my Australian guilty pleasure

July 30, 2012 · 7 comments

in daily life

I have managed to live in Bishkek for nearly two years with very few requests from abroad. I get great, freshly roasted coffee from Sierra, Beta Stores stocks locally produced peanut butter, and I’ve managed to procure most other products and food items without having to have them physically transported from abroad.

But there is one thing…

I have been obsessed with Vegemite ever since an Australian friend asked if I wanted him to bring back anything special from Oz, and, not knowing anything else about Australian specialty items, asked for Vegemite and Tim-Tams. (I’m pretty sure I asked for a koala bear too, but he conveniently forgot that request.)

Now whenever I run out, I hunt down my Australian friends and put in an order for a new jar. Let’s just say Kyrgyzstan hasn’t quite caught on to the acquired taste of a spread made from yeast extract. (Yum?)

How about you? What is your one guilty pleasure you miss most or can’t live without when you’re abroad?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kuba July 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm

In Britain call Marmite,they say some people hate it some people love it but i hate it:)

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2 Will July 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Oreos. It always seems to me that if Oreos were available in a specific country, then they were not available in the area I was staying in. This, of course, also rules out Oreos and Cream ice cream which is a great blow to my morale.

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3 Nathan July 31, 2012 at 3:10 am

Oh man… I hope nobody at the embassy reads this. I’m pretty sure you can have your US passport taken away for liking Vegemite.

The things that dramatically improved my life in Uzbekistan were tabasco and coffee. At some point, I had my family send a french press, grinder, and regularly send beans. It still got rationed, but it was awesome. And the tabasco was applied to almost everything. My local friends ended up requesting it too. They loved it.

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4 Megan July 31, 2012 at 7:25 am

I just got back from a trip to Canada and my goal while I was there was to eat all the things (perogies, rice a roni, a proper turkey dinner, canned ravioli, kraft dinner, onion chip dip, beef jerky)! I have a huge list of stuff I can’t get here in Australia that I try to bring back. I brought back a huge ziploc bag full of candy (eat more bars, coffee crisp, crispy crunch, sour patch kids, fuzzy peaches, wine gums, twizzlers, nibs) and then I managed to find a store that sold bulk powdered cheese for kraft dinner and brought a massive bag of that back too. I also brought back some diet A&W root beer and wished I would’ve picked up on diet Dr. Pepper.
There’s a bunch of non-food stuff that I bring back too – namely king sized pillows and pillow cases.

If you need your vegemite fix sooner than your local Aussies can deliver, I can send you some if you’d like :-)

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5 phillegitimate August 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm

You just became my hero. I’ve never met a non-native Aussie that cared for the stuff.

But yes, I have two tubes and one jar in my kitchen. Brought especially from Australia.

Oh and @Kuba, Vegemite and Marmite a different products. If anything I’d say Marmite is stronger, and has a texture closer to honey. Thick, black, yeasty honey.

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6 Kuba August 4, 2012 at 6:14 am

Marmite and Vegemite similar products but made in different countries by different companies,that it’s way different test probably,and made from same yeast exstract anyway.

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7 Kirstin August 2, 2012 at 10:45 am

I have to clarify that Ivory Pomegranate’s official stance on Marmite is “hate it”. It’s most definitely different than Vegemite, and not in a good way. So Kuba, perhaps you’d enjoy Vegemite after all?

Will – Agreed, Oreos are awesome and are a rare find outside of the US it seems.

Nathan – Hot sauce and good mustard are two things I always stock up on in Christmas care packages. Farrell is a fan of Texas Pete’s (our latest bottle just ran out!), and as a Philly-area-native, I just need a constant supply and variety of good mustards. Luckily we’re all set with coffee though, the couple that started Sierra Coffee used to live in Uzbekistan but for *some strange reason* found the business environment a tad difficult and started their roasting business in Bishkek. This has benefited my life greatly.

Megan – When I was back in the states recently, I had a list of “need to eat” things so that I would feel my trip truly accomplished something, unfortunately it was mostly stuff I couldn’t bring back (artichokes! Ethiopian food!). I had a friend here who was equally obsessed with Dr. Pepper, he had a source at the US embassy who would give him an occasional can, but now they import it to nearly every corner grocery store! (Diet soda is pretty impossible to find though, and never never never any root beer!)

Phil – Strangely, I think most of the Aussies that bring it back for me are total haters of the stuff.

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