Moving to a new country is hard for anyone, and there will be certain things that you will miss about your home country that you can't find in Taiwan. Recently I visited my hometown in the USA and just wanted to share about the things I miss most after living for more than 10 years in Taiwan for those that are interested.
About a year ago I made a blog post called "The Most Wanted Foreign Products in Taiwan" where I surveyed foreigners in Taiwan about which products they missed the most. This time I am just going to give my personal list after a recent visit to the USA my home country.
I am giving out this information for free to anyone that wants to use it as market research, or wants to know which products people are missing in Taiwan, so that someone will start importing/making these products in Taiwan!
Let's get this list started.
1. Non-Anti-Perspirant Deodorant (see above) 非止汗體香劑
You can't find any non-anti-perspirant deodorant in Taiwan except the spray stuff (Axe and Lnyx). Anti-perspirant deodorant gives me a rash, and Axe and Lnyx are gross. The only answer for foreigners like me is to bring a large package of Old Spice with me from America, enough to last the next time I visit. Also, Old Spice has gotten way more expensive in the past two years or so. I know that some people sell Old Spice on Shoppee in Taiwan but it needs to get on more store shelves for a reasonable price.
2. Cheap Doughnuts 便宜的甜甜圈
Compared with Taiwan, doughnuts in America are dirt cheap. As you can see above, I could buy a dozen (12) for 4 USD (120 TWD). In Taiwan the cheapest doughnuts at Carrefour are about 20 NT, which for a dozen is 240 TWD (8 USD), so double the price. It doesn't make sense because labor in Taiwan should be cheaper.
3. Cheap soft Cookies and Baked Goods 便宜的軟餅乾及其他烘培食品
Let's be honest, most cookies in Taiwan suck. They are super dry and not sweet enough. The best cookies are from Subway and they are pretty good. But besides Subway good cookies are pretty much impossible to find. However in grocery stores in the US, you will find endless boxes of freshly baked, soft, and cheap cookies.
Another note about cheap baked goods (grocery stores in Taiwan take note): the store is not making any money on these. They are just a honey trap to lure customers into the store so that they will buy other things with a higher profit margin. If Taiwanese stores want to attract more customers, they should do the same. Make the junk food baked goods cheaper. So many baked goods in Taiwan get thrown out anyway because they expire and they are still so expensive no one wants to buy them.
4. Wendy's 溫蒂漢堡
Lots of people have told me that Wendy's used to have a presence in Taiwan in the 1900's but they moved out. That is really sad because Wendy's is amazing, and they have things the others don't like spicy chicken and Frosties. It's still in the Philippines and Japan. It would do great in Taiwan too.
5. Mexican Food 墨西哥菜
Technically there is Mexican food in Taiwan but it is too few and far between. There are no Mexican restaurants in my neighborhood in East Taipei. Also, I know there is a difference between Tex Mex food and true Mexican food, but both are missing.
Also, it is unfair that China and Thailand have Taco Bell but we don't. That is another chain that would do great in Taiwan.
In the meantime, we have resorted to making tacos at home but it is time consuming and labor intensive.
6. Papa Murphy's Chicago Style Pizza 墨菲爸爸的芝加哥風格披薩
For those of you wondering, this is not Quiche and it is not pie. It is Chicago Style Stuffed Pizza from Papa Murphy's. It is the greatest pizza ever invented. I tried some Chicago Style Pizza from Love at First Bite in Taipei and it was not as good (too much cheese and too many spices).
7: Proper American Breakfast 道地的美式早餐
Taiwan, this is a true American breakfast. Go back and rewrite all the menus on the Taiwanese breakfast stands to include strawberries, cream, maple syrup, thick French Toast, and crispy bacon. The biggest American food sin that Taiwanese breakfast stalls commit is undercooking the bacon. That bacon needs to be crispy, and cooked so it is almost burnt. It's all about the texture.
8. Cereal 麥片/玉米片
I will admit that Cereal in Taiwan has improved over the years, but the number of flavors and price is still lacking in comparison to America. Here you can see a new Smore's flavor of cereal that I found. This giant bag was only 3 USD (100 USD). Imported cereals in Taiwan are easily three times that amount.
9. Graham Crackers 全麥餅乾
I know Taiwan sells "Digestives" but they are not the same. Lotus cookies are okay. But nothing beats the taste and texture of the real thing. Also there is so much irony when you see S'more flavored foods (such as S'more flavored gold fish, cookies, etc.) sold in Taiwan but we can't buy the key ingredient! Also, graham crackers are super cheap and easy to manufacture. Someone needs to start a graham cracker factory in Taiwan. And don't forget chocolate graham crackers.
10. Pop Tarts
I remember seeing Pop Tarts in Carrefour for about two weeks and then they were taken off the shelves. You can still buy them at City Super and Shoppee. But we need more of them and we need them cheap.
When the main thing I miss from America is food, I think that just goes to show how amazing life in Taiwan is in every other aspect. In Taiwan we have amazing healthcare, transportation, a safe environment, vibrant free democracy, and a convenient way of life. Missing some comfort food from home is worth the trade-off, and at the same time helps me stave off diabetes and heart attacks.
If you are missing certain foods from home, go indulge yourself once in a while. Look for what you can in Taiwan and buy it even if it is a little more expensive than at home. Don't deprive yourself. It's better to live a happy life in Taiwan. You don't have to prove to anyone that you have adjusted to a new culture by never eating anything from home again. You should enjoy what you love best about both places.
You can also learn more about where to find foreign products in our previous blog here.
Did we miss anything? What do you miss from your home country? Let us know in the comments below.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.