I'm traveling to Taiwan and Beijing for a few weeks, and I'm looking for some local, unique foods from LA to bring with me as gifts. Vitamins, I've been informed, are a popular choice for a gift to bring over there but that strikes me as a bit impersonal and a bit like giving somebody socks for Christmas. Although, I suppose vitamins could be somewhat appropiate given the image of Californians as health conscious.
At first, I was thinking of bringing some candy, something like See's chocolates or sea salt caramels from Little Flower Candy Company but I'm concerned that they might be too sweet for the recepient. I've noticed that Chinese desserts from their pastry shops or at the end of a Chinese meal are never chocolately and almost never sweet.
Then, I was thinking of bringing along coffee beans from Intelligentsia because they'd be easy to transport, they're something local that you wouldn't find over in Taiwan, and because coffe beans in Taiwan end up costing a lot more over there. But, I don't think they'll make a good choice because I've been told that assuming the recepient drinks coffee instead of tea, they don't drink coffee at home but at cafes.
Ideally, I'm looking for something that looks nice enough to be presentable, travels easily and won't spoil right away, and is cheaper to buy here in LA than it is over there in Taiwan. And that its local, either locally made or made from local ingredients or something that's sold only here.
I was also originally thinking about iconic LA foods, a food that you think of when you think of LA or even California. But, I can't think of anything that would work. There's restrictions about bringing in fruit or vegetables into a foreign country. And, a hamburger won't travel well.