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Seven&i Japanese snacks at 7-Eleven


Unless you're in the middle of a Top Chef quick fire challenge, 7-Eleven probably isn't the first place to look for culinary excitement. But when it recently introduced the Seven&i line of Japanese snacks, everyone in the office made sure I knew about it. (Our building is next to a 7-Eleven.)

There are 11 (hm, coincidence?) different snacks, and according to the cashier at the downtown location, they've been flying off the shelves since they arrived a week ago. The office favorite: a tie between the Chocobo, chocolate-covered hollow tubes resembling Ho-Hos, but with the light-as-air texture of pork rinds; and the cheese rings, which I don't get—they taste like lighter Cheetos (actually, everything tastes lighter than its American counterparts). The least favorite: the potato sticks, like cardboard potato chips with an odd sweet shoyu flavor.

The chocolate donut is really more like Cocoa Puff cereal, and the chocolate cookie bites similar to reconstituted Kit Kat, says one taster. The rest, including the senbei, taste as expected.

I called 7-Eleven corporate to find out more about snacks: Are they exclusive to Hawaii stores? Why are they here? But didn't get a response. What, they didn't want to discuss their market strategy? Maybe it's for Japanese tourists, for a taste of home, maybe it's for locals and our insatiable appetite for Japanese snacks, maybe it's to compete with Lawson Station?

Well, whatever the case, they certainly fulfilled the packaging promise: "Hope this food will bring you a wonderful time." Indeed they did, and all 11 packages disappeared in a day (unlike the alfajores I lovingly carried back to the office from a trip from Peru. )

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