Unique Food From Hawaii 7-Eleven That You Can’t get Anywhere Else
Posted On September 30, 2019
Yes that’s right, I said food from 7-Eleven. That’s because here in the islands we pick up snacks or even entire meals to go at our local convenience store. But don’t turn your nose up yet, we’re not not talking about frozen taquitos and pizza that tastes like cardboard (I’ve tried them in Los Angeles, yuck!). Hawaii 7-Elevens are stocked with all the top local dishes influenced by the multicultural residents who call the islands home. Many items on the shelves come from local shops and restaurants and the fresh food is made daily at their factory in Māpunapuna.
From manapua and spam musubi to saimin and pork adobo bentos, you could eat at 7-Eleven every day and never get bored (although I don’t recommend it). It’s my go-to place to grab some last minute fuel on the way to a hike or the beach. But of course, don’t forget to give our neighborhood mom and pop restaurants some love too!
Here are just a few of the unique foods you can find at a Hawaii 7-Eleven:
If you’re craving something salty, 7-Eleven has an impressive 120 fresh food options to choose from. Start by taking a look at the hot food bar located near the cash register. There is always a self-serve food warmer where you can help yourself to dishes that are already heated up as well as a steamer for manapua and pork hash (you’ll have to ask for those). For more options head to the cold food area where you can find even more bentos that you can microwave yourself and chilled items like sushi and salads.
There’s no doubt about it, locals love their Spam and musubi is probably the most famous Spam dish. If you visit a Hawaii home, you’re sure to find at least a few cans in the pantry. There’s even an annual street festival called Spam Jam that celebrates the islands’ favorite canned meat. Musubi is a block of rice with a chosen topping/filling, wrapped in nori. At 7-Eleven, you can choose from 10 varieties including traditional Spam musubi, Spam with egg, teriyaki Spam, mochiko chicken, and more. At less than $2 each, it’s the perfect hand-held snack.
Manapua is Hawaii’s take on Chinese pork buns and is a nostalgic dish that often reminds locals of chasing after the neighborhood Manapua Man after school. There are lots of restaurants that specialize in the dish such as Chun Wah Kam and Island Manapua Factory, but 7-Eleven is the place to go if you’re in a hurry. Choose from traditional char siu, teri chicken, or curry chicken filling inside a soft white bun.
Hawaii’s take on the Japanese cold noodle dish can be found alongside the sushi and salads in the cold food section. It is made with chilled wheat flour noodles, fish cake, egg, and green onions, with the special somen sauce on the side.
Loco moco is one of Hawaii’s most well-known dishes, which is quite strange when you think that it’s just rice, egg, and a hamburger patty covered with gravy. This dish is appropriate for breakfast, lunch or dinner and can be found on most local restaurant menus in the islands.
Another Chinese inspired dish are the bite sized pork-filled dumplings, pork hash, that are sold by the piece. You typically have two options, the original pork filling or shrimp. Some 7-Elevens also offer more out-of-the-box choices like jalapeño.
This might seem unbelievable to some, but the sushi from a Hawaii 7-Eleven is actually pretty good. The fresh rolls and musubi arrive nearly every morning and I’ve never heard of anyone getting sick from eating sushi from here. Options include spicy ahi inari, tuna, california roll, and more. It’s even possible to order a sushi party platter if you have a potluck coming up.
There are dozens of different kinds of bentos available. The ultra popular $3 Menehune Bentos feature Portuguese sausage and eggs or chicken over rice. Those with a bigger appetite can pick one of the giant 7 Pack Bentos which are similar to a Zip Pac from Zippy’s, our famous local diner. The 7 Pack Bento comes with a little of everything: fried chicken, fish, marinated beef, and spam on a bed of rice of course! You can also find fried saimin, pancit noodles, adobo, curry stew, kalua pig, and lots of other dishes.
Crack seed and gummies
Popular Hawaiian candy and crack seed brands like Jade and Enjoy normally take up an entire shelf. Most of these treats come covered in red li hing mui powder, a salty and tangy dried plum from China. When keiki (children) come home with a red tongue, li hing is the culprit. Grab a bag of our favorite snacks like li hing mango, li hing strawberry belts, passion orange gummies, or li hing sour watermelons.
Have you fallen for the ube bug yet? The purple yam is a normal ingredient in the Philippines, but also common in Hawaii–and no, it’s not the same as poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish made from the taro root. Now that the ube trend has hit, you will see everything from ube pies, ice cream, cheesecake, and more at bakeries and shops around the islands. Hawaii 7-Elevens have jumped on the bandwagon by offering a variety of ube treats like ube sweet buns and the very popular ube tarts from a bakery in Wahiawa that are so ʻono (tasty).
In the islands, we cover everything from shave ice and gummies to fresh cut fruits with li hing powder, so it’s no surprise that we also have li hing popcices. Next to the typical ice cream sandwiches and bars, you’ll find an icy treat with a full li hing mui seed inside. The Ju-Mui ice pops come in lilikoʻi, vanilla, and strawberry flavors.
Ted’s Bakery is well-known for its pies, but we’re well past the days when you have to drive out to the North Shore to get one. The pies are sold at grocery stores around Oʻahu and fortunately, a limited selection of individual slices can be found at Hawaii 7-Eleven. Chocolate haupia cream, lilikoʻi (passion fruit) cheese, strawberry guava, and macadamia nut cream are just a few varieties.
This frozen dessert is sort of like an icy ice cream or a creamy shave ice if that makes sense. It’s really in a category of its own. The small cups are perfect for a hot day, especially since they’re just $1.50! Some of the unique flavors include lychee, honeydew melon, strawberry melon swirl, chocolate coconut, mango, and island coffee.
What is your absolute favorite item from Hawaii 7-Eleven or if you’ve never been, what are you most excited to try? Leave a comment below.