6 foods you'll miss if you're Irish in the U.S.

TransferWise content team
3 minute read

There are nearly 40 million people in the U.S. who claim to have Irish heritage, according to recent census data, or about seven times the population of Ireland today.

It is hence not hard to find an array of Celtic festivals and Irish pubs in the States, many serving up “traditional” Irish food. Yet corned beef and cabbage belongs more to festive American St. Patrick’s Day celebrations than it does to the cuisine of modern-day Ireland.

We asked Irish TransferWise customers and colleagues in the U.S. which foods, from cheddar to chips, they miss when in the U.S., and where they find them -- or how they make them from scratch. Below are some of their answers.

Tayto Crisps


Move over, Lay’s.

The prized snack food of the Irish, it is a bit too easy to devour a bag of these crunchy crisps, especially in the delectable onion and cheddar flavor.

Some munch on them with a glass of Guinness, while others eat them in a “Tayto sandwich” with a cup of Barry’s or Lyons tea. You probably won’t find these sitting on American grocery store shelves, but can online at Amazon.com or as part of “Ireland’s Traditional Treat Box” at The Irishstore.com.

Barry's Tea


This tasty tea is all too familiar to Irish natives, as it has become their nationally loved hot beverage of choice. Founded and headquartered in Cork, Ireland, Barry's has black, green, and even fruit and herbal teas available for purchase.

Expats are sure to miss the familiar taste of a hot cup of Barry's tea, which can be found in any corner market or grocery store back in Ireland.

The bread


Sliced white American bread doesn’t quite cut it for the Irish, who have several of their own tasty and unique recipes.

The beloved “Batch bread” has a dark crust on top and the bottom, but none on the side due to the loaf being separated into smaller pieces once it’s baked. If you have a lot of yeast and flour -- and patience -- there are a number of recipes to make it from scratch.

Other expats tell us they miss soda bread, and make it themselves. It’s quite easy, as long as you have a lot of butter, buttermilk, flour and sugar -- and a pinch of baking soda -- on hand.

Breakfast meats


The Irish version of bacon, and a breakfast staple, rashers are round and made from the back meat of a pig.

They are often accompanied by black or white pudding, which is usually then grilled or fried. For anyone eager to eat some of these meats -- perhaps accompanied with traditional baked beans, fried eggs, and fried mushrooms and tomatoes -- visit the online retailers offering them in the U.S.

Jacob’s Biscuits


Whether covered in chocolate, plain or filled with cream, this brand of sweet and savory biscuits can be found in many Irish cupboards. Founded in 1851, Jacob’s has become synonymous with snack food in Ireland -- and can be purchased in the States on websites such as britishfoodshop.com and foodireland.com.

Irish Cheddar


This slightly sweet, slightly nutty Dubliner cheese is also a good way to describe the residents of the city from which it hails.

Made from the milk of free-range cows in the heart of Ireland’s dairy land, it’s possible to find this aged cheddar cheese at Trader Joe’s and other chain retailers around the U.S.

Expats also tell us they miss the popular Kilmeaden cheese, advertised in Ireland as the fillet of cheddar. But as it’s not readily exported to the U.S. (yet), they may have to wait for a trip back home to try it again.

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