Weird Foods Found in a Thai 7-Eleven

When we lived in Phuket for two weeks our apartment was in the middle on nowhere. Sure it had a gym, an infinity pool and more luxury than we'd ever seen for 10$ pr night, but it was far from cities and shores. We did have a 7-eleven though, and it turned out to be good entertainment on boring nights. You probably thought 7-elevens all over the world were more or less similar, but you were wrong!

In between seaweed snacks, dough-balls, squid flavoured chips, a million iced teas and black grass-jelly there were a few items that I ABSOLUTELY could not place. Not even reading the back. Here's how that went:

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1. There's a cow and a white ball on it...

I saw a happy little white ball playing drums. My initial thought was "Milk tablets??", both because of the title "ovaltine" and the little cow to the left. The little hard candies, which had a consistency convincing my brain the flavour should've been mint, turned out to be intensely milk flavoured. I was overwhelmed by the flavour of what seemed like hardened, concentrated, dry milk, and was convinced these tablets were for something else - like putting in water to give it milk flavour. But no - as it turns out Thai people just love everything milk flavoured...

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2. What does "choco bar" mean in Thai...

It was nestlĂ©, it was small and it said "choko bar". But the lack of any description and the interesting flat shape made me wonder if it was a regular chocolate bar. By the time we came home, the heat had already reduced the content of the little bar to a sloppy half-fluent brown mass. But it definitely looked like chocolate. Tasting it I was surprised. I think it was supposed to be a regular milk chocolate bar, but the flavour was more like hardened chocolate milk - the sugary kind you drink as a kid. Only later did I learn that "Milo" is actually a brand of chocolate milk that they especially love in South America.

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3. The biggest mystery...

Seriously, I has no associations when I saw this package. The only thing that came to mind was "wheel?" because of the shape of the cartoon item on front of the bag. All the writing was in Thai... The little hard tablets in the bag were shaped like the picture on front but I still had no idea what to expect. Trying one I almost spat it out in surprise. It was as if my tastebuds were having a seizure, not able to place the melting pot of flavours coming from the little hard candy. Focusing, I detected saltiness. But it was definitely a sweet candy. With a bitter aftertaste. And a distinct bite of spiciness like chilli. I realized I was confused because I was detecting all major flavours in their purest form - all at once. To this day I have no idea what that was, but I ended up eating them all, each time smiling to myself at my brain's frantic attempt to understand what I'd just eaten.

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4. Shake Shake milk...

A carton saying "shake shake" with a very illustrative picture on front: Something orange mixes with something which looks a lot like milk, and out comes something that looks like beer... Looking closer the carton said "bubble milk tea", so I did have a clue - problem is: in Thailand "Bubble Tea" means "Milk Tea" with candies in it and this carton showed a picture of something actually sparkly. I thought it might be litteral bubble tea: carbonated milk tea? The picture sure made me think so. So yeah, I made sure to shake it hard before pouring it into a glass with high expectations. To my disappointment the milky orange liquid poured into the cup without producing a single bubble, and tasting it it was nothing but normal milk-tea. Deceiving!

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5. A triangle of fruit...

Again a package with no latin letters on it. I saw sparkly fruits and a happy monster. Worth trying. Opening it I didn't have to try the candy to know what it was: Inside was gummy-bears of different colors. Disappointed I looked back to the front of the bag and saw that the monster was actually a bear. Oh right. Fruits + Bear = Gummy bears. Should've known...

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6. Grandy peas...

This one we saw absolutely everywhere! we saw them in mango-flavoured versions and in small and big bags, but we had no idea what they really were. On the front was a picture of what seemed to be a pea-pod. Opening the box a strangely unpleasant and strong smell met my nose and made me think twice before I finally put one of the sugar dusted candies in my mouth. It had the flavour of a chewy gummy but the flavour was absolutely unexplainable. It had sweet and spicy notes, which was already a strange combination, but the base flavour was a dusty earthy one that I really couldn't place. The strange candy grew on me though, and a few weeks later I finally found a package that in English said "Tamarin candy". Tamarin. That explains the peas on front and why I had no idea what I was tasting.

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This post was more an experiment for myself and I had so much fun with it! To be fair, you can definitely find a decent amount of American candy in the 7-elevens in Thailand, and for Halloween we made a project out of getting all the classic American candies we could find. It's really incredible how much fun you can get out of a Thai 7-eleven! Also - The picture to the right is from another project: how much you can get for 10$ in a 7-eleven in Thailand. Yes, 10$... And that is one of the big reasons why Thailand is our favourite place.