14 Foods That Are Hard for Americans to Find Abroad

We regret all those times we took ranch dressing for granted.

By Katie Lockhart


Photo by: James Roman ©J-Roman

James Roman, J-Roman

Whether you’re spending a few months studying in Paris, relocating to Southeast Asia or just backpacking for a year, you’ll soon realize it’s not easy to get some of your favorite snacks from the U.S. I’m a full-time digital nomad and I’ve been traveling outside of the country for over a year. These are just a few of the foods that I and my fellow American travelers have struggled to find in supermarkets and convenience stores outside of the States.

Tostitos Chips and Salsa

The delicious combination of salty corn chips paired with a spicy tomato salsa is one of the best party foods around. But outside of the U.S., it's nearly impossible to find this iconic brand. I did find it in Singapore and the Philippines, though, and I stocked up! Keep your eyes peeled.

Ranch Dressing

It’s well known around the world that American millennials are obsessed with ranch dressing. But when you’re away from home, it's near impossible to get your hands on Hidden Valley Ranch dressing packets or any other brand, so make sure you pack some with you if you’ll need your fix while away.


Many outside of the United States have never even heard of this classic summertime treat, and it's a challenge to find a few of the major components of a s’more, especially graham crackers. It’s also not easy to locate marshmallows big enough to roast over an open fire.

Buffalo Chicken Wings

Photo by: David Kadlec ©2014, David Kadlec. All rights reserved.

David Kadlec, 2014, David Kadlec. All rights reserved.

Buffalo Wings

You’ll see these listed in restaurants around the world, but trust me, these aren’t the wings you’re used to buffalo. The sauce is never quite right, and you’re always disappointed after you take a bite. It’s near impossible for chefs outside the U.S. to master the tangy flavor of the Buffalo sauce.


These addictive cheddar cheese snacks are a no-show in stores outside the United States. I’ve searched for them in Tokyo and other Asian cities with no luck. Instead, they simply have to get mailed in a care package.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

It’s hard to buy the majority of iconic American breakfast cereals outside the aisles of U.S. supermarkets. I’ve seen the classics like Lucky Charms once or twice, but this cinnamon sugar delight is elusive. You might have to get used to a less sugary alternative. RIP.

Peanut butter snack. Spoon in a jar of peanut butter.


Peanut butter snack. Spoon in a jar of peanut butter.

Photo by: NoDerog


Peanut Butter

There are several different types of peanut butter beginning to pop up around the world. But for expats and digital nomads living abroad, childhood favorites like the taste of Jif and Peter Pan are nowhere to be found.

Rice Krispies Treats

This sweet after-school snack and lunch box addition is beloved among Americans. But once you depart you won’t be able to find it elsewhere or its key ingredient, marshmallow.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

It’s not just peanut butter that people from the United States struggle to find away from home; its tasty candy counterpart is also a difficult buy. You may get lucky in some European countries and Australia, but don’t hold your breath elsewhere.


Photo by: LOVE_LIFE



Surprisingly, blueberries are not widely grown around the world. It’s rare to see them in Asia and Africa and they’re much less abundant in other countries. Even if you can get your hands on them, you might have to pay a pretty penny.


This Tex-Mex favorite isn’t as popular outside of the 50 states. In fact, many expats say the food they miss the most is quality Tex-Mex. So it’s no wonder this cheesy, spicy mixture isn’t a thing anywhere else.


Photo by: Jeff Harris ©Hearst Communications Inc., 2012

Jeff Harris, Hearst Communications Inc., 2012

Trader Joe’s Products

Can you imagine living without Mandarin Orange Chicken? What about TJ’s Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip? There are no Trader Joe’s stores outside the U.S., so it’s impossible to get their best creations when you’re not at home.

Ben & Jerry’s

One of the country’s best ice cream brands can be tricky to find in frozen foods sections around the world. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot a Phish Food or a Cherry Garcia, but you’ll pay a small fortune for a pint.

York Peppermint Patties

These refreshing after-dinner candies aren’t popular elsewhere. Sure you may see mint and chocolate combos in other countries, but they’ll leave you chasing that perfect peppermint flavor from your childhood.

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