Why You Should Eat at 7-Eleven (While Traveling in Asia)

That's right. I'm strongly suggesting you eat at 7-Eleven.

The first time I figured this out was on our recent trip to Seoul. It was breakfast and we were jetlagged after having just flown in from Portland the night before. We were on our way back to the airport for a flight to Jeju and needed some breakfast and some snacks. We weren't terribly excited to grab breakfast from a convenience store, but didn't have much choice. We wandered into a 7-Eleven and were totally surprised. So many choices!

The food at 7-Eleven and most convenience stores in Asia is at another level.

 They do have the standard convenience food you'll find in the United States, but with a twist. Where in America the 7-Eleven might have Pringles, here in Asia those Pringles are shrimp and wasabi flavored. The Snickers are oat Snickers. There's pre packaged crab meat.

 Crab Meat at the 7-Eleven in Korea

Crab Meat at the 7-Eleven in Korea

There's what the Japanese call onigiri: little packets of rice stuffed with various meats and wrapped with seaweed. And a bin of hot coals on which rest half a dozen roasted sweet potatoes. This might just be my bias towards foods that aren't familiar to me, but after eating at 7-Eleven in Korea and Taiwan numerous times, I started to realize that we weren't just attracted to the newness of it all. We were attracted to the quality and the freshness and the diversity of options.

 Onigiri: what's inside is always a surprise!

Onigiri: what's inside is always a surprise!

We would pop in in the afternoon to grab a quick coffee. And let me say this, the selection of coffee in Korea is nuts, and most of it is represented in some form at 7-Eleven. We would run to the 7-Eleven to grab a few items to snack on during a hike. And if we didn't want to cook in our tiny tiny apartment? You guessed it. 7-Eleven for some ramen.

 Only One Sweet Potato left!

Only One Sweet Potato left!

It's where kids get snacks after school and business people in suits get dinner on their way home. They have tables so you can dine in. They have microwaves for the popcorn and hot water dispensers for the instant ramen.  Walking into a 7-Eleven in Asia feels like you are walking into somebody's kitchen. It isn't just a place to get condoms and beer, although it is that too. It's a place where you can come all day long to get all kinds of fresh and unique foods. 

So for these reasons I implore you - put your bias aside and stop for dinner at 7-Eleven the next time you are in Asia. It's totally worth it.