I’ve always thought of 7-Eleven stores as quintessentially American but they are everywhere in Thailand. In fact there are more than 10,000 of them in the country, most of which are in Bangkok. Our Bangkok hotel was within easy walking distance of at least 10 of them.
I could spend over an hour in the smallest one, examining the exciting range of exotic products for sale. Bernd and I like to sample the strangest things we can find. The other day I bought a sweet pastry, iced on top, which as it turned out was filled with tuna. Thailand is full of surprises 🙂
Pictured above is a selection of the snacks we’ve bought from our local 7-Eleven in Chiang Rai. Clockwise from bottom left: durian flavoured candy, a pastry filled with red bean paste (Bernd’s favourite), cuttlefish coated green peas, a dried squid-flavoured snack and black grass jelly.
As well as a bewildering array of snack foods, drinks, ready meals, toiletries and cosmetics, Thai people can pay their bills at a 7-Eleven and you can even buy plane tickets.
Alcohol is also for sale but only within certain hours, as displayed on signs such as the one above. Late morning drinking and lunchtime drinking, fine. Late afternoon and evening drinking, also fine. But for some reason MID AFTERNOON DRINKING BETWEEN 2PM AND 5PM IS THE WORK OF THE DEVIL. It cannot, and will not, be tolerated.
There are slurpee and iced coffee dispensers. You can buy a ready meal and the staff will heat it up for you in a microwave then and there. They will grill you a packaged cheese toastie. You can buy a pot noodle, have it filled with boiling water and eat it right where you stand or (classier option) sitting in the gutter outside.
Apart from the weird alcohol restriction these shops truly put the “convenience” into convenience stores. UK Tesco Express, Little Waitrose and Sainsbury’s Local could learn a LOT from them, let me tell you.