Celebrate 7-Eleven Day with these surprise finds at the convenience store.

Today is 7-Eleven Day in Japan, due to it being the eleventh day of the seventh month, and to mark the occasion, staff working at the chain clean the vicinity around their branch, giving people in the neighbourhood an annual gift that keeps them in everyone’s good graces.

Back at our office we’re also joining the celebrations, but instead of cleaning, we’re eating, as our Japanese reporting team shares ten of their top picks for what you should buy at the famous convenience store chain right now.

▼ The first pick is a traditional sweet, called Rice Cake, Mugwort & Red Bean Paste (170 yen [US$1.05])

Go Hatori doesn’t usually eat convenience store food, but he does make an exception for this 7-Eleven sweet, which is a testament to how good it is. In fact, it’s so good he buys it pretty much every time he goes to work, as he can’t get enough of the tantalising mugwort scent, which pairs beautifully with the elegant, smooth bean paste.

Seven Cafe Smoothie (330 yen)

This is Mr Sato’s top pick, especially at this time of year, when the heat has him craving something cool and refreshing. Not all stores carry it, so if you do come across it, he urges you to try it, because not only does it taste fantastic — it’s a great way to get your nutrients too!

Seven Premium Natto from Hokkaido (138 yen)

This controversial selection comes from Seiji Nakazawa, who basically only eats rice with natto (fermented soybeans) and mozuku seaweed for dinner. Recently, he discovered the natto he usually buys contains soybeans from overseas, so after looking for a convenient place to buy a locally sourced variety, 7-Eleven came to the rescue.

Crepe with Banana & Whipped Cream (259 yen)

Mariko Ohanabatake prefers a more widespread people-pleaser, with this crepe being great for staving off hunger in between meals. She first bought it because it was easy to eat with one hand, but it turned out to be so delicious she’s now eaten it about 30 times. The crepe is chewy, the banana big and the chocolate mousse rich and delicious, making it an exquisite convenience store sweet.

Salt-Grilled Mackerel (375 yen)

Takashi Harada was initially going to recommend the chicken salad that he eats regularly, but he hasn’t been seeing it much lately, so he went for another option that he buys all the time — the mackerel. He says it makes a delicious meal that’s tasty, healthy, and super easy to make, as it requires only 50 seconds of heating in the microwave.

Sardines Boiled with Ginger (203 yen)

P.K. Sanjun is always watching what he eats, and he says this tin of fish helps him stay in shape with its low calories and 17.7 grams (0.6 ounces) of protein. It can’t be found at all 7-Elevens so it’s relatively rare, but if you do come across it, its low price will help you watch your wallet as well as your waistline.

Store-fried Curry Bread (160 yen)

According to Yoshio, this curry bread defies expectations with its crispy fried exterior and soft, chewy interior. The curry has a great, well-balanced flavour that makes the entire thing really delicious, and it’s really well made for a convenience store curry bread.

Monja Snack with Sauce (138 yen)

Ahiruneko rarely shops at convenience stores, but when he does, he always finds himself reaching for this crunchy snack. Filled with the sweet soy taste of monjayaki, this snack delivers mouthfuls of flavour, and it’s manufactured by the same company that makes the crunchy Baby Star ramen, so it’s definitely worth a look-in.

Mocha Blend Iced Coffee (160 yen for a regular, 260 yen for a large)

7-Eleven is most famous for its freshly ground and brewed coffee, but according to Masanuki Sunakoma, this new iced mocha takes things up a notch, using mocha beans from Ethiopia. This special blend results in a fruity iced coffee with a gorgeous aroma and slightly bitter taste, making it the perfect drink to quench your thirst on a hot summer’s day.

▼ Crunchy Chocolate (108 yen)

Finally, we have Takamichi Furusawa’s choice, which is a definite crowd-pleaser. He says you’d be hard pressed to find any other convenience-store branded chocolate with such a wonderful texture, as this one contains cookie, waffle, and rice puff pieces in every bite. The contrast between crunch and melt-in-the-mouth chocolate is irresistibly delicious, and though the pack is small at 45 grams, each piece is incredibly filling.

So there you have it — the top ten products you should try at 7-Eleven, according to our Japanese-language reporters. Of course, being residents of Japan, they often stop by looking for quick and easy things to eat for dinner which means their selections might differ from yours, so let us know — what would be your top pick at the popular chain?

Leave your comments below and…Happy 7-Eleven Day!

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[ Read in Japanese ]