Have you ever had frozen ketchup? If not, and if you find yourself in British Columbia or Ontario this summer, you may have your chance.
Frenchcycle, a ketchup-flavored ice pop created by the French seasoning maker, debuted for a limited time during the first week of summer. However, French is only available north of the border where the delicious flavor of frozen tomatoes can be best appreciated. According to a French survey, 79% of Canadians say they like or like ketchup. It makes sense that they want it more with a stick.
While this fixation may seem a little strange to the citizens of the United States, it is also strange that we cherish the moldy dairy curd mixed with salt. The truth is that we live in a global world, but this connection only goes so far. Not only are there different foods out there, but there is pride in products like fish sauce, vegemite, and maybe even French relishes.
Often, this dignity is earned, especially when it comes to grilled meats and other inexpensive, accessible foods. Here are some of the best foreign foods that you may only find outside the United States.
Although this easy street food can be found throughout much of Latin America, it is likely that Argentine vendors are selling this delicious pork sausage sandwich. A simple mixture of lighter, less fatty Argentinean, paprika, and wine-spiced chorizo, the sausage is sliced and placed on a baguette topped with mustard and chimichurri.
Usually served with papas fritas (fries), choripán is a very American dish that originated even on the plains. In the 19th century, cowboys (gauchos) roamed the vast tropical grasslands of South America (llanos). When they got to town, sausages were an easy way to treat, meat and bread made a sound delivery system and excellent filling. Yesterday’s rustic dish is now America’s delicacy. Choripán is a dish that any explorer can count on.
Shoppers can find stroopwafel at most high-end grocery stores, but it’s one of those easy-to-walk-through products — an exotic food that transcends many American tastes. Once people find out what they’re missing out on, stroopwafel sales may soar in the United States. Remember, you heard it here first.
Stroopwafel is a sweet and delicious sugary cookie that would likely sit right in the fun Dutch dreams of childhood breakfasts. The center of the caramel rests between two thin layers of mini waffle batter – a touch of continental. According to Caramel Cookies Waffles Artisan, stroopwafels were invented in the early 1800s in Gouda, southern Holland. The story goes that a baker sweetened leftover breadcrumbs with thick syrup, and the resulting dessert caught like hot pants in Miami Beach.
Today, you can find stroopwafels that upgrade coffee, ice cream, pancakes, and grilled cheese anywhere you can klomp in the Netherlands.
Al Pastor (Mexico)
Although many readers may have heard of this delicacy available just south of the US border, the perfect roasted pastor deserves a mention. This grilled pork shoulder is ubiquitous in Mexico, yet its roots are actually Lebanese.
The Tasting Table tells us that pastor tacos originated with shawarma served by Lebanese immigrants in the 1930s in Puebla, southeast of Mexico City. This people’s grilled lamb was served on flour tortillas and was first known as the Arabic taco for the Arabic bread (pita bread) on which it was served.
Local chefs have taken this and given this dish its own Latin twist via the spices of asada and pineapple. Marinated pork shoulder fillets are piled on a spit to make “trombo,” the traditional cone of meat that spins for hours, slow-cooking in the juice. Pasteur tacos are traditionally served in a tortilla with pineapple, onion, and cilantro, and are among the best inexpensive foods foreign travelers can find.
Green Tea Kit Kat (Japan)
This funky combo seems to have the potential to make a good dessert. Reviews seem unanimous that KitKat green tea may be an acquired taste, but it’s an innovative Japanese twist.
“What a delicious little treat! I love the taste of matcha green tea and have been a fan of the Japanese matcha green tea ice cream. Nestle’s KitKat brand has marketed a flavor towards the Asian market, and this one does not disappoint. “Matcha is very real and tastes like green tea,” said user Franxeen R. at Influenster.
The flavor of matcha green tea – which originates from young tea leaves – imparts a lighter, less tangy taste. Even better, the green tea-flavored Japanese KitKats come in a single-serve wafer form, along with many other Ki-Kat flavors. If you are looking for a foreign candy bar, they are available in multiple places online.
Käsekrainer sausage (Austria)
Käsekrainer sausage is a proponent of Viennese cuisine and is an always-reliable solution to the pain of greasy meat from morning to wee hours.
Fat bomb is similar to kielbasa and knockwurst, and like its cousins, Käsekrainer is made with pork mixed with spices, such as garlic, pepper, and paprika. Austrian sausages pushed over small pieces of cheese (käse in German), which gives the boiled meat its distinctive name.
Käsekrainer is often wrapped in a slice of dark bread, ketchup or mustard, and appears to be pushed through a hole carved in the bread roll, especially on the street.
Thums Up (India)
Despite its current ownership of Coca-Cola, Thums Up lives up to its “Taste the Thunder” brand, a fizzy and spicier take on its American cousin.
Per Serious Eats, Thums Up was introduced as a flagship brand at Parle Agro in 1977, after India expelled Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Over the next 16 years, the brand captured an incredible 80% market share in the soft drink market. With many walls toppled in the late 1980s, the national government relented, allowing the cola giants to re-enter. Not having the marketing ammunition to battle the sugar-sweetened beverage giants, Barle soon sold Thums Up to Coca-Cola.
Today, Thums Up is still the leader in cola in India and many Indians would argue for its great taste. The original Thums Up recipe remains – a sharper pinch on the tongue.
lemon soda (Italy)
On the other end of the soda spectrum is one of the oldest and purest combinations of soda in the world. Italy is often famous for its food, and this starts with the small, old farms that dot the country. The lemon in Lemon Soda is no exception.
Derived only from Italian lemons, the Campari Lemon Soda blend was first created in 1932, making it the world’s first store-bought pre-mixed drink. In contrast, Lemon Soda contains no preservatives or colorings. It’s a fun and refreshing combination for consumers who can find it, but Lemon Soda outside of Italy will be few and far between.
Beef Biltong (South Africa)
Hikers alert: Beef jerky just got an upgrade. Beef biltung in South Africa comes from a variety of local, wild and domestic livestock. Biltong may also have more and more than 50% fat to fuel treks around Table Mountain (just watch your heart rate).
Sourced from cows, wildebeest, ostriches, and more savannah stock, biltung is still treated with malt vinegar, just as it was in the 17th century. Oriental spices such as cloves, coriander, pepper and salt combine in their dried folds to make an unbeatable snack.
You can probably try ordering biltong online, but why not wait until you have actually visited the rainbow country?
culture and personality
Food is an important part of the national character. Green tea helps describe an intentional, strict Japanese culture just like ketchup, a sweet and very salty Canadian condiment.
Not only do these foreign food products help treat an empty stomach, but these foods are part of what drives economies. Just like the French made with 100% Canadian-grown tomatoes, the Argentine chorizo, paprika, and wine-flavoring ham comes from the vast pastures.