Like churches in Poland, pubs in England and Mcdonalds in America- 7/11’s are a BIG deal in Thailand. Like an infestation; where there’s one, there’s another right next door, across the road or just down the street. I don’t think I’ve gone a single day in this country without seeing at least 5 different 7/11 stores, not that that’s a bad thing- 7/11 is SO convenient it sells all kinds of useful (and not so useful) products, the volume of the shops is what’s crazy. BUT, When you’re in the middle of nowhere, at a bus service station, or are ridiculously drunk at 5AM and are in desperate need of a snack-7/11 is the holy grail. Can a convenience store really offer things for us vegans to eat though? You’re in luck my dear friends, just follow my handy guide and you’ll be eating like a king in no time!
Toasties are 7/11’s main attraction when it comes to us farangs; white people simply can’t get enough of them. Who’s to blame them? They’re 25 baht (50p) and smell delicious, even if they look a little processed and well…nasty.
Behold! The Taro toastie. Taro is a kind of potato that is very popular in Asia, completely unsurprising because it’s absolutely delicious. If you’re in a hurry or 7/11 is the only place nearby check to see if you can find one of these bad boys, not healthy in the slightest but this is 7/11- nothing is healthy here! This toastie is Ah-mazing and is simply too good for words. Just don’t be put off by it’s pale-purple colour or its unnatural sweetness, this is Thailand so Mai Ben Rai!
As well as the taro toastie, there is also an elusive, mythical snack I’ve heard wondrous things of, but never been as lucky to catch a glimpse of myself. The Japanese Pumpkin toastie. Sounds exotic and delicious, if you find one before I do, make sure to tell me how it is.
Fruits & Vegetables
Yep, you read that right…fruits and vegetables at 7/11, you can believe your eyes. Although perhaps I should change the header to ‘fruit & vegetable’ seeing as there is only 1 of each- a banana and a corn on the cob. Beggars can’t be choosers here so if you’re looking for something healthy-ish this one’s for you.
Banana’s are in almost every 7/11, cost 8 baht (20p) and are strangely wrapped in a plastic bag…as if bananas don’t already have a natural form of packaging. Classic Thailand and their immense love for plastic. These bananas are the same type that you get in the west, so it can be very strange eating them after so many strange Asian bananas- buy a few as they can be small.
Corn on the cob is my life and soul in 7/11. Pretty big statement but 100% true. They’re fresh (they taste fresh enough anyway), they don’t taste like they have any nasties added to them (they most likely still do though), they’re 20 baht (45p) and the staff will microwave it for you there and then! How can a vegan not be excited about eating processed, microwaved, corn on the cob at 5AM after a night out (I’m not being sarcastic). Thank you to my TEFL friend Stef for introducing these to me; I will love you forever purely because of this corn on the cob shaped light you have brought into my life.
You can also purchase various dried fruits here, but they are so drenched in sugar I wouldn’t really class it as a fruit anymore. Try the dried tamarind, so tasty and surprisingly, no added sugar
Biscuits & sweets
One word. Oreos. Need I say more? two more words 5 baht (11p).
The one issue I’ve had with finding out if products are SFV is that the ingredients lists are usually all in Thai…go figure. There are a pretty ridiculous number of sweets in 7/11- some look tasty and intriguing, others look downright bizarre and off putting. I tend to stick with brands I recognise, just to be on the safe side- my absolute favourite sweet (I’m actually a little addicted to them) are Mentos- 10 baht (20p). A close second is Hi-Chews, specifically the cola flavour, incredibly moreish but incredibly sugary too, giving me an instant headache after eating a pack.
Vegan chocolate is VERY hard to find in Thailand. You can of course go to Tops Market and pay an arm and a leg for your western favourites but I’m so used to Thai prices I seriously begrudge spending £5 on a small bar of Lindt. Coffeeshots are the perfect treat when you want something a little ‘chocolatey’. At an absolute bargain price of 10 baht (20p) you can enjoy an entire packet of coffee flavoured caramely, chocolatey goodness. Just be careful they don’t break your teeth.
Crisps & nuts
Luckily for us vegans; 7/11 has a pretty impressive nut selection. From cashews, salted peanuts, pistachios to almonds; 7/11 has them all AND they’re pretty reasonably priced too…for nuts that is. Make sure you try my favourites; almonds and cranberries, almonds and banana chips and coconut flavoured peanuts. A word of warning though- watch out for the chicken peanutes, it has actual essence of chicken in it…gross.
I was so impressed when we discovered these BBQ flavour lays are vegan; especially now that Walkers are using REAL meat essence in their crisps in the UK now. Only 30 baht (65p) for a sharers bag.
In Asia, you’ll try some pretty strange dessert combinations- ones you would never have even imagined could be classified as food never mind a dessert. Well you’ve got to embrace them and once you have you’ll learn to love them.
Check out my favourite Asian, vegan desserts here!
I love sweetcorn (which you may have guessed by the way I went on about the corn on the cob earlier) so it’s only natural that I learnt to love sweetcorn in my desserts. 7/11 sell one of my ALL TIME favourite puddings- sweetcorn, green jelly worms, coconut ride in coconut milk. Sounds pretty gross right? WRONG! It may sound weird but it’s completely delicious, promise me you will try it! It’s a steal at 15 baht (35p) and if you fancy it hot the staff will microwave it for you and give you a tiny spoon to eat it on the go.
The filled buns are one of the best things about 7/11-period! There is a huge selection of these bread desserts, they are amazingly tasty and most are vegan too (the ingredients are in English, make sure you check the packaging). Joe’s favourite is the Red Bean, black sesame flavoured bun whereas I prefer Pandan sugar custard one. Fill your boots- you won’t regret it. Oh, and they’re 15p!
Soymilk is a pretty huge deal in Asia, you will be able to buy it literally everywhere; roadside stalls, service stations, even some toilets! So obviously 7/11 has a pretty good selection. Be wary of Lactosoy though, it usually has milk in it (which frustrates me like nothing else). You can buy large boxes in selected stores but I’m pretty confident the glass bottles and child size cartons are available everywhere.
My local 7/11 has its own fresh coffee counter which is fantastic, but that’s pretty rare. If you’re in dire need for some caffeine and don’t fancy stuffing your face with coffee shots then grab an iced coffee from the fridges. Nescafe’s Black ice and espresso roast are both completely SFV. Make sure you keep an eye out for Hershey’s iced Mocha drinks- complete with vegan chocolate milk!
So you may not be able to always find a vegan meal in Thailand but 7/11 will always be able to provide you with some yummy snacks- perfect for on the go, when you’re in a rush, in the middle of nowhere or need a pick me up early in the morning or late at night.
No need to thank me! What are you favourite 7/11 snacks?
p.s if you can send me a drop pin location of a 7/11 that sells the Japanese Pumpkin toastie please send me it (not kidding, this is a desperate plea for help) I NEED to try it.
Much love from wherever I am,