You are here: Home / Destinations / Germany / All Documents - Munich / Munich - What is Not Available Locally

Munich - What is Not Available Locally

Various items that expatriate might find hard to come by in Munich.

Power Point Adaptors
To plug your electrical devices from home into a German wall socket. Stock up before you leave home. The airport is often a good place to purchase these. Don't forget that it is 220v in Europe!

Fly Spray
The only fly spray we've been able to find is a heavy-duty spray. There is no such thing as a spray you use to spray directly on an insect in mid flight. You must evacuate the room for 20 minutes after spraying, then open all the windows and doors to air the room for another 20 minutes before it is again fit for human habitation. Fly swats or insect-repelling scented candles are the popular alternative to fly spray.

Cordial or Squash Concentrate
Only some specialty supermarkets stock imported brands of this. The preferred German drink is beer.

Laksa Paste
Some specialty Asian grocery stores stock it, but many don't. I was actually in an Asian store with a couple of packets of laksa paste in my hand, when I overheard a staff member tell a customer that they didn't sell it!

Low Fat Dairy Products
Although 1.5% milk is commonly available, most yoghurts contain a minimum 8% fat, and cheeses have a minimum 45% fat. A special German dairy product called "Quark" (meaning curd cheese) is available with 0.1% fat. (In another cities you will find low fat dairy products more easily).

Pre-grated Cheese.
Although pre-sliced cheese is plentiful, if you want grated cheese you have to grate it yourself. (In another cities pre-grated cheese is available in large varieties and every supermarket stocks them)

Tasty Cheese
Traditional Swiss cheeses are the norm. Cheddar and Tasty are next to impossible to find. (In another cities large supermarkets do carry find those items).

Soft White Bread
In general, German bread is round, dark, heavy, and often full of seeds. It comes to you unsliced, and due to its density, is very difficult to cut through. It is also totally without preservative, so if you don't eat it all on the first day, forget it! (The bakeries do slice the bread for you and if you are a single or small household, pack the amount of slices into a plastic bag and freeze it. The bread can be taken out the night before and tastes as if just bought at the bakery.)
Soft, square, pre-sliced white bread is available from selected supermarkets and is called 'American Sandwich Bread', or 'Toast'.

Vegetarian Meat Substitutes
Due to the German philosophy that no meal is complete without meat, preferably originating from a pig, these products are not commonly available in supermarkets. You can find them at 'Reformhaus', a healthfood chain with green and yellow signage, and at specialty Asian supermarkets, where they are much cheaper!

There is only a narrow selection of mops available. My personal favourite, which has a sponge attached to a collapsible plastic head, is unavailable. (In Germany many of the chains 'Rossmann', 'Ihr Platz' etc do carry those items.)

Mexican Food Ingredients
Only the larger supermarkets stock the tortillas, tacos, and accompanying spices and sauces to make your favourite Mexican dish quickly and simply. You have to start from scratch! (But you can find several online shops which will send all you need to your house including complete meals)

Non-smoking (areas in) Restaurants
It's Germany. Everyone smokes everywhere. Having said that, people on neighbouring tables will often put their cigarettes out if you ask them to when your food arrives.

'Good' Service
In restaurants and shops it is very difficult to get the waiters' or shop assistants' attention. The up-side to this is when you do get good service, you really do appreciate it.

24-hour Shopping and Convenience Stores
Bavarian society is overwhelmingly traditional. The Bavarians believe Sunday is family day so shops should not be open. If you do run out of essentials on the weekend, or after 8pm during the week, you may be able to get them at a petrol station or from a shop at one of the larger train stations, but you do pay extra! A recent public holiday that fell on a Saturday saw droves of people shopping at the airport supermarket, over 31km from the city centre!

Over-the-phone Bill Paying
The usual way to pay a bill is direct deposit at the bank, or through a standing order. Over-the-phone credit card bill paying does not exist.

Do-it-yourself car Washes
(They do exist everywhere else in Germany)

Self-raising Flour
Luckily baking powder is available in little sachets. I normally add a full sachet (one tablespoon) to every 2-4 cups of plain flour. Everything has risen beautifully so far...

Kentucky Fried Chicken
If you have a hankering for chicken flavoured with Colonel Sanders' 11 secret herbs and spices, you'll have to go all the way to Augsburg. (There is another KFC just off the Autobahn to Nuremberg, but I can't remember exactly where it was.)

Serviettes with a Cauliflower Motif
It's a long story, but I've searched a few countries now for these items. Munich doesn't stock them either.


Filed under: , , ,