Peanut butter, Doritos, and the never-ending American fixation with junk...
About a year into our residency here some six and a half years ago, I initiated a mission to find peanut butter. Everyone of us were craving it. Now, it had in fact popped up at our local Spar once or twice but always immediately sold out. I was informed by a couple people I came across: “Oh, just go to Culinaris!” Great advice for those clueless expats who can actually afford to shop at this locale on a regular basis but certainly ZERO help to me. After some lengthy and awkward conversations with my dear neighbors at the time (who patiently tolerated this American woman and her four children who had decided to live in Budapest and speak no Hungarian), the wife brought out a jar of…. peanut butter!
Apparently, Asian food stores sold it for use in Asian recipes. “Of course, right,” I thought. “Why hadn’t I thought of that?!” Wow, were we excited. Life got a few notches better, some 500 HUF at a time.
Fast forward several years, and peanut butter is now a constant staple at our Spar- in creamy and chunky. And here we still are, grateful for the time we have had here, continuously in awe of the beauty of this city, fluent in Hungarian (ahem, not me….), and…… DYING FOR DORITOS! Seriously, I mean how lame are we?
A few months ago, I almost dropped to the floor upon seeing corn chips at our corner ABC. Overpriced? A bit. Worth it? Oh, so totally. And they came in different flavors! But Doritos remained an elusive craving we watered over while watching Super Bowl commercials every year. Until this past week….
A dear family friend had alerted me to a “New American candy store over in the 9th!” She even sent a photo of the dimly lit window display late one night. I was like, “Ok, whatever.” That is until my son came home from spending the night with them, an opportunity the friend took to make sure he witnessed the novelty store firsthand. Harrison crazily inform me, “They have Doritos!”
And that wasn’t all. This place was stocked wall to wall with American candy. The kids had gotten their candy fix for Halloween, which terrifyingly seemed to evaporate before my eyes, but now another candy run would be necessary. Yeah, Christmas was just around the corner, but frankly I wanted to see this place for myself as well.
I have spent ample time writing for this site on the local, sustainable, and healthy Hungarian options for yummy eats and treats, but somehow this piece has made it in. How? Well, it’s simple. People love it here. More and more, they come, and they stay. The fact that this store has just expanded to its second boutique from its original store over at Arena Plaza in 2016 is testament to the fact that Budapest’s international community is alive and well, that local awareness of, yes, even terrible tastes from abroad is growing, and, perhaps most importantly, people have money to spend.
Not all prices are bad; some are quite reasonable. It’s the selection that numbs the mind for any type of candy plus everything from sodas to Pringles to steak sauce. And the bevy of flavors for some items (like candy corn!) is just whack. My son also informs that there are products from some other countries. But don’t be fooled. This is a shrine to America’s culture of junk food all the way.
Enjoy the pics. I captured only a small fraction of what is offered. Yes, there are RED VINES!!! Twinkies? You bet. And make sure to enjoy the Doritos, now available in multiple flavors, but we’ll stick to the original.
Oh, and, yeah, of course they have peanut butter. :)
USA Candy - Budapest, Királyi Pál u. 13b, 1053 (also at London Gourmet at Arena Plaza)