a peek inside the fishbowl

04 Aug, 2019

Finding heaven at the 7-11

Posted by andrea tomkins in: travel talk

In my previous update, I was trying to put on a brave face and hold it together.

I had lost all sense of time. I had no clear idea what day it was, or what time it was. Patong, our holiday destination in Thailand, is 11 hours behind Ottawa time and I think our brief stint in Paris only added to my very confused internal clock.

We were exhausted but we knew we had to pick up a few food items to tide us over and fuel our very weary bodies. We had passed a 7-11 on the way in, so getting there became our top priority. We learned later that there is a 7-11 on almost every blog here in Phuket.

Our neighbourhood 7-11 in Patong, Phuket

I didn’t know if we could trust the drinking water so bottled water was at the top of the shopping list.

We walked down the hill, somehow managed to cross the street (seriously, every little thing was a big challenge at this point), and as the automated two-tone electronic tone signaled our entrance we quickly found ourselves in a heavenly state of air-conditioned bliss.

We went up and down each aisle slowly and deliberately, filling our lungs with cool air and letting the sweat that had been pouring down our bodies and magically evaporate. I could have spent a long time here, not just to cool down, but to examine all the products on the shelves.

Found in the 7-11 in Phuket: omg this was delicous

Found in the 7-11 in Phuket: twin pack of boiled eggs

Found in the 7-11 in Phuket: Banana milk

Found in the 7-11 in Phuket: an individually-wrapped banana

Found in the 7-11 in Phuket: Crispy silkworm snacks

Found in the 7-11 in Phuket: Shrimp burger

Found in the 7-11 in Phuket: Dead clown cake

Found in the 7-11 in Phuket: Beauti Drink

Found in the 7-11 in Phuket: Corn

Some of these we tried during our stay, some we didn’t, but it was so different and interesting. The raw eggs were on a shelf, not in the fridge. Milk containers were tiny compared to our giant 4L bags. What is “Beauti drink”? I was fascinated by all of the potato chip flavours. If you followed our adventure on Twitter you already know how many we sampled. :)

Found in the 7-11 in Phuket: chips on display

Found in the 7-11 in Phuket: potato chips

There was a cold food section with all kinds of packaged dishes but my stomach wasn’t up to experimentation. Later I would buy onigiri here for a quick dinner (it’s a triangle of rice wrapped in seaweed and sometimes features a filling that is Japanese in origin ) but I didn’t know what to trust.

We each selected ramen noodles for dinner. We thought those were a safe bet, and we didn’t have much of an appetite. We also bought sliced bread and what I thought was a block of butter but was actually “butter product” a.k.a margarine. The soups were 20 baht each (less than a dollar) and so were the big bottles of water we bought.

Something about being at a 7-11 on the other side of the world was absolutely surreal. The brand is so familiar and iconic but it was as if someone took the store we knew, turned it upside down, shook out the contents, and replaced everything with something entirely different. Yet the sound of the register, the gum on the counter, the transaction itself, were still the same. It sounds strange, but there was comfort to be found there.

We took our groceries home and made our dinner. We ate, unpacked a few things, experimented with the A/C settings, and watched a minute of Bugs Bunny’s Thai cousin on a snowy TV before we collapsed into bed.

2 Responses to "Finding heaven at the 7-11"

1 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive A failed excursion to find lunch - a peek inside the fishbowl

August 10th, 2019 at 5:10 pm


[…] my last installment, I wrote about finding solace at the 7-11 near our place in Phuket, Thailand. We grabbed dinner, ate, and conked […]

2 | Jinjer

August 10th, 2019 at 8:54 pm


Your posts are always SO interesting. I always look forward to them.

What a relief that A/C must’ve been and what fun finds in that 7/11!!! I would like to try the banana juice or whatever is in that bottle. The shrimp burger looks tasty, did either of you try that one?

I do follow you on Twitter but somehow I missed the trying of the chips. I’ll have to look for those tweets. :-)

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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