10 Things British Expats Miss The Most

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll know that I was lucky enough to win the AngloINFO & British Corner Shop #HomeComforts competition back in November.

As my prize, I won £100 to spend on British groceries, delivered to my home in the Netherlands, for a WHOLE YEAR! I can safely say that it’s the best prize you could ever give to an expat. EVER!

Now obviously, there are some things I miss which money can’t buy: my friends and family, people saying sorry all the time, our sense of humour, traditional British pubs and of course… our beautiful landscape. There are HILLS and everything! 😉 But thanks to the British Corner Shop, I now have the contents of a British supermarket to comfort me in between my visits ‘home’. So here’s a sneak peek of what you can find in my online shopping basket…

Top 10 Things British Expats Miss The Most:

1. Marmite

Marmite has to be top of the list for me! You either love it or you hate it – so I speak for at least 50% of British expats here. Best on toast or crumpets. Mmmmmm…. crumpets!

2. Tea

Proper tea. Builders tea, none of that freaky Rooibos or herbal crap! Yorkshire Tea, PG Tips, Tetley, Typhoo and Twinings. (My favourite is actually Tesco own-brand… I’m a cheap date!)

3. Roast Dinners / Full English Breakfast / Fish & Chips

This one isn’t so tough here in the Netherlands, you just have to put a bit of effort in and make your own… but I imagine for some expats it could be difficult to get your hands on all of the key ingredients. *Sob*.

4. Ale and cider

That fizzy, foamy stuff you drink – technically, that’s lager. English folk drink ale – the room temperature, flat stuff. Want to know the difference between lager and ale? Cider: Ok, so there is cider in Holland: Jillz and Strongbow, but that’s about it. In the UK there are 480 Cider Makers (source). Resulting in hundreds of cider options, and a whole dedicated bay in the supermarket, from traditional scrumpy and fruit flavoured ciders, to the more modern brands like Magners and Gaymers.

5. Cheese

One word for you: cheddar. Two words for you: Dairylea Dunkers. (Ok, so the second is probably just me.)

6. Lamb

Searching for supermarket lamb in the Netherlands is like searching for a kangaroo in the Antarctic. Once I found lamb sausages (huh??) … once! They’ve since disappeared from the shelves. You see, lamb is a key ingredient to many of our traditional dishes – so an absolute must! Minted Lamb Steaks, Rack of Lamb, Lamb Stew, Shepherd’s Pie and of course Lamb Curries! (Not technically British of course, but curry is hugely popular in the UK!)

7. Heinz EVERYTHING

Beans… sauces… soups. You can get baked beans here in the Netherlands – and if you’re lucky, even tomato sauce. But the soups haven’t made it over here yet… How else is a girl supposed to survive the winter without Cream of Chicken?

8. Crisps

Yes, they have crisps in other countries… here in the Netherlands the standout is paprika! BUT, ask any British expat and you’ll get the same answer: they’re not the same. British crisps are just something else. Go to any large British supermarket and you will find a whole aisle dedicated to crisps and savoury snacks. Sometimes even two! And for some reason, no other country finds salt & vinegar crisps as delicious as we do! There’s no accounting for taste…

9. Chocolate

DAIRY MILK and GALAXY. When you’re homesick: no other chocolate will do!

10. Bacon

That wafer thin stuff you get at the slagerij (butcher) called spek (bacon)? Just because you call it bacon, doesn’t mean it is. British bacon comes in slabs! Thick and meaty. ‘Nuff said.

And what do Dutch expats miss most when they’re abroad?

According to a survey by Dutch television station BVN, top of the list of items missed by Dutch expats is herring! Some 9% of those polled said they missed the herring most of all, followed by kroketten (8.6%), cheese (8.1%) and household goods chain Hema (8%). Family and friends came in only fifth place, with 6.7% of the vote, followed by cycling (6.5%), Dutch bread, cakes and biscuits (2.7%), the warm atmosphere (2.2%), Sinterklaas (2.1%) and things to eat on bread (2.1%). Source: DutchNews.nl.

What do you (or would you) miss the most if you live(d) abroad?

Hayley x

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33 comments

  1. So funny to read! When I lived in China for a year, the foods I missed most were bread, cheese and chocolate.. The Chinese didn’t understand bread shouldn’t be sweet, haha. I found the key to expat-happiness is not to find crappy Chinese chocolate instead of European chocolate, but to replace it with a Chinese delicacy, such as caramelized fruit-kabobs. Yum! Maybe you could try this method!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Currently as a British person living in the Netherlands, it’s Dairy Milk, proper baked beans and Branston. And non-sliced bread! I really miss being able to cut huge thick slices of toast, with lashings of butter and baked beans. Ahhh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just a quick tip for the bread – at AH (my fav supermarket) you can ask them for their fresh-baked bread non-sliced :). Most bakeries will provide non-sliced as well when asked.

