Convenience stores sure are convenient. Not only do people go to convenience stores to buy daily essentials, but you cannot leave without strolling the endless snack aisles and scanning the refreshing drink fridges.

As a snack lover, I can spend all day in a convenience store. So, when I travelled overseas, my first stop was to the closest Asian convenience store to purchase the necessities and pick up some local snacks. But, to my surprise, the Asian convenience stores exceeded my expectations.

1. Food Selection

soda, beer
Alice Wen

Just like any convenient store in the US, at first glance, there are aisles of snacks, sweets, and cold beverages. But walk around the store and you will see not only packaged foods, but hot meals. Specifically in Taiwan, stores will have: tea eggs, sushi, bentos with rice and either braised pork or pork chop, corn dogs, sausages, and sandwiches, available for purchase at any hour of the day. Check out this article on why 7-11 is considered a favorite restaurant in Asia.

2. Buy Public Transportation tickets

At most Asian convenience stores, you can purchase train, metro, and even plane tickets beforehand. No more having to worry about arriving earlier than your departure time to buy tickets at the counter.

3. Cute Mascots and Merchandise

Adorable mascots are generally relevant for bigger chain convenience stores such as 7-11 and Family Mart. Here, the mascots are printed on shirts, pens, bags, and made into keychains, and other useful merch.

4. Prizes for certain amounts spent

coffee, pizza, cake, beer
Alice Wen

I'll admit it. When I was younger, I would add more snacks than I could handle into our cart because I wanted the prizes at these stores. In Asian convenience stores, there are promotional sales; one of which is earning a prize for every certain amount spent. To get you to buy more items, the prizes are usually part of a larger collections, so of course, you got to collect them all, right?

For instance, at the 7-11 in Taiwan, they have given out angry bird mugs, and magnets (Hello Kitty, Doraemon, and other cartoon characters). Personally, I fell into all these traps.

5. Free Wi-fi and seating

All young people need their internet. With free Wi-fi and open seating, these shops may have a counter or a connecting cafe for individuals to surf the web in a relaxing environment.

goody, dairy product, milk, candy
Alice Wen

Convenience stores are not created equal. In America, we do not expect much from these stores. They are merely there for grabbing a quick meal or snack. But in Asia, convenience stores are much more visited as there is so much more you can purchase. Personally, I love the fact that Asian convenience stores are a one-stop shop, and that's why they are just much cooler than ours in the States.