Why my luggage is never stolen, or, London Food Haul 2011

A continuation of the gallery from yesterday, in a way. This is all the stuff that I could carry in my checked-in luggage from that same trip back in 2011. Besides being deterred by my gaudily bright-pink-patterned suitcase set, I’m pretty sure that any would-be thief who peeked inside said suitcases and saw the cumbersome pile of cheap foreign food items would just give up the situation as Totally Not Worth It. Except that it was totally worth it to me, given the difficulty in obtaining some of said items in our little corner of the country.


Asian cooking ingredients! The closest Chinese grocery store we have is an hour or more drive away in Turku, and has ridiculous hours. I’ve been trying to get there for more than a year and they’re always closed. A couple of smaller Middle Eastern convenience stores do exist, which sometimes have some of the items I’m looking for, but it’s sort of hit and miss. So I made a point of hitting up a well-stocked Asian grocery as soon as possible during my trip. Clockwise: pandan essence (the green vial), jasmine essence (the clear vial), glutinous rice flour (for all sorts of desserts and dimsum uses), lemongrass powder, azuki bean paste, and tapioca starch. If it was possible to safely transport frozen shellfish, I would have attempted that as well. Their selection was amazing. Wish I remembered the name 🙁


Teas, because I’m something of a collector. The scented ones tend to be given as gifts or used on guests, since I never really developed a taste for flavored teas. They’re popular in Finland, though. And that Royal Wedding tin was just too pretty not to buy. Also, natural food color extracts, marshmallows and lemon sherbets.


The rest of my Waitrose (a sort of Trader Joe’s-Whole Foods type of grocery chain that most reminded me of home) stash. On the topic candy — something seriously weird I’ve noticed about Finnish candy aisles is that they’re just not that into hard candies. Most of my favorite candies happen to be of that variety, so I was very disappointed the first few times we went shopping. So I stocked up on those as well. The lemons from the previous picture, the cola cubes and mints here, plus the unpictured rhubarb and custards, which disappeared before you could even blink. Also in the mix in this picture are: arrowroot powder for sauces, some kaffir lime leaves, real wasabi powder (as opposed to dyed green horseradish in tubes), a discounted giant chocolate Easter egg filled with even more sweets, and a packet of dried goji berries.


Then we stopped by the nearest Hotel Chocolat and loaded up with highly discounted Easter candies 😀 Wow, these didn’t last long at all once they got home. No, we didn’t eat them ALL 😛 A lot of them were gifted, thank you very much.


Japan Centre, near Picadilly Circus — super crowded each of the three times I visited (hey, I have a thing for fresh mochi) but stocked just about everything I was craving. Picked up several packets of soba and udon noodles (top row) as well as rice flavoring packets (usually made of dried fish eggs, sesame seeds and shredded seaweed), and little snack-sized yokan.


  1. You know you’re running out of anything, just let me know– we got a new pretty big asian supermarket open up near me, and of course, I can always pop by Hope & Greenwood and pick up some boiled sweets. Or anything from Waitrose– that’s the nearest supermarket to my work.

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