This is a bold statement, but one I firmly stand by. With so many great meals to be had and with such a varying variety of flavors, how can I possibly state that 7-Eleven is my favorite restaurant in Asia? Before all you foodie snobs out there jump all over this, let me explain.
Here are 5 reasons why 7-Eleven is my favorite restaurant in Asia for backpackers and budget travelers:
This should be an obvious reason why 7-Eleven is my favorite restaurant in Asia. This, of course, is less of a factor in places like Thailand, The Philippines, or Indonesia where you can eat a great meal for a nickel (a nickel!) Jokes, but it is ridiculously cheap. But what about Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore where meals can cost significantly more? This is where 7-Eleven can really help stretch your travel dollars.
Another reason why 7-Eleven is my favorite restaurant in Asia is the subtle (and the not-so-subtle) differences to the North American counterparts. 7-Eleven’s in North America have snacks and fast food items (although I would never eat the fast food items) and so do the 7-Eleven’s in Asia, except I will gladly eat the fast food items there. I.e. a deliciously steamed bun versus a dirty hot dog.
There is also a “Royal with cheese” effect. This famous conversation from Pulp Fiction can be applied to items found at 7-Eleven. You can still find chips, soda, and snacks except with fun and exotic (to North Americans) flavors. Seaweed Pringles anyone? Yes, please. Everybody loves different, especially when it’s delicious. If you don’t love different than 7-Eleven still has you covered as they carry most of the major products you will find at home… But why leave then? Live a little. Try the seaweed Pringles.
To expand on why 7-Eleven is my favorite restaurant in Asia because it is cheap, it is also a great place to try something new at a low-cost. I found that 7-Eleven’s carry some sort of staple food that is different in each country and is delicious. In Japan, it is these little seaweed triangles stuffed with rice and fish. In Hong Kong it is varying types of Chinese buns – although ones stuffed with hot dogs sadly seemed to be a favorite. In Thailand, it is rice patty sandwiches (although their grilled cheese is pretty awesome too.) As a budget traveler these options are great on the go, filling, and tasty.
The variety of sweet pastries between countries is pretty amazing too. I must have eaten my weight and green bean sweets in Thailand. Hong Kong it was melon flavored buns. I have a problem.
The other main reason why 7-Eleven is my favourite restaurant in Asia is it’s ridiculously easy convenience. You may be thinking “Shaun, it’s a convenience store!” But being a backpacker in Asia, this convenience is taken to a whole new level. With over 1,000 stores in Hong Kong, 7,500 stores in Thailand, and over 15,000 in Japan, 7-Eleven’s can be found on every other corner in most major hubs. Literally. This is incredibly handy for picking up the essentials such as water, cheap eats, beer and the not so essentials – Sim cards, calling cards, and reading materials.
7-Eleven is Also my Favorite Bar in Asia
The final reason why 7-Eleven is my favorite restaurant in Asia is the simple fact that you can buy beer there. Living in Canada (excluding Quebec) this option is pretty awesome. For Americans or Europeans, this is nothing new however the fact that you can (in most parts) crack your beer outside of the 7-Eleven and walk around with it is. On any given night while I was in Thailand my evening routine included grabbing a tall can of Chang (or Heineken if I felt like splurging) and then enjoying a foot massage on the street while I drank and people watched. What a country!
7-Eleven is my Favorite Restaurant in Asia…as a Backpacker
Based on cost, convenience, fun flavors, and easy access to beer, you can see why 7-Eleven is my favorite restaurant in Asia. Many of you may still be turning up your nose however to this day I still crave the Nori triangle wraps from Japan and the green been pastries of Thailand. Jalapeno popper taquitos and jelly donuts it ain’t.
Long live 7-Eleven, my favorite restaurant in Asia.