I'm curious to know if anyone else on the boards here has relocated themselves to a place that is ethnically very foreign, specifically Asia, I guess.
I love the food here, and I embrace cultures and speak the language and know how to make some of the local food and love to eat it, blah blah. But it's readily apparent that only specialty stores carry certain Western ingredients because they'd never leave the shelves in the typical grocery stores here. Most grocery stores here (in Taiwan) don't have mayonnaise, (real) cheese, very little milk or cream, very few fresh green leafy vegetables that would be identifiable to most Westerners (we do have like, mustard greens, sweet potato greens, and some other things, but nothing that's eaten without boiling or frying the crap out of it), and the way they name some things is very ambiguous. Sometimes when you see "lime" on label, it's actually a lime; others, it's a green lemon. It's nearly impossible to find anything but horrible, eggy, starchy, sweet Asian wannabe brioche bread made with soymilk, usually containing raisins or pork fiber or red beans. It's difficult to find most juices here, and the selection of fresh fruits (aside from the local ones that aren't used in any kind of Western cooking) doesn't go beyond the fruits you'd see in an alphabetic coloring book for a four year old.
That said, there are still times when I can work with what I've got. It does demand creativity, but a large number of the recipes I look up online are no good to me because I don't have an oven or half the ingredients or the money to pay for them here if I could find them. You can't have everything, obviously, but I am wondering if there's anyone else that's in a similar situation and has any advice or tips for these kinds of cooking restraints based on your geography.