocolate digestives. I often get hunger pangs for a certain dish or type of cuisine and at the moment I am having a bit of a ‘missing snacks from home’ time.
When my father visited before Christmas he filled his suitcase with biscuits, mince pies, tea and chocolate. Decaf Earl Grey is ridiculously priced here, so I have become one of these people who uses every teabag at least twice. In my freezer are emergency Chocolate Buttons and a Crunchie. I fear the time will come when I am so crazed with desperation for Cadbury’s chocolate, so I never eat them. They are probably impossibly out of date. I would ask people to send more, but chocolate melts. There is nothing more heartbreaking than opening a package to find your buttons fused together in a big lump of milk chocolate. It is however worth noting that Green and Black’s Mayan Gold chocolate travels pretty well.
For everything you can get there are hundreds of products which just can’t be imported. Sometimes I sit at work with my ex-pat colleague and we play a cruel but very fun game of what we would most like to eat right now. On my list: Parma ham baguette from Pret a Manger, Cadbury’s Twirl, Walkers Sweet Chilli Crisps, Twiglets, Flapjack, Bourbon Creams, Green and Black’s of any kind, Starbucks skinny extra hot Chai tea lattes.
It’s not all bad news though. A new country means new snacks to discover. I can already imagine the longing I will feel for these things and I haven’t even left the country yet. Synthetic cheese flavoured crisps at only 10 Baht a pack, which also come in an eye watering spicy version, Schweppes Manao Soda – one of the best mixers for Gin, Creamo all chocolate cookies which look a bit like Oreos but in my humble British opinion taste far superior. This is without even broaching the awesomeness of the food-stalls along Sukhumvit which provide fresh coconut water, Mango Sticky rice and Banana and Chocolate Rotis (or if like me you don’t like banana – just chocolate and condensed milk, yum!).