You probably remember the tastiest snack you’ve ever had, whether you grabbed it at a standard American gas station or a friend’s mom served it up when you were a teen. Most of the time, you can just go out and buy your favorite treat whenever you want. But what about when you can’t because it isn’t widely available in the U.S.? If you’re new to the states and missing a treat from home or you once tried something delicious for the first time on a trip overseas, it might be more challenging to track down.
Here are a few ways to find your elusive favorite out in the wild—or try something new.
Search for specialty stores or snack shops
It might seem obvious that you should search for stores that sell non-American snacks, but if you don’t know those stores exist, it isn’t that obvious, is it? So, yes, those stores exist—and there might be one near you. Search for specialty grocery stores or snack shops in your area on Google. Rafael Lullanda owns one such business called NycExoticsnax with six locations in the Northeast and another location coming to Los Angeles.
“My first store was on a very small side street, so it was easily missed and I needed to change that,” Lullanda says. “I started by bringing different flavored ginger ales from Connecticut to NYC, then started looking for more items that weren’t available in New York.”
Now, he’s ordering foreign drinks and snack foods by the container and selling them individually and as a wholesaler. If you’re not in the New York metro area or Los Angeles, he ships his goods—and encourages snack-seekers to contact him with special requests. If it’s available, he’ll import it here.
Need a recommendation? Lullanda suggests taco-flavored Doritos from Japan, Dove chocolate with passion fruit from China, and Fanta Dragonata from Bulgaria.
Try other shipping options
There are foreign-snack subscription boxes, too. No, you can’t guarantee you’ll get your favorite with. those, but you can explore some new options this way. Try one like SnackCrate, Worldwide Treats, or Universal Yums. There are also sites that offer direct sales, like Exotic Blvd., which will give you free shipping with a domestic order over $35. Try eBay, too—there are sellers on there who specialize in exotic snack foods.
Find someone who can get it for you
If you’re truly desperate for a specific goody you can’t stop thinking about, you can try hitting up a travel forum and find an American who’s heading to the country from which your beloved snack hails. Straight-up ask them if they’d be willing to pick it up for you. It might seem a little forward, but you can make up for any perceived rudeness by offering them a healthy finder’s fee.
While you’re on Reddit or your preferred website, try to connect with someone who lives in that country and see if they’d be willing to send you your treat. Don’t feel weird about this; if they live there, they probably know how yummy the item is. They probably pity you for your lack of access to it—and, again, will be happy to take your money. Check on what it costs to ship something from that country to your address in America, look into any regulations or laws, and then make an offer.
Or finally, if you really love that munchie, we give you permission to go get it. Okay, you don’t need to plan a whole overseas trip to secure a snack, but, like, let your hunger factor into your next vacation plan.