• Russell Levinson

The American brands you can find anywhere in the world (And the stuff you can't)

There are many disadvantages to traveling solo, and food is a big one. When there are two or more people, you wind up trying more food. There is such a comfort when you are in a foreign country, and you see your favorite candy bar or fast food chain. People like to find things to comfort themselves in stressful or uncomfortable situations.

As an American, I didn't know what to expect when I took my first international trip to Japan in 2011. As it turns out, the Japanese and just about everyone else in the world do really like at least some American things including our food. American brands wisely adjust to their various locations with items that mostly appeal to the region.

I thought I would compile a list of some of the things we Americans all are used to and love that you can find just about anywhere in the world:

Food chains: Mcdonalds, Starbucks, 7-11, Subway, KFC

To a lesser extent....Burger King, Dunkin Donuts/Krispy Kreme

In Japan, 7-11 is everywhere and very popular. But, you won't find a lot of American food there.

Drinks: Coffee, Coca Cola & Sprite, Orange Juice, Tea, milk

Coffee is truly the most loved drink in the world.. Local coffee shops are always interesting to visit in another country. You can always order an "Americano" which is defined as espresso and water, but better to try the coffee the way the locals do it.

In Mexico City, I saw a sign for a Snickers Frappe at a small shop and had to try it. I will say that iced coffee is way more popular in the states than anywhere else I have been.

Tea - Some really interesting varieties and tastes as you venture to the far east. You can try just about any variety on Amazon these days including my favorites, Rooibos Tea from South Africa, and Oolong Tea from China. You can even buy hot bottled tea in Japan at most vending machines. Japan has more vending machines than any other country! Coca Cola is the most widely available American drink there.

Snacks: Oreos, Snickers, Hersheys, Kit Kat, Donuts, Chips, Ice Cream (or gelato)

I've seen some really weird varieties and flavors o Kit Kat and ice cream. But, its not weird to the people that buy it and love it in their country. Care for a Sparkling Wine Kit kat?

Food: Pizza, Cereal, Tuna, Turkey, Ham, Bacon, Chicken, Pork, Burgers, Steaks, French Fries, Pizza, Nuts

Eggs - While your foreign hotel may not have pancakes and french toast (Fancier one often do), they will definitely have eggs. Although locals may not eat them like Westerners do for breakfast, you can probably also find it at fast food restaurants. Your hotel is your best bet in many cases.

Surprisingly, eggs are not refrigerated in other countries!

Clothing Brands: Forever 21, H&M, Nike, Uniqlo, Zara

International malls will have at least a few familiar stores, but check the prices and compare. I have found really good deals in both local and international stores. Ask around to find what you are looking for and remember that busy tourist areas are almost always more expensive than where the locals shop.

Be aware that in many Asian countries, some of us Americans are too big to fit in their regular sizes. An average sized American might be an XL or XXL in Japan, for instance, and those sizes are hard to find.

American stuff really hard to find: French Toast, Mountain Dew, Chips and salsa, Blueberries, Ranch dressing, Buffalo wings, Peanut butter, Reese's candies (It seems that only Americans are in love with chocolate and peanut butter together)

I recently got accepted into Reese's University where I will be studying the effect of Reese's on the brain and belly.

Chocolate from Italy...

I was happy to see brownies at a night market in Thailand...

As always, I recommend taking a food tour where you can try many local foods with the help of a professional guide.

Most importantly, embrace local foods and culture. While there have been many foods that I tried and hated, there has always been at least a few items that I loved.


Bangkok...neat dessert

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