7-Eleven – to most, a local convenience store selling a multitude of snacks, meals, and day to day items. For many – an iconic and essential part of a backpacking trip round Asia.

There are now more than 60,000 7-Eleven stores across America and Asia. Typically, they are small shops, staying open long hours, lending itself to the perfect late-night snack after a night partying on a Thai beach.

You may expect to go backpacking South-East Asia and eat an array of local and home-made delicacies from restaurants and street food vendors. And don’t get me wrong, yes – you will. But it’s time to surrender to the fact that a 7-Eleven toastie will take up at least 70% of your diet.

Just like a Greggs up North in the UK, there is a sheer abundance of 7-Elevens on every corner. This means they are the go-to for every backpackers affordable food needs. Whether its a pit stop on a long road trip, breakfast near the hostel or a late night feast post full moon party- there will never be a 7-Eleven far.

It may not be so iconic for the locals, but many travellers reminisce of their favourite snacks which have become somewhat renown and iconic among the community.

When I travelled Southeast Asia, 7-Eleven was a saviour. It rescued me many times when I was tired and starving after a 10-hour bus trip, an overnight ferry, 2 buses and a boat ride into my journey from A to B.

Among myself and my fellow backpackers, we became obsessed with particular purchases from the shop, legendary at different times of the day and definitely a saviour for the backpackers bank account.

Here are some of the classic must-try 7-Eleven items that made our trip- and will most definitely become the foundations of yours.

First and foremost- the toastie. It would be wrong to not begin with this absolute classic. These extortionately cheap toasties (the equivalent of just 40p in Thailand) come in a range of flavours. From the standard ham and cheese, to even jam, these are just simply the best. They even have a croissant toastie range.

These were consumed at well, any time of day! For breakfast, lunch, snacks and late night carbs to soak up the drink. I’m surprised I didn’t turn in to one by the end of the trip! The novelty of being able to pick up your toastie and have it cooked behind the till will never wear off.

The toastie is not the only thing you could buy and have heated on the spot. They also sell burgers and hot dogs. Bought in a microwavable package with all the ingredients beautifully slopped together- it is a slightly questionable option. However, at 3am- the inquisition into the meat flies out the window.

A personal favourite of mine was the banana muffins. Individually portioned and packaged, these scrumptious little cased cakes reminded me of home. Once again, they are ridiculously cheap and genuinely to this day were some of the best banana cake I’d ever had. It became an obsession- maybe even a borderline addiction. They are so fluffy and moist, you would not believe they were a 7-Eleven delicacy.

It wouldn’t be a 7-Eleven lunch or dinner without their instant noodles. If you are a fan of a Pot Noodle, prepare to have them blown out the park by the ones available here. Firstly, there are so many more flavours. Tom yum, green curry and even spicy cheese flavour are just some. Don’t let me deceive you- this is for sure a meal of desperation for most backpackers- but when you are at a roadside service station over lunch, needs must!

Like the toasties, you can buy your noodles and they will add the boiling water for you behind the counter making them the perfect budget meal on the go.

In Japan, you can get some interesting items. They offer sushi rolls and even onigiri. Again, at a much cheaper rate than any restaurant could boast. They even serve little trays of Gyoza which can be microwaved in store for a steamy snack. Again, I’m not going to glorify the quality- but when you’ve splashed all your cash on a boat trip and pints, these options are brilliant.

Of course, all these foods sit amongst an array of share bags of crisps, every chocolate bar under the sun, ice cream, nuts and even fresh fruit.

So, if you find yourself in Southeast Asia, prepare for your new love affair with 7-Eleven. Those memories of toasties will sit just as high as those of authentic pad Thai and Thai green curry from restaurants and street markets – trust me.