Almost as prolific as the number of boba shops in Taiwan is the number of convenience stores. Convenience stores like 7-Eleven are everywhere.

Unlike in the US, they don’t just sell candy, snacks, and drinks. Convenience stores (便利店 / bian li dian) play a larger role in everyday life in Taiwan. They’re an easy place to pick up lunch with their larger variety of hot foods and bentos. Here’s a pile of roasted sweet potatoes (白薯 / bai shu) waiting to be eaten for lunch.

Tea eggs (茶葉蛋 / cha ye dan) are also a big thing in these shops. The smell of tea eggs often fills the air as you enter. You just use the tongs to grab an egg and plop it into the plastic bag.

More surprisingly, you can get your fix of Muji stationary and snacks at 7-Eleven with their latest collaboration.

Sure, some convenience stores in the US have ATM’s, but can you buy bus tickets or make photocopies?

Almost all of the 7-Eleven’s in Taiwan allow you to drop in and make the necessary business exchanges you might need.

I’m still amazed at how much more I utilize convenience stores in Taiwan compared to the US. If you find yourself going to Taiwan for the first time, don’t just think of these stores as any old convenience store. Drop in and experience just what more Taiwanese “Bianlidian” have to offer.