Oh, that would be me.
After the last post got me thinking about raspberries, and how much I crave them, I started thinking about how many things we can get in Kaohsiung now. I mean, raspberries have a short season in Washington, and luckily I fly home at the start of it, so I can't really complain about how scarce they are here. But other foods I have longed for are beginning to hit the shelves on our little island, and for that I am deeply grateful. When western foods become available, not only do I get to enjoy them right now, but it also frees up a lot of space in my checked bags at the end of the summer. My bring-back list is getting shorter and shorter every year.
Here are some of the goodies I've found around Kaohsiung in the last nine months:
Grape-Nuts (I really did hug them).
Cream that doesn't taste funny. It's still UHT, but it has no weird ingredients, only cream, which makes a huge difference in homemade ice cream and such. Plus, it's from Ireland, where all the cows are clean and happy.
Bourbon vanilla extract.
Orzo, or rather Rosemarino, which is a bit more needle-like but still cooks up into a lovely pilaf.
Sea salt, and loads of it: New Zealand salt, Chilean red salt, local salt -- it all makes me happy.
Yogurt starter, with even more bacterial strains and a creamier taste than the starter that I've been smuggling over here for years.
Chili powder -- Costco size.
Rye flour. Haven't bought it yet, but I know where to find it now.
Brown rice flour. Bought it, but haven't used it yet. Somewhere I have a great lavender shortbread recipe that calls for it.
Fresh dill! A friend bought some at the morning market and shared it with me. It's salmon with dill butter on the menu tonight.
There are still some essentials that elude me: beef bouillon, couscous, tapenade, chutney, vanilla beans, lentils, dried pears, powdered sugar that doesn't make your frosting gritty. But when you consider how cheap the fresh produce and meats are here, and how easy it is to get western staples, it looks more and more like a cook's paradise. And with all the extra room in my suitcases, maybe I can bring more books. Or travel lighter. There's a thought.