Hong Kong is a damned expensive place to eat and drink, especially when compared to Mainland China, but there’s a cheat used by expats and visitors alike and that is 7-11.
Now as an avowed Marxist (according to the media anyway) you would think I would despise all thinks corporate and franchised, BUT when it comes to 7-11 I am full-on capitalist running dog!
Now whilst I love Seven-Eleven, not all of them are created equal (I’m talking to you Guangzhou), but Hong Kong is number 1.
Here’s my top tips to eating, drinking, dining, and even partying at 7-11!
Did you know that Coca-Cola was originally invented as a “health” drink. Fact! Turns out it’s not that healthy, but people realized this quite quickly. In the UK we had a similar drink – Lucozade – except they were still pretending it was healthy, and indeed you were given it if sick way into the 90s. I don’t care! It’s a great drink, it’s a UK staple, and they love it in HK. If there’s a 7-11 they have Lucozade. I get one the moment I get to Hong Kong. Does it deserve to be on the list? It’s my list, so yes it does.
6) The Vodka
Drinking in Hong Kong is notoriously expensive, with a pint of beer costing a minimum of $10 USD even on a happy hour type deal. If you’re the type of chap that gets quite thirsty, getting drunk could be an expensive job, but Seven-Eleven to the rescue. Vodka by the litre can be purchased for less than a pint of beer in a bar. Grab a bottle of coke and drink on the street. IT’S LEGAL!
5) The 2 for 1 beers!
Hmm we seem to have not mentioned ANY food yet, but at least I was honest in the intro. As I said, a pint of beer will set you back $10 in a bar, but in 7-11 they have tonnes of sweet two for one – or reduced for two – deals where you can get two 330ml beers such as Tsingtao or Carlsberg for as little as 2 bucks. This will come in useful later….
4) The Sandwiches
As I mentioned before the first thing I buy when I get to 7-11 is buy a Lucozade, BUT the second is the 7-11 sandwich! In fact I’m obsessed with their sandwiches, so much so when they first started to add new ones I was tempted to start a blog just about them. Oh talking like this makes me feel old! They’ve even added a more gourmet range now! You can buy sandwiches in 7-11 Thailand, Guangzhou, Shenzhen etc., but they are frankly sandwich abortions. The sandwiches at 7-11 Hong Kong are the best you can buy in Asia. Period. There’s a potato one that is to die for…
3) In-Store Street Food
You know all the famous Michelin-starred street food like the hotdogs and fish balls that you can purchase throughout Hong Kong – the street food that is arguably the best street food in the world? Well 7-11 are not stupid! They do their own version of it and they serve it 24/7 (not from 7 until 11). Let’s make no bones about this: it is nowhere near as good as going down and dirty, but it’s good, genuinely good, and if you need something to soak up the beer it works.
2) The Chip Butty
OK! So this one is a massive cheat, but my favourite chip shop (cheesy fries, fish, sausage etc. etc.) is located at the Star Ferry terminal on Hong Kong Island. Let’s also not forget that this is known as one of the most iconic journeys you can ever take (it genuinely is). Now opposite this chippy, as we Brits like to call it, is a 7-11. Go over there get one of the aforementioned sandwiches, gets some chips, sit next to the water and make an alfresco chip butty. Trust me on this one.
1) The Seven Eleven pub crawl
Imagine the scenario: you want to explore Hong Kong whilst drinking – like a pub crawl, say – but you don’t have $10-15 budget for drinking. Hong Kong doesn’t have problems; it has solutions! If you’ve not been to Hong Kong before here’s the facts! 7-11 is EVERYWHERE, and as earlier mentioned, the drinks are cheap as hell. To locals and visitors alike, the Seven-Eleven pub crawl is the stuff of LEGENDS! My personal recommendation is to go somewhere really classless like Chunking Mansions, get drinking, get walking, and LOVE the sleaze.
Of course we realise that 7-11 is about much more than cheap eats and drinks, but this is why we like it!
Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours, a published writer, and all round entrepreneur. He enjoys street food, and encourage others to get paid to travel the world.