What do you give / take / like from USA?

Last year a friend asked me what kitchen items to bring from India to USA.  I was thinking even apart from kitchen items there is so much you can get from India, for yourself or as gifts for others.  Things that have an Indian touch – in terms of traditional clothes (kurti, salwar suit, sari, etc) and accessories (bangles, earrings, handbag, etc), Indian art / painting, small idol statues, food items (like Haldiram's!), etc.  There are SO many options.

And same goes for Thailand - whether it's Thai Silk, handicrafts, showpieces for decor, or the unique tamarind candies (never heard?  ask me) – the Thai touch is apparent.  You could even bring Thai curry pastes, and seasoning cubes for yourself or friends and relatives.

So today, I was wondering what all gifts or souvenirs could I take from USA for my family back home.  When we go back to our hometowns for vacations, it is a good idea to plan and start shopping way beforehand –  consider baggage and weight limitations, and look out for deals.  I am sure there are a lot of amazing things in US, but what gifts from USA are worth taking home?

One of my friends in California takes a big bag of walnuts from Costco for her family in Bkk, she says they’re very good quality.

Almost everything is available in Bkk, but my mom said the Tide stain remover pens here in Walmart were new to her, and the vegetable/fruit peelers here were of better quality.

My hubby had taken Ziploc bags in all sizes for his mother since those are very useful in kitchen and travel.  And Sony Vaio laptop, 1 TB external hard drive, and Blackberry Playbook for his brother since these are more reasonable here.

I have seen some bloggers mentioning their friends and family brought or sent them baking accessories, candied peels, preserved/dried fruits, etc from US.

Now my question to you is:  what gifts, souvenirs, or items you think are great to take for family, relatives, and friends when visiting from US?  Or if I may put it differently, what do people like to receive from US?

UPDATE MARCH 2013: Gifts I took from USA for families in India

19 comments:

  1. My friend from US once sent me a packet of pecans! They were so lovely and fresh... One thing is that we don't get pecans here in India and the walnuts that we get in the stores are pretty bad and many of them are rancid... Another thing from there that is useful is instant yeast. Ive not seen instant yeast here in India... Though we do get Active Dried yeast here. But then instant yeast is mush faster acting and we just need a tiny pinch of it as compared to the active dried yeast. Even cake mixes are a great idea to gift friends.. Ive heard that there are wonderfully soft cake mixes available there... and even for ones which u can just bake in the cooker...

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    1. pecans, walnuts, instant yeast, cake mixes - spoke like a true food blogger indeed! :D
      thanks for sharing, Sarah :)

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  2. walnuts is a greta option.. My sis got us Badam & Saffron too :)..Other common things which i have seen my husband pick up are iPod
    ..iPod doc..camera..perfumes & shades! Yup ziplocs & wipe towles also are some preferred choices..i have heard the new thing which is nice is the spoon/spatula holder!You get them both as stainless steel & the ceramic ones..fancy & nice..Oh! body shop products too.. we have a body shop there but still out mom's think a zillion times if they have to pick up a cream worth 500 ! so thats a good option..

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    1. Not a mom, but even I'd think hundred times before buying a Body Shop product! :D
      Lots of items you mentioned, thanks Rasi :)

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  3. I take a lot of stuff from USA ..Though I live in Brazil, I visit USA often as my sons live there.
    Dry yeast, kummel seeds,dry oregano and basil, disposable pepper crushers, Shaan Biriyani Masala (it is awesome)
    zip lock bags, Stain remover for clothes(can't remember the make but it is like a glue tube)
    I also take some kitchen stuff like spoon rest, mashers, kitchen towels.
    Some small things from Bed Bath & Beyond too.
    I really enjoy shopping in USA...Brazil is a very expensive place.

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    1. I don't know kummel seeds, will Google up next.
      With so many things, the weight limitation must really suck, isn't it? :D
      Wow, when I came from Bangkok to Texas, I thought USA was so expensive. And now learning Brazil is even more!

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  4. My father's shameless relatives send us lists of things they want. From laptops to cameras to everything at Costco (Pantene, etc.) and then even make up! It's crazy!

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  5. We usually prefers to give electronic goods as gifts.....Iam not at interested in taking gifts..even my hub too.....
    maha

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    1. I guess getting gifts as obligation doesn't feel right, I don't like it that way too.
      Otherwise, who doesn't love gifts? ;) :D

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  6. My sister in law brought us a big bag of pistachios and lots of dishwasher tablets. We have a dishwasher but dishwasher tablets are never available in India. And some buffalo wing sauce for our chicken wings. And large packs of Duracell batteries, probably cheaper in the US?
    She brings her parents and in-laws dinner sets and teacup sets and the like too...

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    1. Oh cool, didn't know dishwasher concept reached India!
      Dinner & cup sets sound like a good idea, just should not break considering how they handle our bags. I've seen the guys literally throwing them in/out of airplane!
      Thanks for sharing, La :)

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  7. i remember as a kid everytime my aunt wud make their annual trip to india i wud wait eagerly for the chocolates! now mars, bounty and snickers are very cheap in india too but ferero rocher, hersheys, lindt and toblerone are super expensive so that is a great option for chocoholics
    saffron (buy them from indian stores they are of the best quality), almonds, cake decorating tips and bags, cream of tartar and meringue powder is not available here, hair straightning irons, body shop products are always a hit... also ps3 game cd's

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    1. Yeah, lots of things are becoming easily available in India. Until 6 years back we used to take Oreos, Pringles chips, and Kitkats every trip from BKK!
      Thanks for sharing so many options, Deepthi :)

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  8. The one thing I do carry with me is my ever-so soft TP - India has the worst and the so called foreign brands for which they charge so much are not half as soft as ours! And yes my first attempt at the black berry turned out pale - so I redid that color but did not want to NOt include that cake - It was meant to be "colorless" but you caught on :)))

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    1. haha, TP seriously!? well, I'm glad my house & in-laws place has the water hose :D

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  9. Let's see...my in-laws always ask for soaps, nuts and such from Costco and sometimes jewellery too (I don't understand this one at all). As for my sis, it's usually chocolates, nuts, perfume..nothing more. We do load up on candies and distribute those to all.

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  10. Hello there, my first time here :)

    I was in USA for a period of 2 yrs, on work. My frnd and I totally loved shopping in USA, especially for cute kitchen accesories. I so loved the cute things we get there, adorable butter knifes, spoon rests, ice cream serving spoon, pretty printed kitchen towels and the like. And people back home adore them and I get many enquiries of where I had got them from. I use them as food props in my food blog these days :)

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  11. one thing which comes to my head is sliced almonds or slivered almonds. They come so handy when you make halwa or any indian dessert. I used to carry for my mom and she loved it.

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