Although Taiwan is world famous for its delicious street food (it truly is a foodie haven and likely our most favourite street-eat place EVER!), it has to be said that half of the fun we had there was exploring and scouring the Taiwan 7-Eleven stores for interesting snacks and drinks.
As most of our Taiwanese hotels were right next door to 7-Elevens (or other similar convenience stores), we’d often roam the aisles by day and night to see what new local fare we could find.
With over 5,000 7-Eleven stores in Taiwan (it is the country’s largest convenience store chain), there are plenty to explore and they are open well into the early hours – so if you have a craving for strawberry yoghurt crisps or Hello Kitty sparkling wine at 3am in the morning, no problem!
The first Taiwan 7-Elevens opened in 1979 and stores have since earned themselves a local nickname: 7-Eleven Food Heaven. We also noticed a definite social aspect to 7-Eleven in Taiwan (more so than any other Asian city) as many have ‘City Cafe’ sections where you can sit down and drink your hot coffee or cold beer. For instance, the 7-Eleven next to our hotel in Ximending, Taipei had an outdoor seated area that would often resemble a nightclub late at night, with drinkers of all ages dancing and sharing alcohol.
Many a night, if we’d got back to our hotel late and the night markets were closed, we would pop into the nearest 7-Eleven, grab a couple of local microwave meals (coupled with some cans of Tsing Tao) and take them back to our hotel room, in their oh so clever and plastic-free hot food carriers (the novelty of carrying it home never wore off during our entire month in Taiwan.
From the cute little cartoon character stickers they gave out with every purchase through to the smell of mini oden hot pots wafting through the stores, we loved exploring all the Taiwanese 7-Elevens at our ‘convenience’ – here are some of our most delicious discoveries along with some of the more curious comestibles we came across:
Top things to eat in Taiwan’s 7 Eleven
Crazy crisp / chip flavours
From fish skin crisps to strawberry yoghurt pea crisps, tasting our way through ‘interesting’ crisp flavours in Taiwan was one of our favourite travel hobbies (sad, we know).
FURTHER READING – The best Taiwanese food you need to try when visiting Taiwan!
Hot stuff! There are loads of microwave meals to choose from, and all so much tastier than the UK ones – we also liked the rather fantastic (not plastic!) takeaway hot food carrier bag.
Mini oden hot pots
The contents would often vary from store to store, but you can choose from a wide variety of items from tofu and squid balls, plus whatever flavour of instant noodles you so desire.
In Taiwan, Chinese tea eggs (a boiled egg cracked slightly and then boiled again in tea) are a firm favourite in convenience stores. Through 7-Eleven chains alone, an average of 40 million tea eggs are sold per year (no yoke!)
FURTHER READING – 10 of the best night markets in Taiwan
Distinctive flavoured milk
Milk-shake it out! We are quite vanilla in our milk choices so we didn’t try many of these.
We’d often munch on a breakfast muffin for brunch (or should we call it ‘7 elevenses’? A British joke there!). Very similar (but tastier and cheaper) than the McDonald’s breakfast muffins, and they warm it up for you behind the counter – yay!
Oodles of different noodle flavours were available in Taiwan – instant satisfaction!
Pringles instant noodles
Once you slurp, you’ll have to burp!
Steamed sweet potatoes
Spud U Like! These are usually available next to the till and are purchased based on weight.
Hello Kitty wine
An acquired taste and very sickly sweet (after a few cans, it starts to become ‘Hellllleurgh Kitty Wiiiiiiine)
Other Taiwan blog posts
- Best things to do in Taipei, Taiwan for first time visitors
- Kaohsiung for first time visitors
- Tainan for first time visitors
- Ultimate guide to Taichung, Taiwan
- Taiwan’s night markets – a photo essay
- Taipei day trip – a visit to Houtong Cat Village
- A trip to the Anping District in Tainan, Taiwan
- An afternoon of eating Taiwanese food on a Taipei food tour
Words and photography by Caroline Keyzor and Neil Hassall.