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  3. I will leave The Netherlands within two weeks… I will miss ‘drop, kroketten, frikadellen, stroopwafels, hagelslag!!!!!!! stamppot and erwtensoep’. And of course my family and friends the most!! X

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve seen marmite in a supermarket here in the Netherlands. I don’t know where, I think in the AH or emte. I don’t even know of it is the same as in Great Brittan but it’s something. Sorry for my bad english, I’m not so good at it in school.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The AH, Hoogvliet and Jumbo sell Marmite. Here in our AH it is placed between all the other spreads (like jam and peanut butter).

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  5. I know of one other country that likes salt and vinegar…Ireland! (You didn’t forget your neighbors, did you? 😉 )

    When I was there in 2003, the popular crisp flavors were onion/cheese and salt/vinegar. Given that I’m part of the rare breed of Yank that likes salt and vinegar crisps, my response was something along the lines of, “MY PEOPLE! ❤ " (*chuckle*)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fair to say: Except for one, none of the above appeal to me. But i’m a Dutchy, so to everyone it’s own. Right? 😉

    The one that does appeal is Lamb! I absolutely love it and with a Kurdish boyfriend, eat it quite often. Where do I get it you ask? Turkish supermarkets! They sell every part of the lamb and far more cheaper than the local supermarket. I’m not sure how many Turkish supermarkets you can find in Hilversum, but I do know you love Amsterdam. We have tons of Turkish supermarkets in East, South and West. They’re very easy to recognize since they all stall fruits and veggies in front of the store and scream “Halal” on the windows. So whenever back to the capital: give it a try. They might sell marmite there too. The Turkish love everything sweet. :p

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was amused by your list as I am In Canada and would miss pretty much all the same things. Except Marmite. My Mom loved it I never could get around it. In Canada Salt and Vinegar chips are very popular too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The big AH’s in Amsterdam do have marmite. And Maria beat me to it – I was also going to suggest a Halal butcher for lamb – sounds like you need to make a trip to the Dam 😉 Also a half decent roast lunch or brunch can be found at O’Reillys Irish pub behind the palace.

    😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You might want to check out Amsterdamsestraat/Kanaleneiland here in Utrecht for the Halal butchers, etc. There’s also Irish pub Mick O’Connels off Domstraat that does a decent fish and chips.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You had me at cheddar and bacon!
    I’ve been well supplied in ranch dressing packets and spicy taco mix from my friends and family in the States, but we don’t often get Cheddar Goldfish crackers – which child and adults will eat a bag in no time if we’re lucky enough to receive one!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I live in the UK and what I miss most from the Netherlands are sandwich filings. Filet American (raw meat), gekookte worst (boiled sausage) and rosbief ( beef) there is more choice in the Netherlands I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When I lived in Glasgow I hated that I had to go without my favourite ‘limonade’ (learnt the hard way that that is not the same as ‘lemonade’), I could only find a single brand in the shops. Also hagelslag, of course! But now that I’m back in the Netherlands I wish the supermarkets here sold Brothers Toffee Apple Cider, and Squashies, and cream soda…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I hear ya on most of your list. (not a marmite fan 😉 ) thank god you can start to get Twinings at quite a few supermarkets now, although not their complete range.
    I go to the Sligro or Hanos to get mine, but have seen them at local stores selling teas as well.
    AH has been my saviour for quite a few products for which I miss from abroad, but you have to go to the XXL’s, or online for most products. They even have a small range of lambproducts (sorry to say not complete – the turkish supermarkets as mentioned before are great alternatives).
    What I would miss from holland? Only the kroketten, but thankfully have a recipe to make them myself when abroad. (I’m a TCK kid).

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hey! I just read your blog as a dutchie in holland, while writing a tip-list for visiting american friends. It’s very entertaining, so to help you back, here’s a tip: De Kingsalmarkt in Amstelveen. Go there. It’s specifically catered to expats, mainly Brits, and has, among others, marmite, heinz soups and a range of british tea brands. One warning, it’s not cheap. Good, but expensive. It’s fairly easy to reach.

    Another tip, while in Amstelveen. Do it on a sunny day and head over to Loetje aan de Amstel. You know Loetje, now go have that same food, but on the beautiful Amstel.

    Last remark: you ARE a foodie, and loving KFC takes nothing away from that!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. When I was in Ireland, I tried the Galaxy chocolate. It was sooo amazing. We took a lot of it with us, but on our way home I realized I recognized the logo and the taste; it tastes and looks exactly the same as the ‘dove’ chocolate you can get from our vending machines! So that’s a tip 😉
    The dairylea dunkers look a lot like the ‘cheez dippers’ from ‘la vache qui rit’ (:

    If I were living abroad I’d probably miss our liquorice, pepernoten, sinterklaas, the cycling and the boerenkool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Wendy! I’ve never seen Dove, but I will look out for it now.

      Ha ha… oui mais non… The standard Dairylea Dunkers, yes. But we get the ‘Jumbo Tubes’ which are a whole new ball game! They’re not just boring old bread sticks. 😉

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  15. I have lived in the Netherlands now for 3 weeks and besides family and friends I miss austrian bread, and bakery goods, salt and vinegar crisps, big beer and wine with soda and lemon for a sunny day on the terrace. Oh and cheap public transport. And I hope it will stay at these few for at least a while 😉

    Like

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