7-11 Thailand: Beyond The Ham & Cheese

7-11 Thailand: Beyond The Ham & Cheese
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Seven elevens are pretty much essential these days in Thailand, often used for paying bills or online purchases, flights and busses even, but for most adventurous visitors to Thailand it is indulging in traditional ham and cheese toasties. Because the “ham and cheese” has long been a staple for many to Thailand, as they really were at tone time just one of very few “western” snack options found widely available throughout.

But this is no more, as Thailand’s seven eleven’s have come on leaps-and-bounds since these days, with wider and more diverse cuisines added through the years. So this is an update to share some of the new NextGen options for corner shop snacking at the 7-11s in Thailand. Beyond the ham and cheese. For the official (Thai) website here.

Where to Find 7-11s in Thailand?

All over, everywhere, at least anywhere where people are found. Just go to Google maps and type “7-11 near me” and there will likey be a list of them. However some Thai 7-11s are bigger and smaller than others, so many will vary or have slightly limited snacks compared to others.

Anyway, the largest 7-11 in Bangkok has 3-floors and is found in Siam Square (Google Maps Here) then the largest 7-11 in Thailand is in Pattaya as in video below.

1. Next Gen Toasties

The ham and cheese toastie was never sought after for its deliciousness, but its convenience, as a last resort of sorts, out of desperation.

But these days there really are some delicious alternatives, and my personal favourite would have to be the rather fancy “Gold Selection” which fuses various cheese flavours, with the delightfully puffy “croissant” style bread. But the options do go much further than the traditional ham and cheese these days, including a carbonara toastie, the pork cutlet toastie, and of course tuna, cranberry, and riceberry toastie.

Not to forget the alternative sweet toasties, giving a dessert option, like the chocolate toasted sandwich or green bean paste. It’s really an exciting time for toasties at the Thai seven-elevens. Note they do have a toastie maker at the counter. Just grab the sandwich of choice, and hand it to the counter workers, and you can eat on the go.

2. Burgers at Thai 7-11s

These days there is an impressive range of burgers at the 7-11, but few stand out as overly eatable, to be honest, and, from what I’ve tried, they tend to be relatively disgusting (not even close to Rustlers). And this is to do with the microwaving process (or “wave” as you ask at the counter) which results in a fluffy, greasy, soggy bun, and questionably heated meats and fillings.

For this reason, I often opt instead for the sticky rice burgers, which are more Thai-inspired, obviously, and they really aren’t that bad. They will also be locally inspired with sticky rice Thai street food staples, such as Moo Ping (marinated pork), or a spicy Kaprao Moo Zaap (pork and holy basil) sandwiched in sticky rice. They really are a bit genius, although I’d really just stick to the street food originals, because they are again microwaved.

3. Hotdogs at Thai 7-11s

Hot Dogs were once my go-to option at the 7-11…. until the 7-11 ruined them. As the original 7-11 hot dog came as a delicious, albeit rubbery, reheated sausage, in a fresh bun, and optional garnishing of lettuce, cucumber, mayo, mustard and ketchup at a standalone counter. They were decent ‘dogs.

But then the 7-11 scrapped my beloved dogs, and replaced them with a reheated microwave packet option, with ingredients all slopped together, bun, sausage and a horribly sweet sauce. And it has to be the worst thing to happen in Bangkok’s food scene, since KFC dropped their green curry (update, KFC brought it back.

I remember the first time I bought the new dog (below left) while stranded in heavy rains at my local 7-11. At the time I gifted it to the homeless woman sleeping out front, and returned to get a second. Only to find her asleep when I got back, spoiling the magical shared hot dog moment I had planned for us.

Anyway, she either ate it super fast, bagged it for later, or just binned it, and I’d go with the latter. Bring back the original hot dogs.

4. Sausages in Thai 7-11s

They do at least still have the sausages without the dog, and while I’m not a big fan of Wieners or frankfurters, or whatever these rubbery attempts are called, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a decent British pork sausage anywhere. But as far as 7-11 foods go, they’re really not that bad.

So there is an impressive sausage selection of sausages and heated meats on the 7-11 shelves, and among the best of them is the “footlong spicy” (or “spicy footlong” as a normal person would say), which is a chilli infused Wiener, served in bite-sized cuts, and bagged with a choice of added ketchup or chilli sauce. Eat with a skewer stick, and expect occasional tough pieces of gristle.

While these sausages are often found packaged in the shelves, occasionally they are sold from a rotating display on the front counter unit, looking dry and wrinkly, and potentially have been there for days. For a more local Thai style sausage, try the vermicelli bite, or maybe some Naem pork.

5. Japanese Snacks in Thai 7-11s

Seven Eleven obviously originates from Japan, as do FamilyMarts, and Lawsons, because Japan is king of the konbinis (corner shops). But seven elevens in Thailand fail to reflect the same standard as Japan, like not having Chu-His or Sakes, and I really do judge a lot of things on the availability of alcohol.

Otherwise, they do offer a handful of Japanese snacks to look more worldly, such as sushi rolls, and onigiri, and my favourite Japanese Gyoza dumplings. In fact, Gyozas have become my new go-to favourite, replacing the loss of their hot dogs, although they are still microwaved, and kind of crap. I was more replacing my mustard binges with the delightful tartness of rice wine vinegar sauce. As sauces tend to be what makes seven eleven foods more bearable.

