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.