Do You Travel with Any Condiments?

Hello Hungry Onioneers,

A bit of an embarrassing question, maybe, nevertheless I am curious if anyone travels with condiments.

I have such a fierce craving for adding something spicy to just about every savory/umami dish, that I am strongly considering taking some powdered chilies/chili flakes with me in my travels (depending on the destination, of course).

Amusingly, I actually had this habit about 25 years ago; a friend would bring back maple sugar from Vermont, and I’d sprinkle it liberally on whatever dessert passed my way.

Now let’s hear from you!


I used to carry Sichuan peppercorns in a TicTac box for snacking (on long distance journeys). Sichuanese in my train compartment thought it was crazy and funny. Crazy tourist snacked on Sichuan peppercorns from a candy dispenser.

Chilli flakes for meals. Sometimes tabasco.

In Chile I bought kilos of merken and ate it with meals during the trip.

But now I eat many kinds of chillies brought back from Mexico. Make salsa macha and sauces for home use. I also snack on the dried ones, straight up.

I always bring foodstuffs back from holidays. Rarely buy souvenirs anymore.


No, for me, when one travels, you’re suppose to live the experience of the food culture in that place, I’m generally curious, I do not want to impose my preferences. If the food isn’t suppose to be spicy in the culture, it’s weird to change it when you’re trying to experience.

Day to day life is different, if you’re saying travel means day trip to office, then it’s another story. You do what you want.


Supposed to live the experiences?

Let’s say you’re going to NY, Toronto, or Dubai. Native cuisines are quite the thing of the past, supplanted by culturally diverse deliciousness. What then?

As for “weird to change {the food},” the entire world has and continues to undergo food changes. Korean fried chicken is a thing now; historically, that peninsula was Buddhist, so no meat. Korean food has spicy elements, but chilies come from a continent or two away.

I take my spicy blends with me precisely because some local foods aren’t spicy.


And you mentioned salsa macha; how do you make yours? Peanuts, macadamias (the avant-garde version), lots of garlic, no garlic?

Never heard of mérken; does it favorably compare with chipotle?

I also prefer well-spiced food. My ‘normal’ spice may be too hot for some depending on their food culture and history.
Recently the places I have traveled to all have spiced and spicy food available, so no need for me to carry a masala kit around, but I won’t rule it out if in future I am going to a country where I feel a discreet spice shaker will help me enjoy the food more (I would not do this if someone invited me to their home).

The world-famous western classical orchestra conductor Zubin Mehta is of desi (Parsi) origin, grew up in Mumbai, and loves spicy food. He is also famous for traveling with a spice bottle and asking restaurants to add it to his food, like this very old article says:

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No, because I don’t need or want all my food to taste the same, and truthfully I see no difference between people who put hot sauce on everything and the much-maligned crowd who put ketchup on everything. :woman_shrugging:
Something like chicken pot pie is just as delicious to me as say, a tinga tostada. I don’t consider a chicken pot pie bland simply because it’s not spicy. It’s plenty flavorful and delicious but in a different way than something that’s hot.
I don’t like going out to eat with the mindset of modifying the food. People seem to accept that for spicy food and not wanting it to be toned down on their account, but not so much the other way around.


I make salsa macha using a standard recipe. No peanuts, I prefer macadamia. These days I add raw garlic to the salsa when ready to eat. Safer and raw garlic is far stronger.

I like to buy fresh Piri chillies in Portugal and use them during the trip. Portuguese eat these chillies but mostly on the side, in a sauce.

Merken is hot and smokey but not comparable to chipotle, which is different even though it’s also hot and smoked. Photo collage of merken market stalls in Chilean Patagonia. I hit the merken jackpot in Termuco (IIRC), a Mapuche stronghold, hence the availability of merken.

More about merken:

However, after having been to Oaxaca my new favourite chillies are the intense and smokey Passila Oaxaqueños (photos in first reply). Chipotle now ranks second.

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We carry around a little bottle of McCormack Sriracha seasoning to put on french fries when we dine out. It gives them a nice kick.

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How some people carry theirs


I bring home condiments from my travels, so yes! I bring home packets of Cholula from ski hill cafeterias. I also bring home things that catch my eye at the grocery stores in the places I visit.

I don’t tend to bring condiments from home unless they are gifts.

I’ve brought local mustard as a gift to relatives who live far away, as well as maple syrup.

I had to look this up.
Cool :sunglasses:


Good question and interesting discussion it has sparked.

Disclaimer - almost all of my leisure travel is within the US, and we’re normally renting homes from VRBO or AirBnB. So I generally take along a lot of spices, herbs, S&P, and condiments too. This is just to avoid having to buy them on the other end and then toss when I leave.


"I got a hot sauce in my bag. Swag " (Song by Beyonce)

Maybe in the US.

Elsewhere( I’m thinking Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, France), I think I’d want to taste a new cuisine the way it’s intended first.


The only time I traveled with condiments was walking the Appian way in Rome . I stepped off the walk viewing a ancient bay laurel tree. I picked some leaves off of it . I kept them in my shirt pocket all through customs back to the U.S . I made a pot of white beans with them . With a few simple ingredients. You could taste the history.



I don’t have an addiction, or perhaps reliance, on any one flavor or taste profile.

And if I did, I would find the condiment that I am craving at where I am traveling to.

And, if I couldn’t, I wouldn’t worry about it. Life goes on.



Don’t recall saying I’d disintegrate without a spice mix.

What a bizarre board, hungryonion is.

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Bizarre as in very strange or unusual? ? Compared to what?

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I dunno…I like it in here. Have since the beginning.


I remember a couple of pretentious poots on Chowhound a few years ago. One just couldn’t eat the salt in the shakers at restaurants, so carried their own Maldon sea salt flakes everywhere. Another could not tolerate the horrors of the mustard served on restaurant sandwiches, so carried their own Gulden’s mustard. To Wendy’s, I guess. Someone else never ate at any restaurant that served Ranch dressing, but I suppose that’s another subject.