Oh, and of course, there’s the katsu teriyaki toastie, although this really is more of a fusion option.

6. Chinese Snacks at Thai 7-11s

The Chinese bites at seven-elevens remind me of snack shopping before long-haul journeys at the 7-11 at the old Hua Lamphong Train Station. And it’s a last resort of sorts, when every inch of aisle space is filled with backpackers and their bags, and the last thing I want to do before eating is brush against one.

So I have no option but to buy counter food, and generally the closest snacks to the door is the steamer full of bao buns (salapao) and shumai dumplings (khanom jeep). But both are not great options. 

Baozi Buns are cheap and filling, but due to the disproportionate meat-to-bun ratio, where the bun easily outweighs the filling, they are rough to eat. I tend to rip off half the bun and throw it away.

Otherwise, the shumai dumplings are my preferred choice, although I do drown them in vinegar to help them taste more palatable/eatable. They also have many microwaved options rather than those sat festering in the steaming counter.

7. Ready Meals at Thai 7-11s

Within meters of any given 7/11 in Thailand will be everything that Ezy Choice has to offer, only freshly cooked, and served in larger portions. So I really don’t understand Ezy Choice ready meals at all. As they are little more than microwaved alternatives to all your shop house and street food favourites. Think fried rice, chicken rice, omelette, minced pork with holy basil, etc.

Therefore, the only benefit of 7-11 ready meals, is that you can take them home and microwave them at any time. But I can’t really ignore them either, so for research purposes, I forced myself to the Ezy Choice fridge, and opted for something non-street food, and more western influenced. ‘Chicken spaghetti with tomato sauce’.

Verdict? Eatable. The spaghetti is spaghetti, the meat I think is meat, and the sauce is somewhat tomato-ish. I can’t say it filled me, but it tried.

Otherwise, I have explored no further, so have instead included a photo of Seven Eleven Fried Acheta (field crickets).

8. Instant Noodles at Thai 7-11s

Life has seriously gone downhill when you find yourself staring into a pot of Mama Noodles. And while I am somewhat obsessed with instant ramen elsewhere in Asia, Mama noodles are without a doubt an act of desperation for travellers in Thailand who were brought up on a rich and wholesome western diet. A stumpy cup of noodles and flavoured water doesn’t really suffice. A pack of peanuts would be better.

But we have all seen those rare moments of desperation, and the “Tom Yum Creamy” pots aren’t horrible, or the Green Curry Mama Noodles, although the newly western-inspired options, like the spicy cheese mama noodles, tend to be no better.

Otherwise, Thai locals have been brought up on Mama noodles, and they do remain a staple in many diets, where they are cooked in all sorts of ways, like Pad Mama (fried instant noodles). They are a versatile snack, and Fanfan would even snack them dry from the pack, like a giant potato crisp.

2. The Drinks Cabinet (Alcohol at the 7-11s)

So the Seven Elevens do stock the usual big bottles of Singha (the tourist favourite) along with Leo (the local choice), and Chang (my personal favourite). They also had Leo Beer on draft for about a week, until some rotters complained and had them removed. But they are also sold in tins anyway making it easier to booze out front, or on the go. There’s also an alternative range of “Cheers” beers, which are all pretty rotten, but are good to mix up the routine.

Then there is the Smirnoff range, and while I generally avoid alco-pops, the Midnight 100s (7% abv) make a decent midday pick-me-up. However Thailand 7-11s don’t have many Japanese options (yet), like Hi-Balls, Chu-Hi’s or One Cup Sakes, which you may expect from these “Konbini” inspired giants (chop chop seven-eleven).

Behind the counter, there will then be the usual Sangsom Rum, Blend 285 Whisky, and of course Lao Khao, along with reasonably priced Bells Scotch Whisky, which isn’t much more expensive than the local bottles, but a fair bit cheaper than the global brands. 

Note, that alcohol is only sold between 11:00AM -14:00PM and 17:00 – 24:00AM in Thai 7-11s.

10. Thai Soft Drinks (Alcohol-Free)

If I pulled a tin of Blueberry Fanta from my lunchbox as a 10-year-old kid, it would draw bigger crowds than two dogs humping. And while it was only a limited edition beverage, the other alternatives of Grape, Strawberry, Orange, and Fruit Punch Fanta highlight the difference in the range from what I’m used to back home. There’s a whole new range of Fanta in Asia.

Otherwise, there is a wide range of odd drinks and local flavours to choose from, like jelly juices made from lychee seeds (that looks a bit like frog spawn) and of course “Mansome” juice. There are green Teas and tinned coffees, and just for whatever reason you may be looking for alcohol-free beverages, there really is an exciting range to choose from.

11. Weird Snacks from the Thailand 7-11

These may not be the most appetizing snacks at the 7-11s in Thailand but it gives an idea of what comes and goes on the shelves. In fact, I did an entire series with Meh (my mum-in-law) in rural Thailand where we just bought random snacks and shared them together which was more of an excuse for me to get drunk. Fancy a packet of bugs? They’re crispy and salty!


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