Convenience stores

Why convenience stores in Taiwan and Japan are so different from American stores

Tokyo’s best-known konbini is Lawson, a large convenience store chain that has been thriving since 1939, which actually first opened in Ohio (per Initiated). If you’re short on cash and need a place to store delicious groceries of all kinds, this is your stop. The walls are lined with hot food stations, where you can buy restaurant-quality Japanese dishes, like yakitori and oden stew. It’s also common to see fast food items, like fried chicken and pizza, but it doesn’t stop there. Hot coffee, sandwiches, savory desserts, alcohol, the list goes on. Taiwan’s convenience stores offer an equally enticing array of items, even aisles with cosmetics and subway maps (via Initiated). The country also has a few one-of-a-kind themed stores that make it an eye-catching family trip for everyone, according to The smart room.

Think of the sketchy cuts of chicken or canned fruit left at 7-Eleven versus the quality and wide variety you could get at any local store in Japan. Well, two friends did it and now they are spreading the latest konbini news (by Fodors). Konbini enthusiast, Matt Savas, and his friend, Michael Markey, started a podcast called Conbini Boys. Savas guaranteed that 7-Elevens in the United States are “trash” compared to those in Japan. Japanese and Taiwanese convenience stores are in a whole different league, and it will be exciting to see if American stores decide to follow suit and step up their game.