Bringing food into the country from the US

Sequoia1321

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I have some favorite non perishable treats, such as chocolates, protein bars, specific brand of sleep tea that seems to work for me, etc., that I’m not sure I’ll easily find in BA, at least not at first, and was wondering if it might be a good idea to bring several months supply into the country either as part of luggage or ship it there. I have a special diet, vegan and low sugar, and got very attached to certain things. Do you have any suggestions, and know what kinds of things are involved if one want to do this? Here are some examples of those things I was thinking about bringing. Also, if some of these are available in BA that would be great.







The sleep tea is very important for me, if I don’t have it I have a hard time going to sleep. Chocolate, for whatever reason is also very important to me. I don’t know if I got “addicted” to it or what but I have a rough time if I go without it, and problem is it’s hard thing to find both vegan and sugar free or low sugar. The last one on the list, the “lavashak” which is a dried fruit snack, is usually only found in Persian grocery stores, not sure if BA has any, but that’s also a major part of my daily food routine. Because of my special diet, some of these things I imagine took a while to figure out that they exist and where to buy them, and am wondering how it’ll be in BA. It’s not easy to figure out if something is vegan. Even the food labels aren’t enough sometimes, if for example it says Natural Flavors, last I checked you don’t know for sure if that’s animal derived, and sometimes I email the manufacturer who might know. Luckily things are starting to be labeled vegan more often, but as you might imagine my grocery routine took a while to figure out and I’m afraid in BA, especially with the language barrier, it’s not going to be as easy.
 

jblaze5779

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If you need special things it's best to bring them with you when you come. When you need more you go out of the country again and get more. With the current set of clowns in office this will be very difficult.
 

antipodean

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Don’t expect to find any of the things you like from home here, and if you find them don’t expect to see them available on a regular basis.
Even international mass consumer brands like Haribo, Lindt, Twinings, Heinz etc come and go.

To give you an idea, here are the US products one of the larger barrio chino supermarkets have currently available on their website:

You’ll simply need to find and adapt to local substitutes which may or may not be to your taste or otherwise fly to the US. For those accustomed to consumer choice and international brands, living in Argentina is all about “going without” - 180 degree difference to the US or European reality. If you simply can’t “make do” with whatever is available, you won’t like living in Argentina.

That said there are plenty of local options for vegans and people on special diets. Many have online stores. Google supermercados veganos in BA and browse the shelves so you get an idea.
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jblaze5779

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This guy (or girl) reminds me of me when I first arrived 3 years ago like I would just be able to get anything I wanted in the world class city that is Buenos Aires. Simply not true.

Then I moved to an even worse spot with practically no imports or food variety.

You gotta get used to doing without in Argentina. Or find some kind of local product copy made by an argentine that went to Miami once. These are hit or miss.

If you are going to look for imported foods the Chinatown spots are the best option as stated above. But you will pay much more than you would on Amazon. To me I don't have a problem with paying the extra cost because I don't have any other option or I want whatever it is bad enough that I don't care.

Also if you're vegan make sure you clarify when you order. In many places lacteos are considered vegan (I think this has to do with poor understanding of vegan is).
 

steveinbsas

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I have some favorite non perishable treats, such as chocolates, protein bars, specific brand of sleep tea that seems to work for me, etc., that I’m not sure I’ll easily find in BA, at least not at first, and was wondering if it might be a good idea to bring several months supply into the country either as part of luggage or ship it there.

Anything you ship will be subject to import fees (50%?) and you may also be charged the same fee on the shipping costs.
 

FrankPintor

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I am tentatively sure that I saw, and even bought, celestial tea in one of the local small supermarkets (Carrefour or Dia) but I'll have to make sure now. If you can manage to break out of what you're used to, Argentina is a paradise (as is Chile) for herbal teas, made from plants that only grow in Patagonia. For international products, Jumbo (jumbo.com.ar) is a better choice, though products tend to come and go.

There are also lots of health stores around (almost on every block in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires) where, if you can't buy the granola bars you want, you can probably get the raw ingredients.

And, as jblaze says above, Chinatown in Belgrano is good for imported goods. We go there to get cider vinegar, soya and other sauces, and veggies and spices not too commonly available elsewhere (good chilli peppers for example, especially rocoto, curcuma roots, ginger, and so on).

Finding good chocolate is not too easy, Rapanui have 60-80% bars which are not bad, though it's not the same as chocolate in the Caribbean countries. I've never seen any Persian restaurants or supermarkets here.

And finally, though you didn't ask, organic veggies are very good here. Currently we order from a place called "Tallo Verde" who claim to pick our produce when we order. It doesn't get much better than that, really.
 

Sequoia1321

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Thanks all. It was very useful info. I did a bit of research and indeed there are vegan restaurants and grocery stores in BA. They also seem to have cruelty free products so will check them out. Although I didn’t notice much American brands that I”m used to, I see there lots of unfamiliar brands, might be Argentinian I guess. Not sure how their quality will be, but it’s good to know that you can go somewhere and easily find vegan foods, especially as a foreigner with language issues. I’m also confident there’ll be a good amount of vegan restaurants and vegan dining option in BA, and of good quality. Seems like that type of a place. Has a NY/Austin vibe. I imagine after a while there’ll be things from BA that I’ll miss.

5 Kilos, 11 lbs of food sounds good. I think I’ll make good use of that. Thanks for the links. Also, the Google keyword search that was provided in Spanish seemed to have yielded different results than if I had searched in English. Will try to search with Spanish keywords as well in the future, and then Google Translate seems to do a decent job of translating the websites.
 

Ries

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You can certainly bring as much as you can fit in your bag.
But sooner or later, you are going to have to learn to eat local.
I still bring down some asian condiments every time I come, and duty free whiskey- but in general, its much easier and fresher to find local substitutes. Its far from a food desert, its just not overrun by global brands.
Lots of good things to eat.
 

jantango

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It's not about "doing without" in Buenos Aires. I'd say it's learning to make an adjustment which eventually becomes necessary if you intend to live in Buenos Aires as I have for 22 years. It is possible to survive without familiar products and find new ones to replace them.

Eating organic produce couldn't be more simple here by ordering online from Tallo Verde where you can pay with a credit or debt card and have the order delivered to your door, morning or afternoon, several days of the week. I get my weekly order of vegetables, fruits, seeds, beans, and rice every Thursday afternoon. All the produce is washed and bundled in a huge plastic bag. The delivery man calls me when he is close to my apartment so I'm at the front door when the van arrives. I'm eating better now than I did in the U.S. It's so inexpensive eating organic. I can't say enough about Tallo Verde's quality and service.

Yesterday I did my monthly stock up shopping at BioMarket (all organic) on Av. Puerreydon 2088 near Av. Las Heras. Today I did the same at Club Saludable at Av. Callao 836 near Av. Cordoba. If this store doesn't have it, then it's probably not available in BA. They have everything and continue to expand their incredible line of products. I buy organic spagetti from Italy at Club Saludable. They have a wide range of dried mushrooms. I bought shiitakes. You could spend hours in this health food store and still not see all the products offered.
 
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