I have known people who hate shopping for groceries but I love grocery stores. I have been in dozens of local markets of various ethnicity, size and specialty. It is always interesting.
We have a large Hmong population here in St Paul. They helped the US forces during the Vietnam War and were brought here after being displaced to Laotian refugee camps after the war. In a visit to one of the many Hmong food stores, I found frozen giant bullfrogs. There was an amazing variety of strange and exotic foods that I could only speculate on edibility or use of.
Whenever I travel, I make a point of going into a local store to check out the different kinds of foods they offer. In 2005, my sister, Karen and I went to Iceland on vacation. We went into a grocery store in Reykjavik. I was looking for Icelandic candy to bring back for co-workers and friends. I was surprised to find most candies contained either cereal or cookie bits, but none with nuts. There was very little chocolate and nuts were non-existent--I suppose because they're expensive to import.
When I was in England some years ago, the grocery store I went into carried a large variety of fish. It was far more than a Minnesota market would carry. The amount of beef was very small and it was incredibly expensive, but that may have been soon after the Mad Cow crisis (1997).
I loved the variety of Cadbury chocolate bars especially the chocolate-covered shortbread cookies. I also discovered that what we call a Snicker candy bar was called a Mars bar. Our version of the Mars bar is different. I went on Google to research it and discovered that the Mars bar actually originated in England. There are now English and American versions of it and also Canadian and Australian!
My daughter Brenda went to a "Eurospring Quarter" at Oxford back in 1980. She fell in love with Lion candy bars and said she ate one every day. They are very hard to find in the US but I discovered that Brit's Pub over in Minneapolis sells them for $2 each. We can also order them online.
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