Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Junk food purveyor of the week: 7-11

When I was a kid in Northern Virginia, there were 7-11 convenience stores everywhere. Over time their numbers dwindled. Now I know where they all went: Thailand.


In Bangkok especially, you can hardly walk a block without passing a 7-11. While this may seem excessive, it's a sensible business strategy, because that's about how far you can walk in the 100-degree heat before you want another cold drink.


Among 7-11's many culinary offerings is the completely-unrefrigerated Shredded Pork Sandwich. I had my first SPS one day in Chiang Mai when I was really hungry, and I thought it was the greatest sandwich ever: pork salad sandwiched between cheap white bread with a couple of slices of pork sausage, and heavy slatherings of what seemed like some kind of yellow jam.


On closer inspection, the SPS proved to be made of pretty cheap and appalling materials. What I thought was pork salad was just floss, the highly-processed dried meat product that is also much-loved in Jakarta. The "jam" was margarine, but it must have sugar added to it because it's distinctly sweet.

Despite its obvious crappiness, I still have a certain love for the SPS. There's just something great about porky-sweet-salty flavors (think bacon and maple syrup), especially if you've been pork-deprived for four years.


Exhibit B is something I initially found horrifying: the Corn Pie. I think corn is okay, but I'm a little baffled by the Southeast Asian corn craze. I don't mind the cups of it sold as mall treats, and even the corn-and-ice-cream combo. But something about a pie full of corn disgusts me.


That being said, this was more tolerable than I expected. There isn't too much corn, and it's accompanied by a pleasantly distracting cream-cheese-like substance. I finished my half, so it must not have been too bad.

6 comments:

Shelley said...

Your 7/11s also migrated to Australia, just so you know.

I'm also appalled that you find the concept of a pork-floss-margarine sandwich more natural -- and apparently more delicious? -- than a corn-filled pie. Here in Oz we fill pies with all sorts of things: corn, leeks, potatoes, curry, and -- dare I say it -- even pork.

Ashlee said...

Is that yellow stuff pretending to be apple sauce? We often eat apple sauce with roast pork...

It looks pretty icky, but it really doesn't look much more offensive than Breadtalk. I was back in Jakarta the other day and I walked past BT and got a huge whiff of it after a 3 month absence and was like "EWWW omfg how did I manage to eat bread from that place? The smell!" Though right now I could kind of deal with some 'fire floss'...

kopisusu2 said...

I bow down before the Australian savory pie, Shelley - in fact I once sat in three hours of Jakarta traffic to fetch some meat pies from Aphrodite for me and my officemates. I think what alarmed me about the 7-11 pie was that it looked exactly like the sort of thing that in the US would be filled with cheap, gluey cherry or blueberry filling consisting mostly of corn-syrup gel and food coloring. The thought of a corn version disgusts me.

I can't really defend my defense of the pork sandwich, though. I throw myself on the mercy of the court!

Ashlee: Exactly! Fire floss: disgusting yet irresistible. That's the angle I'm working here.

kopisusu2 said...

And you're welcome for the 7-11s, Shelley! mwahahahahaha

Ashlee said...

I still remember that valiant pie run. It was nothing short of heroic!

kopisusu2 said...

I believe the copy editors still sing a ballad about it some nights over a round of Bintangs at Bricks.