A guide to food when moving abroad


It is difficult to picture the things you will miss most when moving overseas. Leaving your family in your home country and not spending time with the ones dearest to you, or wishing your best friend was close by to talk through your problems, or not being able to visit your favourite shops, are just a few concerns you may have.

However, much of these issues fall into place, once you have had time to fully adjust. With modern technologies such as skype, video calls are very good quality and cheap, you find new friends, and your friends from the UK will no doubt visit you when they can.

It never fails to amaze us, as the same answer comes up time-and-time-again when you ask expats what they miss most about leaving the UK, you nearly get the same answer every time. Within minutes the conversation always moves to the topic of food – and more precisely, the types of foods they are missing the most. To illustrate this, in a recent questionnaire just conducted in the UK, 60,000 Brits were requested to vote on what we most like about our nation. This was not a survey on British food but about the country in general. The modest (and completely tasty) bacon sandwich topped the poll with the great British roast dinner coming in at second place, and followed closely behind it in third place, a cup of tea. Actually, of the highest 50 chosen by the nation, food and drink appeared 14 times and most of them ranked higher than the Royal family.

There is no doubt, whatever your home country might be, you're likely to have at least one specific food that leaves your taste buds tingling just by thinking of it. So how can you find your most missed foods after your international removal?

  1. Shopping online from overseas

    We all know that the Internet has made shopping from the cosiness of your home very easy and pleasurable. You may discover that it is just as stress-free to shop this way for your much-loved foods and groceries depending on the new country you will be living in. Specialist food traders selling food which there are prepared to deliver all over the world can be found via a quick internet search and is sure to provide plenty of them. Only certain foods are appropriate for sending overseas this way, so please consider that delivery charges can be expensive, however dependant on what you are purchasing, it is often a feasible option. It's a good idea to research any relevant import taxes or any restrictions on goods that can be shipped straight into the country.

  2. When moving abroad select your new country wisely

    Some areas are far more "foreign" than others wherever you go on the earth. If you are moving abroad to a country with a large expatriate population, the odds are there are already several places to buy speciality foods specific to the UK.

    Expect to pay a significantly higher price than you would in the UK for a similar item when buying certain foods that are imported. You are certain to discover the a few mini markets run by other UK expats, stocking all your favourite things, if you are relocating to Spain or any other capital city.

    Additionally to this, you might discover different chains of superstores stock a larger selection of imported items than others. By talking with fellow expats, and over time as you get to meet more and more of them, you will find out more. You will also discover a few of these stores through trial and error.

  3. Ask your family and friends to bring food over when they visit

    Family and friends are generally happy to take over a few of your desired foods. To make it easier try shopping online and get the shopping delivered to their home address ready to put into their suitcases immediately and bring over. The same is true for any friends you have made whilst in your new country, most are more than happy to bring back any food item with them when they go visiting back to the UK to see their family and friends.

  4. Teach yourself to make your own foods when abroad

    Teaching yourself to make your own is one of the most satisfying aspects of finding yourself missing your favourite food. If a recipe book requests a particular ingredient that is not available to you in the new country you are living, with a bit of creative thinking and extra effort you can usually find a close substitute. However, you will still need to be able to purchase the basic ingredients and of course what you want to make will depend on the foods you long for.

  5. Getting together with the expat community

    There's no doubt about it, making your own recipes can take many hours of slaving over the oven, but it is worth it. For those who don't have the inclination to cook, one way is to get together with other expats and take turns in making large quantities your favourite foods. Why not make it a really social occasion and start off by having themed nights centred around a particular food genre, such as Indian, Thai or Chinese. When putting together these type of nights, as each person attending the gathering to make one dish for the night. Organising themed nights in this was is an excellent idea as it adds a great deal of variety to things and people will turn up with foods than you had forgotten about or never thought to imagine. You usually find that every one has their own way of making things, which is also great for variation and different slants on a recipe.

    Make sure that there is also a social aspect to these themed nights as it's a great opportunity to talk and get to know other expats. Since the subject of conversation with undoubtedly turn to food at some point during the evening, be sure to exchange tips with each other on the best places and methods for making sure you don't go without your favourite foods when moving overseas.