Local Foods

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2012 • all rights reserved

One of the things that I love about travel is discovering local foods . . . things I haven’t seen before but which are a real treat, either because they taste wonderful or simply because they make life easier.

They don’t have to be from some exotic location, either — I remember my first trip to the East Coast (somewhere in the 1960’s) when I had my first fresh bagel.  YUM! (Yes, now there are good bagel shops across the country . . . but back then there weren’t.)

I’ve written a number of articles here about local foods we discovered and loved, and a list of those follows.  But what I’m really hoping is that you’ll leave a note in the comments with a food that you’ve discovered in your travels or something from your home area that others traveling there might not know about or might not know what to do with (in that case, please tell us what to do with it or leave a link!).

  • Provisioning to Cruise Mexico - Cruisers leaving the US are always wondering what they won't be able to find and tend to stuff the boat with things from the US. Do you really need to??
  • Food Allergy Labeling - Have a food allergy and thinking of cruising outside your home country? Wondering how you'll figure out labels in a foreign language? Labeling laws in most countries make it a little easier.
  • Boxed Whipping Cream - Real, true whipping cream that doesn't have to be refrigerated until you open it?? YES!
  • Chata Chilorio - Cruising Mexico? Don't miss this great bagged meat that does NOT require refrigeration until its opened. And since it's already cooked, it's perfect for a quick meal on a hot day.
  • “Alternative” Tortilla Chips - Funny thing about cruising in Mexico . . . we often couldn't find bags of tortilla chips. So we learned about even BETTER Mexican style tortilla chips!
  • 10 Great Uses for Media Crema - Media crema is half-and-half in a can. It's wonderful in lots of recipes, adding a creamy richness -- but it doesn't need to be refrigerated until it's opened!
  • How to Eat a Mango - If you've never cut and eaten a mango, it can be a little intimidating with a HUGE pit inside. Here's a easy way to do it!
  • Great Powdered Milk - Save space and weight aboard with powdered milk for your baking and cooking -- if you know where to get the good stuff, you'll be surprised at how good it is!
  • Boxed Milk - Boxed milk doesn't have to be refrigerated until it's opened, making it perfect anytime you'll be away from stores for an extended time -- or if you don't have a refrigerator!

What else can you recommend?

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  1. JayTami Klassen on Facebook says:

    well in the mid-Gulf, it’s Vietnamese food! Rice noodles of all kinds (can fix ’em with cold water!), banh xeo, char siu pork, Chinese sausage, Banh mi sandwiches, goi cuon spring rolls (the wrappers just take a cold-water dip and are called banh trang)…

  2. On a boat, mangos?

  3. Mangos can be kept from getting over ripe too quickly by storing them with lemons or limes (save refrigerator space)
    If you buy a huge bunch of bananas, hang them upside down so they don’t all ripen at the same time. There are only so many banana muffins anyone can eat (muffins bake faster than bread, so use less propane)
    Papaya can be encouraged to ripen faster by scoring them or taking a little off the top to let the “milk” out.
    Don’t knock instant mashed potatoes as a thickener, or just as they are. Very little propane use, storage isn’t an issue (doesn’t go bad or rotten) and can be used in different recipes (potato bread, latkes…)

  4. The fruit in SE Asia. Mangosteens are my favourite.

  5. A delicious condiment to try is Classic Olive Muffalata made by “The Pickle Guy”. We buy it at the local Costco (so a rather large bottle). It is made with raw veggies and olives. Its vegan, kosher, no MSG, no trans fat, 2 Tbls = 430mg sodium, has just enough spice for a pretty good “kick”. Good on tacos, salads, sandwiches… The label says needs refrigeration after opening, but I take some in a smaller container and absolutely make room in the frig for this stuff!

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