Sending gifts to a gay friend in Malaysia
February 12, 2018 7:44 PM   Subscribe

My bestie and I are brainstorming items for a care package to send a friend in Malaysia. Friend is a middle class gay man in his 30s, lives in KL, and wants "quintessentially American" items. What might he like? What would be appropriate?
posted by S'Tella Fabula to Shopping (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Kraft macaroni and cheese and ranch dressing. Taco seasoning mix.
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:46 PM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Peanut butter
posted by raccoon409 at 8:01 PM on February 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Old Bay seasoning
posted by lalex at 8:02 PM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yankee Candle (see also YC car air fresheners), extremely homey/kountry kitchen/shabby chic/down-home-patriot/faux Frenchie home goods (oven mitts/hand towels, s&p shakers, spoon rest, placemats, wall hanging (live laugh love!), floor mat etc etc etc - don't forget the entire "big cock" range of faux French home decor). Whatever shit Target has on their home decor aisle, or even better HomeGoods/Michael's/JoAnn's.

Any of the really good Trader Joe's (or Williams Sonoma, random seasonings from Marshall's/TJMaxx/Ross, or even your local grocery spice aisle) mixed seasonings like Everything But The Bagel or Seasoned Salt or even Cavendish Greek or Tony Chachere's or Old Bay. Or some of Penzey's top-sellers. Packet seasonings like abovemetioned Taco, Meatloaf, Country Gravy, Alfredo, Spaghetti Sauce.

Jell-O. Kool Aid or Country Time Lemonade or any of the premixed Arnold Palmer drink mixes.

If you do anything above or below that might require US measurements, send a set of plastic measuring cups and spoons. Betty Crocker makes some, if you really want to go painfully American, but I think Martha Stewart also makes some if you want to be more on gay brand.

Peanut butter or butterscotch or Reese's chips for cookies or blondies, with a cookie and/or blondie recipe.

Red Solo cups. Miniature red Solo cup shot glasses. Real cups that look like red Solo cups. Plus ping pong balls.

Cedar wrap grilling paper, BBQ seasoning or sauce.

Microwave popcorn, in the flavor "You Will Die From All This Butter Flavor". Microwave kettle corn. That snack mix that has the stuff that looks like rotini pasta, and the round rye crackers that are the best part.

Sour Patch Kids, Red Vines and Twizzlers (you have to be neutral here and send both and let him host a taste test), bullshit Hershey's or slightly more palatable Ghirardelli chocolate bars.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:07 PM on February 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

Underwear in an American flag print. Because simultaneously demanding everyone worship the flag while we wear it on our asses is a quintessentially American contradiction.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:08 PM on February 12, 2018 [6 favorites]

That snack mix that has the stuff that looks like rotini pasta, and the round rye crackers that are the best part. »» That would be Gardetto's and yes the rye chips are the best part.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 8:12 PM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh and I don't know how universal this stuff is anymore, but any heart-shaped-box of candy from the Seasonal aisle at the drugstore. Even if it's just Conversation Hearts.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:12 PM on February 12, 2018

As someone who lives in KL, I would be delighted to receive good quality maple syrup. You could add some high quality buttermilk pancake mix which is available here, but definitely feels super-American. Mexican/ Tex-Mex food is also limited here, and is usually El Paso and Kraft. I'm fairly sure you don't get those tinned fire-roasted tomatoes I sometimes see mentioned online. Imported dried spices tend to be very poor quality, so if there's anything you particularly associate with American food you could send that. If you have a list of food-related possibilities, I am happy to pop down to the supermarket later this week and check availability.

Non-food items might be a Hilary or other political t-shirt, a bandana, homeware, random things printed with the national or state flags, a cowboy hat or boots, 'don't tread on me' merchandise, or even your university pennant (I found those quite exotic in the States, though I'm not sure if Malaysian universiities go in for them too). I find the idea of a pocket Constitution hilarious, but that might depend on his interests.
posted by tavegyl at 8:22 PM on February 12, 2018 [8 favorites]

I traveled to KL for work a few years ago. My coworkers there were fans of American chocolate (M&Ms, Hershey, etc). Also Fried Chicken and KFC in particular, were "American Food" and very popular. I'm not sure how this translates to what to send, but maybe it will spark some ideas.
posted by nalyd at 8:23 PM on February 12, 2018

The biggest hits in American Care Packages I've sent have been Kool-Aid and real New York State maple syrup.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:52 PM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Candy. SweetTarts, Jelly Bellys, Hershey's kisses. Barbecue sauces. Maple syrup. Peanut butter & Fluff. Blueberry jam. Corn nuts, popcorn. Marshmallows. Kool Aid, Jello, both of which occasionally have special flavors, which I generally hate but would be fun to send. Does he drink? Lime jello and tequila = margarita Jello shots.

Would amusing socks be welcome? Amusing salt & pepper shakers or state mottoes? Mugs with amusing sayings or flags?
posted by theora55 at 9:25 PM on February 12, 2018

Spray cheese. Silly String. try to guess which is edible.
posted by theora55 at 9:26 PM on February 12, 2018

lucky charms and root beer.
posted by speakeasy at 10:19 PM on February 12, 2018

I have always appreciated genuine college tee-shirts and hoodies.
posted by Iteki at 11:58 PM on February 12, 2018

Someting from Walmart, Comic book, Timbalands (but what for:-), Oprah's bestseller book, BBQ recipee, American Football uniform. It depends on what he likes.
posted by Tori88 at 6:24 AM on February 13, 2018

As an Aussie the best thing I ever got sent by an American until I moved here was was real maple syrup and american buttermilk pancake mix. OH and a jar of fluff & instructions on how to make a fluffer nutter.

Don't send Peanut butter most places have it, they even have fancy "artisan" PB brands in Malaysia, but you might want to try Reeces pieces. If you know his age, try to think of food from movies from his teens he might have seen. I was interested in Twinkies. Oreo's, though you get most everywhere in the world now a days and most major candy brands are universal now a days, but they might find red vines. . . .interesting. BBQ Sauces from different states with a recipe for a favorite BBQ meat dish you like for them to try all the sauces on.

I once sent my brother an entire Halloween in a box he loved, light foam, decorations, various Halloween candies, cheap costumes, the weird cheap toys you give out. So maybe pick a theme like BBQ, Halloween, 4th of July or something. If 4th of July you could send decorations, flag decorations, table cloth, condiments, recipes, BBQ sauces, chips etc & he could have his own little 4th of July.

posted by wwax at 10:05 AM on February 13, 2018

Peanut butter & Fluff.

I sent a jar of marshmallow fluff to a friend in Australia, and it was seized by Australian Customs because it contains a small amount of egg whites, which apparently you can't send into Australia. They offered to ship it back to me for something like forty dollars, but I said no. We joked for a long time after that about the Customs agents sitting around all day eating Fluffernutters and getting their hands and faces all sticky.

He sent me back some Vegemite and a change purse made from a kangaroo scrotum.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:22 AM on February 13, 2018

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