Open to the public 24/7, a new store born every 2-hours, more locations than McDonalds. These credentials can only fit one store, and that’s 7-Eleven.
Most Americans see the place as merely a store to buy slurpees and snack food, but to other countries, it’s a lifesaving mothership. From picking up packages to providing hearty meals, 7-Elevens fulfil a plethora of everyday needs.
As you might be aware, 7-Eleven tailors its stores to a country’s needs. I’m not just talking about the food, each 7-Eleven holds its own quirks. You might find them comical, weird or just down right disgusting. You can make up your own mind on that…
Taiwanese 7-Eleven. Photo credit: Alain. / CC BY 2.0
Imagine a normal car, perhaps a Honda Civic, with its simple yet reliable performance, that’s a normal convenience store-type 7-Eleven. Now imagine a Bugatti Veyron with its quad-turbocharged W16 engine, that’s a Taiwanese 7-Eleven.
Around 4,400 7-Elevens are located in the capital city of Taipei. These stores are stocked up with purchasable electronics like iPods, and a selection of local-style meals. Taiwan’s 7-Eleven even provides a place to pay credit card bills, traffic tickets, utility bills and property taxes. And there’s more… these 7-Elevens even host programs like health screenings and offer a package pickup service. And just to add a cherry on top, some will even do your dry cleaning.
Onigiri. Photo by Joey Rozier/ CC BY 2.0
The clock strikes noon and people flood the streets of Japan rushing to grab lunch. You’ll notice many of the herd moving in one direction—towards 7-Eleven. Japan’s 7-Elevens are popular spots to grab healthy cheap meals when you’re in a rush, or need to save money.
Most of the packaged meals at 7-Eleven are surprisingly fresh and of a similar quality to dishes you’d find at your average restaurant. The dishes can be anything from bento boxes to soup dumplings to sushi.
What’s even more impressive is the drinks selection. Japan’s 7-Elevens stay stocked to the brim with champagne, sake, beer, scotch, Korean makgeolli, French and Chilean wines, and even the store’s own personal brand, Yosemite Road. The coffee isn’t half bad either. Most of the 7-Elevens in Japan even provide self-serve coffee makers with built in bean grinders.
Japan’s 7-Elevens offer solace for any foodie on a budget. So next time you visit, give one of these stores a shot. It’ll probably ruin your love for all of the other 7-Elevens, but hey, at least you ended up with a cheap and tasty meal.
It’s Saturday night in Hong Kong, which means it’s time to hit up the clubs. Ask any local where the cheapest place to buy drinks is, and they’ll point you in the direction of Club 7. This is no ordinary club, but it’s just as popular and crowded—we’re talking about 7-Eleven.
In Hong Kong you’ll find people hanging around and drinking in 7-Elevens on the weekend. Lan Kwai Fong (LKF) probably has the most hoppin’ 7-Eleven in Hong Kong. At first glance, the store doesn’t even resemble a 7-Eleven. Young locals and “gweilo” (foreigners) swarm these places, drinks in hand, making the convenience store look like an open-aired bar.
Don’t forget to stop by a 7-Eleven the next time you plan to have a wild night in Hong Kong: the drinks are considerably cheaper than at a bar or club!
The First Bite. Photo by PJ R/ CC BY 2.0
Australia’s 7-Elevens are like most of the others in the east, offering package pickup, fuel, ATMS, local food and Slurpees. However, they offer one product that most 7-Elevens unfortunately lack.
I’m referring to the melt-in-you-mouth sugary bliss of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Krispy Kreme delivers a variety of fresh doughnuts to most 7-Elevens in Australia. If you haven’t already experienced the un-adulterated euphoria of Krispy Kreme, then stop reading and bust out your GPS. Find the closest Krispy Kreme and make plans to visit—even if it’s out of the country. You’ll thank me later.
Photo credit: Rony Zakaria for the International Herald Tribune
Craving coffee and entertainment? Indonesia’s 7-Elevens appear to be more of an upscale coffeehouse, than a convenience store. Providing free Wi-Fi, inside and outside seating, and live musical performances, 7-Eleven easily draws in the younger crowds. Most of its customers are under the age of 30.
Like Hong Kong, Indonesia’s 7-Eleven welcomes those experiencing the country’s nightlife. Besides providing a cheap place to purchase alcohol, you’ll find students and other locals engrossed in their laptops working or studying to the early hours.
SPAM musubi!! Photo by Kanaka Menehune/ CC BY 2.0
If you’re not aware, Hawaii is obsessed with spam. The odd love affair goes back to WWII. With this information, I’m sure it’s no surprise that every 7-Eleven in Hawaii serves spam musubi. For those who’ve never heard of the dish, spam musubi is a slice of fried spam placed on top of a bed of rice and wrapped in nori dried seaweed.
Some of the locals even dub 7-Eleven’s spam musubi (spam with rice wrapped in seaweed) as the best store bought musubi in Hawaii. You can also find spam on the islands’ McDonald’s and Burger King menus. Don’t let your past notions of spam keep you from giving it a shot if you ever find yourself in Hawaii! Anything with the nickname “Hawaiian steak” can’t be too bad.
Denmark’s healthier 7-Elevens. Photo: Wikicommons
You might be surprised to discover that 7-Eleven in Scandinavia is very popular, with a higher percentage of 7-Elevens per person than Canada! You can still find your slurpees and hot dogs inside, but the chain store also offers patrons the option of paleo salads and healthy snacks too. For 7-Eleven fans visiting Copenhagen, be sure to check out the city’s mega-sized store!
We hope you’ve enjoyed adventuring into the world of 7-Eleven! If you know of an awesome 7-Eleven that hasn’t been included on the list, we’d love to know about it. Please leave us a comment below.