Friday, 2 October 2009

Convenience Store Food

Updated February 2016

A few months ago I noticed that that the 7-Eleven ramen (the convenience store staple for years) had butter listed in the Chinese ingredients but not in the English ones - a strange find indeed. Then it disappeared. Hopefully it reappears soon, safely vegan. There are always packets of nuts, and fruit, but it's nothing like it used to be. If they don't bring out something new soon (which I suspect and hope will be the case) then I'll update this for the little that there still is. 

In Taiwan a vegan snack or meal is never far away, thanks to all the convenience stores. 7-11s have always been the best for vegan foods and the most ubiquitous, but in recent years there has been a huge expansion in the number of Family Marts, with them often being only a few hundred metres from each other. Don't forget to check everything for the vegan labels  純素 or 全素.
Convenience Stores Meals

In my opinion the 7-Eleven's Black Pepper Udon is the best meal on the go in Taiwan. It is filling and tastes rather good for udon which have been cooked, frozen and then microwaved. It's been around for years, and seems to be in stock at every single 7-Eleven.

This item has recently been discontinued, but may reappear if it's confirmed vegan (see above).

Take one out of the freezer (usually at the back of the 7-11). When they ask you if you want it microwaved (probably in Chinese, but it's all that they will ask you) nod. If you're so new to Taiwan that you're not yet accustomed to chopsticks, you might be lucky enough to get a knife and fork; if not, ask for one. Don't forget to get sauces from the rack somewhere under or behind the counter.
I usually add the chili and tomato sauces to give it more flavour, which it rather lacks.
The vegan option has a green box and is pictured below. Note that the yellow one usually beside it is not vegan (it contains milk, as shown by the 奶素 label).

This item has recently been discontinued, but may reappear if it's confirmed vegan (see above).

They microwave it twice, shaking it in between. I find that they overcook it, so I generally ask them to take it out about a minute before the second microwaving, usually saying something like "Wo bu xihuan tai ri." / 我不喜欢太日 / I don't like it too hot, and wonder what comes out of the plastic as it heats up.

Other options have been discontinued, but the fried rice is still available, in most 7-11s. They will microwave them in the bag (carcinogens anyone?) and then give you a small paper bowl, and you tip them out into the bowl, and add sauces to taste. The dumplings tend to stick together and aren't especially appealing, but what is there to complain about for a meal for a couple of dollars located all over Taiwan?

7-11s also have a good range of nuts and dried fruits, and some vegan potato chips etc. Beware that some nuts contain fish (usually shown in pictures) but it pays to check for the vegan symbol to be sure.

Non-Vegan Foods (which look like they could be)
Beware that all breads (as far as I am aware) from convenience stores contain dairy and/or egg. The broth used for the take-out tofu etc almost certainly contains animal ingredients (but packaged tofu should be fine).
I recently found Soyjoy (from Japan) at convenience stores in Taiwan. So maybe, but they contain egg.

NOT VEGAN: Soy maybe, but they also contains egg. (Image from Wikimedia Commons)
(from my Japan Vegan blog)

Please let me know if you find anything not up to date on this page. Thank you.


  1. That actually looks quite good. It's really good to keep in mind for when I go to Taiwan. Is it spicy?

    ~ Joy ~

  2. Hi Joy

    Yes it is very convenient to have a vegan meal all over the country. I wouldn't say it's 'spicy' (I add chilli to spice it up) bit it is very peppery, even more than I would have expected with the name "black pepper udon" :)
    Let me know if I can help with anything before you come to Taiwan...

  3. I also passed by the dumplings and fried rice today at a 7-11 near Dihua st. So good to know about!

  4. Hey! I'm coming to Taipei next week is there anything new I should be on the lookout for in convenience stores?

    1. Sorry for such a late reply - too late for you I guess. I hope you had a great time in Taiwan, and got plenty to eat :) Unfortunately even the 7-Elevens have stopped serving their long-time meal, but they're probably just updating it (hopefully!) so we're waiting to see what they come up with.