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How to Live Off 7/11 for a Week

How to Live off 7/11 for a Week | © Yufan Lu
How to Live off 7/11 for a Week | © Yufan Lu
One significant factor that will define a decent neighborhood in Beijing is the distance to and from 7/11 convenience stores. Such stores provide groceries, ready-to-go food and even cooked dishes at a fairly cheap price, thus they remain a top choice for white collars and people who wish to live comfortably on a budget. Here is our guide for how to live off 7/11 for a week.

According to QDaily’s report, there were over 200 7/11 shops around Beijing in 2017. Its rivals, Family Mart and Lawson (also imported from Japan), are similar in goods and services, but they don’t have nearly as many stores, making 7/11 a convenient choice. Let’s take a look at the best foods and drinks 7/11 has to offer.

A 7/11 store in Beijing © Yufan Lu

Oden

This one-pot dish with choose-it-yourself ingredients is a star product of 7/11. It originates from Japan and remains an ideal choice for people who need warm food and adequate nutrition. There are eggs, radishes, meat balls, tofu, and more to choose from. Many people literally eat Oden three meals a day. You can ask the staff for more soup – it’s delicious and makes your stomach feel warm.

Oden at 7/11 © Yufan Lu

Onigiri

Lined up in the fridge are the cute, white, Japanese rice balls known as Onigiri. There are several flavors to choose from, including grilled eel, tuna, beef, and more. There’s also a difference in the quality of nori used on the Onigiri, which you can tell from the price. The flavors are written in Chinese, but you can go to the staff for translations, especially if you are allergic to certain ingredients. Sandwiches are usually stocked in the same area as the Onigiri, so if you are a bread person instead of a rice person, just take a look around.

Onigiri at 7/11 © Yufan Lu

Pastries

7/11’s bread section is as fancy as any pastry shop in town. It provides a few dozen types of salty and sweet pastries. All are tasty and significantly cheaper than the equivalents you’d find at pastry shops. There are sometimes discounts for the purchase of bread and certain drinks together.

© Yufan Lu 

Salad

Vegetables and fruits are a must for keeping healthy. At 7/11 the key to health is in the vegetable and fruit salads. From the simple smashed potato salad to the more luxurious vegetable salad with tuna, the salads are priced from just a few yuans to less than 20 yuan ($3 / £2).

Boxed lunch and dinner

Fancy a Chinese dish or two? That is no problem for 7/11, as it has a window that sells a selection of cooked Chinese dishes, from scrambled eggs with tomatoes to mapo tofu. You can choose as many dishes as you want as long as they are available. They are served with rice, but you may also choose other staple accompaniments like baozi and steamed buns from another window. (7/11 really has them all!)

Tea, coffee, other soft drinks, and alcohol

At 7/11 you will find fancier drinks than you would at domestic convenience shops and supermarkets. The star products here are Itoen bottled teas, including black tea, green tea, jasmine tea, and oolong tea. You may also find Japanese beers and ciders, as well as other imported wines and spirits. 7/11 shops are probably the most convenient places to buy imported drinks offline in Beijing. Though more expensive than online shops, the price acceptable.

There's a coffee machine in most 7/11 stores. In winter, there is also a counter dedicated to hot drinks. © Yufan Lu

Snacks

You might want to have some chips or sweets handy during your movie night, and 7/11 can surely satisfy you in terms of that. Actually, it’s more than satisfactory because, just like the drinks, the snacks are fancier than at ordinary shops. The only problem is that they are a bit more expensive.

The kingdom of instant cup noodles. You won't even repeat yourself by having instant noodles three times a day for a week. (It's unhealthy though.) © Yufan Lu