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earthdome

Travel back to USA from Philippines with food

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On our recent return to the USA from the Philippines my wife wanted to bring some food back. Imported filipino food in the USA can be very expensive and we had extra room in our luggage.

At first she wanted to bring back some special red rice from the area where her family lives. Then she pointed to a large box that likely weighed at least 15kg. I told her that it was very large and that US Customs may not allow us to bring it in. She also stated she wanted to take home to the US some dried fish. I said I needed to check the internet to determine what we could return with but it would have to wait since there is no signal at her family's home. She was not happy with this answer.

When I finally had access to the internet I found out that no rice of any kind can be imported personally due to the kharpa beetle pest present in SEA. But she could bring back as much nasty smelling dried/smoked fish that she wanted to for personal use. That was not the answer I wanted to hear. :sad:

When going through customs I reported that we had fish. Anyone who reported any agricultural product or food had to go through secondary screening where they xray'd your luggage. I heard the CBP agent comment on the couple behind us, "More corned beef".  They must see a lot of dried fish and corned beef coming from the Philippines.

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I ratted out my wife for Dinget to a US customs agent at SeaTac several years ago he just laughed at me. 😢

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A few years ago we were at Sea Tac waiting for our luggage to drop on the  carousel when a large cardboard box dropped, broke open, all this dried fish spilled out and was going around and around the carousel.  The attendant picked it all up, put it back in the box, taped it up and sent it on it’s way.

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Recently, a relative brought back to Los Angeles suman (cooked sticky rice) wrapped in banana leaf.  The dog immediately smelled the food.  The forbidden item was the banana leaf.  Customs agent instructed her to unwrap the food and throw the banana leaf wrapping into a special bin that he provided.  I thought it was nice of Customs.  Previously, you had to throw everything away including the cardboard box.

Most Filipino food is available from Asian supermarkets.  Recently, we were in a Vietnamese supermarket in Las Vegas.  They were selling "balut" made from chicken eggs.  I believe Philippines and Vietnam  are the only two countries producing this unique delicacy.

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13 hours ago, earthdome said:

But she could bring back as much nasty smelling dried/smoked fish that she wanted to for personal use. That was not the answer I wanted to hear. :sad:

We are different, I would have told her that dried fish is not allowed. :biggrin:

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20 hours ago, earthdome said:

I heard the CBP agent comment on the couple behind us, "More corned beef".  They must see a lot of dried fish and corned beef coming from the Philippines.

New Zealand is really strict on food stuffs, so when we went, I checked ahead for restrictions and then made one bag all food.

My wife pushed me to add a few restricted items and I am glad we didn't, because they really check!  And they know their Filipinos foods!  They jokingly rattled off a list of Filipino foods that they liked and asked if we had any!

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