Today marks 2 years since I landed in the US so I thought I’d share some details on a topic I’m asked about a lot – how do I cope with missing food from back home.
It’s pretty normal to have certain attachments to food – whether that’s because of fond memories to just really liking certain food. Most of the time, it’s not that much of an issue – mashed potatoes are the same wherever you go when you make them yourself.
(One of the biggest problems I have actually is cooking from my favourite cookbooks. I often find myself in the middle of a supermarket googling things to see if they’re known as something else here, and going to a few different supermarkets to get all of the ingredients needed. It’s frustrating but I think I know where to buy most things now!)
But then there are those things that you just can’t make yourself – snacks and certain ingredients and silly things like that. So here’s a list of the places that we use to buy the food we like and like to share with our friends here.
Well duh. Amazon sells everything. Before we landed here, we were making a few (hahahhahaha) orders from Amazon to Alex’s office to make sure we didn’t land here with just the clothes on our back.
Alex ordered useful things like kitchen stuff and a mattress and things like that. I ordered a kettle and a box of Yorkshire Gold.
Amazon of course sells everything, but sometimes that’s not great because with food items, it’s usually much more expensive, and in bulk. This is good when you want a case of Irn Bru and more excitingly, Eccles Cakes, but less so when you want one small bag of crisps and would end up buying a box. (Because I *would* eat them all)
The British Pantry was the first British food selling shop I went to after resisting for so long. It’s in Redmond town centre, and it’s fine, it’s just not my first choice to get food from. There’s a little shop in between the tea room and the pub, and it sells a strange collection of items which feels like what an American thinks a Brit would want. That’s not a bad thing – they do have a lot of sweets and biscuits which is always welcome – but there’s about a third of the shop devoted to little souvenir type stuff which you probably wouldn’t buy halfway around the world. They do have a fresh cake counter though, and you can pick up a few frozen things. I was pretty excited to see Roberts Bread in their cooler one day (which is obviously the greatest sliced white bread, fight me)
British Bites is a little further out from us, all the way down in Puyallup (which I find incredibly difficult to say, so I apologise if you ever hear me attempting it) but I like their selection of stuff better, mostly because they sell a much bigger variety of crisps in single bags. (LOOK I AM VERY EASILY PLEASED) . They are also really good at updating their Facebook page when a shipment comes in, which not only helps to tempt me to go down there but also means I can get an idea of what sort of things I want to go and get.
I mean, just look at all those lovely treats. I end up zooming in on these pictures to see exactly what is there – my shopping list contains Sensations Chili, Pickled Onion Monster Munch and of course Cheese and Onion crisps.
They also have a little cafe attached to the shop, and sell homemade cakes including some delicious Eccles Cakes and Bakewell Tarts
World Market is the oddest shop – it’s a chain that sells furniture, gift type stuff, and then food from all around the world. This is a good one to pop to when I am running out of Bisto or fancy some Tunnocks treats – you can see what else they stock that’s classed as British on this page. Whenever I have a craving of something, World Market’s website is the first place I look to see whether it’s nearby. Annoyingly they don’t have any crisps – you may notice a theme with this blog post and it’s that I BLOODY LOVE CRISPS THEY ARE THE BEST SNACK.
Stores around the area, my preferred store is 15600 NE 8th St, Bellevue, WA 98008
A bit of a random one, and not really one I would hit up that much, but the Kroger stores around here (QFC and Fred Meyer) all have random little items that are useful in passing, but I wouldn’t recommend going to them specifically.
With so many places to buy the food I like, I don’t feel like I miss out too much but I do miss being able to buy a bag of Walkers Cheese and Onion crisps or a bar of Cadbury Marvellous Creations Jelly Popping Candy chocolate (it’s the one with popping candy, Smarties and jelly beans in it which doesn’t sound like it should work but it does)
La Laith Bakery
Finally, there’s a lady who goes to various markets around Seattle selling British and Irish baked goods called Lá Liath Bakery. I’ve tried the millionaires shortbread and Bakewell Tarts and they were excellent. Looking forward to finding her this summer to try the treacle tart and Battenberg cake.
The only thing I really miss now is being able to get a decent takeaway curry! I miss the sort of chicken korma you get from a takeaway that all taste the same. I also miss proper chippy chips but I have at least found somewhere that does fish and chips, over on Bainbridge Island called Proper Fish