Five grab-it-and-go convenience store products to try

Art by Coleen Barrera

You have to admit that picking out snacks at convenience stores can be interesting, to say the least. What kind of civilized person would want to get a meal in a place where everything’s pre-packaged in cold storage and prepared in the microwave? Years ago, 7-Eleven’s baked macaroni was downright gelatinous and came in the shape of a brick. You’d be forgiven for wanting to stay away.

Appetizing, right? Not the way to start off a food article, I know. However, you may have noticed that convenience stores have been taking major steps in improving and diversifying the food they serve, so that they’re healthier and more delicious — more real — without sacrificing their affordable prices. They’ve been collaborating with chefs and bringing in all these recipes that you can’t possibly get anywhere else. Bye-bye, gelatinous macaroni brick. Hello, new best kept secrets that are just around the corner.

Here’s a list of some of our favorite fresh ‘n’ fast snacks.

7-Eleven’s grilled cheese sandwiches

These sandwiches come in a variety of flavors, but nothing beats classic cheese on its own. 7-Eleven puts their own spin to this comfort food icon by putting three kinds of cheese (cheddar, Harvati, and rosemary-speckled cream cheese) between buttery slices of white bread. The best thing is, they toast it right on-site for you.

Ministop’s fried chicken

A solid following has declared Uncle John’s Fried Chicken a contender for the Chicken Joy, or even an upgrade of it — and that’s hardly blasphemy. It always comes hot, the skin is crisp, and it’s juicy even when it’s been sitting in the display for a while. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes it so good, but whatever it is, we’ll keep having it.

Family Mart’s sausage and pesto ziti

It’s always surprising just how many different kinds of pasta Family Mart has up its sleeves. Every visit seems to introduce you to a new one. But this ziti, with its sausage and mushrooms, pesto sauce, and generously sprinkled cheese melted to perfection, is one of the clear winners.

Lawson’s soft serve ice cream

Move over, Family Mart matcha. Step aside, Ministop strawberry cheesecake. Lawson finally brings the Japanese konbini soft serve staple to the country. Be adventurous and try the bamboo charcoal, Japanese honey dew, green tea, or cherry blossom flavors. If that’s not up your alley, you can try the premium chocolate or quezo de bola instead.

Circle K’s hot pot

We’re all instant noodle fans here. If you want to go for something that feels more like home and less like hell week in college, the Circle K hot pot is your best bet. The egg noodles in either sesame soy or soy garlic sauce are good on their own, but with the toppings — squid balls, pork siomai, or sharksfin dumplings — they’re sensational.  


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