Japanese

This YouTuber MacGyvered a Brunch Banquet at a Japanese 7-Eleven

July 13, 2018

Here at Food52, we've been singing the praises of a particular Japanese convenience store for a while now. Look at Nikkitha Bakshani, our Associate Editor, who went to Japan and spent her trip there chasing down the beauty that is the 7-Eleven egg salad sandwich. The secret, she says, is the fluffy whipped egg filling.

That's not all she loved, however. I chatted with Nikkitha about the heartwarming joys and earth-shattering amazingness that constitutes a trip to a 7-Eleven in Japan.

"They have the best freezer section ever, full of all kinds of fun ice cream like plum and green tea and taro and other flavors," she recalls. "There's also a great iced coffee section. Their readymade meals are great, especially the fried chicken, which you can get at the counter. Their umbrellas are super high quality—like, I still use mine and it works perfectly and I bought it in 2015. Everything in there is actually pretty good quality (including the underwear...which I bought because I didn't want to do laundry)."

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It seemed she was onto something. Fast forward a few months to our Social Media Manager Connor Bower's visit to Japan. Sure enough, he made it a point to stop by all of the local convenience stores. "They most definitely do not disappoint," he assured me.

Even Eric Kim, our Senior Editor, waxed nostalgic about the tuna onigiri he and his brother would pick up at the Tokyo 7-Eleven after hours. This started a long Slack chain about what the best convenience-store onigiri flavor is.

Connor chimed in: "Omg. I made a pit stop at 7-Eleven on my way back to my hotels every day to try a new onigiri flavor. Tuna was good, but ikura was my #1."

Community Editor Lindsay-Jean Hard countered both Connor and Eric: "What?? Ume is best."

Was I missing something here? What was this hubbub? Did my colleagues mean to tell me that the places I grew up getting road trip ICEEs were actually magical culinary wonderlands? I was doubtful—that is, until I found this video making the internet rounds. See for yourself (the egg sandwich gets a shout-out at 9:00!):

Mike Chen, who runs the YouTube account Strictly Dumpling, tours two convenience stores, 7-Eleven and its competitor Lawson, and builds himself a massive brunch FEAST solely from the items sold in the stores. Since the video's upload, it's amassed over a million views and has been trending worldwide. And I can see why. His tour is comprehensive and offers viewers, both familiar and unfamiliar, a delicious whirlwind peek inside the magic, the mystery, the marvel that is the Japanese convenience store.

Here are just a few of the things I learned you can buy at a Japanese 7-Eleven:

  • Corn dogs
  • Fried chicken and fried pork
  • Buns stuffed with curry beef, buns stuffed with cheese and potatoes, buns stuffed with marinara sauce
  • An entire aisle’s worth of ramen noodles
  • Seaweed soup, vegetable soup, and tofu soup
  • Fish cakes simmering in broth
  • Office supplies

If you ever plan to make it out to Japan, be sure to add this one to your travel itinerary—it's a destination in and of itself.


Speaking of convenient foods

Have you ever feasted at a Japanese 7-Eleven or Lawson? If so, tell us your favorite thing to buy in the comments.

6 Comments

susan July 20, 2018
STOP IT! I'm getting hungry! <br />
 
Kim R. July 20, 2018
We just got back from a 18 day trip to Japan. I have two boys, ages 13 and 10, who are hungry all the time. We could not have lived without the amazing (and affordable) options at 7 Eleven, Lawson’s and Family mart. We are missing all of the onigiri- for breakfast, lunch or anytime snack!!
 
Pamela_in_Tokyo July 19, 2018
I live in Japan and looooooooove the egg sandwiches at 7/11 and Lawson! All the food is fresh, lettuce is crispy! You never can go wrong!! And the Tuna/Mayo Onigiri is to die for!! You can’t make it at home this good!
 
Eric K. July 13, 2018
Tuna onigiri, you have my heart/ and we'll never be worlds apart.
 
Amy K. July 13, 2018
I just returned from a trip to Japan last week and loved the convenience store. I loved the ice coffee section and the green teas too. The "Boss" brand ice coffee was the best in "brown" flavor, which was not too much milk and sugar, but just right. What surprised me the most was how cheap the onigiri was. It cost about $1-$2 USD, but it was just a snack. Usually 2 rice balls would do the trick for me for breakfast. The salmon was my favorite. I even came home and attempted to make it, but it was not as good. The first one I made, I ate right away and it was delicious, but I tried to save one for the next day but the rice was not the right consistency the day after. I am also going to attempt to make soba noodles today. I bought some in the US and my grocer said the frozen ones were better than the dried ones. Giving that a go. I really miss Japan and its really good affordable food, except for the fruit. The fruit in Japan is crazy expensive, like melons for $50 - $100 USD, seriously!
 
Patricia July 13, 2018
I'm not Japanese but I grew up in Japan. Food in Japan in general is fantastic but my favourite was hitting up the convenience stores. It's different from American convenience stores or gas stations. You can get a full meal there and not feel ashamed or concerned for your well being. As kids, we even took this potato chip snack that came inside a small personal size cup noodle container, added a bit of water, and waited for it to soften; mashed potatoes in an instant! :)