US ingredients available in Istanbul?

I am mailing a package to a penpal in Istanbul. What are some American food items I can send to he that she won't find (or won't find easily) in her city? Thanks in advance!



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Maedl January 29, 2014
Black walnuts would be nice, in addition to the pecans. Black walnuts are native to the US. I have heard that some are grown i italy, but I believe it is for the wood, not the nut. I found a large bag of black walnuts at Costco. Dried corn from Pennsylvania would also be unique.Wild rice, dried cranberries, molasses, and sorghum would also be unusual. chocolate chips would be pretty exotic, too. I think corn meal is available there, so I would probably not send that. Send recipes that incorporate the ingredients you choose. You could even pick out some favorite American recipes, like pancakes or pies, that could be made from ingredients already available in Istanbul.
sexyLAMBCHOPx January 28, 2014
How about some fun candy that would survive the shipping? Gummy Bears, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Gum, Tic Tacs, Blow Pops, et. Then there's French's yellow mustard, Braggs nutritional Yeast, Hellmans Mayo, Old Bay Seasoning, Jane's Crazy Mixed-up Salt.
Sadassa_Ulna January 28, 2014
My heart is not set on having mac and cheese while overlooking the blue mosque. Unfortunately I have no plans to go to Turkey, but it would be incredible to be able to visit some day.
I am looking for suggestions for American foods to send to a Turkish friend who lives in Instanbul, because she expressed an interest in American cuisine.
bigpan January 28, 2014
Maybe consider learning and enjoying some Turkish foods. Best spice market is in Istanbul (although the smaller ones in Kusadashi are cheaper).
Migros is the largest supermarket in Turkey, numerous locations, big variety - but, if you heart is set on having mac and cheese while overlooking the blue mosque...take a package from home.
Droplet January 28, 2014
Perhaps you could try sending her a few different varieties of spice mixes. They have many spices there but none would be mixed with the exact ingredients or proportions as the American mixes. Marshmallows would be interesting (and light!) to compare to the popular Turkish delight candy that they have. Some pecans maybe, to compare to walnuts which are much more popular in Europe.
Sadassa_Ulna January 28, 2014
Thank you, these are great ideas, especially pecans!
Sadassa_Ulna January 28, 2014
CLARIFICATION: (I wish I could edit my question)
I should add that she is not American; she is native Turkish and lived for some time in England. I just want to include some things that are very "American" because she inquired about my fave American dish (which was very hard to answer, because most "American" food to me is not American!)
So I was thinking maple syrup and Reese's PB cups, but I don't want everything to be sweet. The Mexican ingredients that cookinginvictoria mentioned and the ranch dressing and chips & salsa that Dave on the grill mentioned are really great ideas!
Thanks in advance
Pegeen January 28, 2014
Sadassa, a thought... instead of sending food or other goods to your friend in Istanbul, what about paying for and helping her arrange some Skype sessions so you can have telephone/video chats with one another? I'm assuming you and she don't do that already. Just a thought.
Pegeen January 28, 2014
No problem. As mentioned, I don't mean to be cranky. But it would be a shame for your package not to be delivered to your pen pal because of Customs red tape. Sending it is such a great thing to do.
cookinginvictoria January 28, 2014
I am an expat, living in Canada. Things that I miss and often try to pick up in the States when I visit (or ask people to send!) include premium chocolate, stone ground grits, and hard-to-find ingredients for Mexican cooking such as Rancho Gordo beans, dried Guajillo and Pasilla chile peppers, dried hominy, and achiote paste. When we first moved to Canada, my husband and I were homesick for American foods. My sister sent us a care package of all Trader Joe's products, including American cereal, chocolates, granola bars, nut mixes and Joe's O's. I still remember that thoughtful gift -- it really helped with the transition of adjusting to our new home and country. :)
Sadassa_Ulna January 28, 2014
I just found out she and her husband like Mexican; authentic hard to find ingredients will be perfect to send, thanks!
Pegeen January 28, 2014
I don't mean to be quarrelsome but a lot of those are actually on the prohibited list for Turkey. Better for Sadassa to do a little homework than have an expensive package wind up as snack food in the Customs Office in Turkey?
Sadassa_Ulna January 28, 2014
Thank you Pegeen! I will definitely look carefully at the USPS list.
Dave O. January 28, 2014
Ranch dressing, jerky, dehydrated fruit, trail mix, chips and salsa, BBQ sauces and hot sauces are a few things I requested when I lived overseas. As long as its pre-packaged and sealed you should be good on shipping. Remember to put all liquids/sauces in their own ziplock, pad breakables, and pack your box tight prevent shifting.
Sadassa_Ulna January 28, 2014
Thank you, great ideas and advice!
Pegeen January 28, 2014
p.s. Sorry, I meant US Postal Service (USPS) not UPS.
Pegeen January 28, 2014
If you haven't already, you might want to check what import goods are prohibited/allowed by Istanbul. It might be different for Customs vs private shippers like UPS. Here's the UPS list of countries:

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