Friday, 2 October 2009

Convenience Store Food


Updated May, 2018

In Taiwan a vegan snack is never far away, thanks to all the convenience stores. Unfortunately, however, around 2016 most convenience stores began to discontinue their vegan and even vegetarian frozen meal ranges. My guess is that this is because there are now so many vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Taiwan that vegans stopped buying them. It's unfortunate though, as there were times that the 7-Eleven frozen meal especially was quite a life saver. Most now have some snack food, but nothing which vaguely constitutes a meal. I recommend asking the staff to help you find anything with the vegan labels  純素 or 全素, preferably when they are quiet, such as the late hours. If you can't find any snack food to your liking, most sell baked sweet potatoes: take one off the hot stones, put it in a paper bag and take it to the counter to be weighed. I don't recommend eating the skin.


Convenience Stores Meals

7-Eleven
Before being discontinued the 7-Eleven's Black Pepper Udon was the best meal on the go in Taiwan. It tasted as good as udon which had been cooked, frozen and then microwaved possibly could. Around 2016 I noticed that the English ingredients were vegan, but the Chinese ingredients included butter, but it was labelled (in Chinese) as being vegan. I don't know whether or not it contained butter, or if this had anything to do with its disappearance. Until a replacement meal appears, if it does, I'm leaving the images here in case it re-appears on the shelves.


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.


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. Unfortunately all the ones sold in Taiwan (as of May 2018) contain egg. Vegan Soyjoy (the "Crispy" series) are available in Japan.



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.

5 comments:

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

    ~ Joy ~

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  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...

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

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

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    Replies
    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.

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