Rating Gas Station Snacks You Were Too Afraid to Try

We did it so you don’t have to


If you’ve ever been on a road trip, field trip, candy run, or just been mildly hungry, you’ve certainly found yourself wandering the aisles of a gas station convenience store for the perfect [read: adequate] snack. As you stroll beneath fluorescent lights and neon beer signs, you will likely find yourself considering only approximately ¼ of the options available, for the simple reason that everything else that the store has to offer seems, in the nicest of terms, sketchy. On the food pyramid, these are the foods that occur only at the very tip, labeled “Eat Only if Dying of Malnutrition, Perhaps in a Plane Crash On a Deserted Island”.

Curiosity, however, got the better of us, and we have decided to report on the least desirable-looking snacks that we could locate at the Circle K on Highway 17 N (the gas station in front of the Hobby Lobby and that Harris Teeter). Compared to the other gas stations in North Mount Pleasant, this one is much less bougie and much more poorly lit. In short, exactly what we were looking for. Based on appearances, we assumed that this would be the optimal location for the kinds of snacks that we were looking for.

We pulled into the strangely unlined parking lot and began our search. Scouring all 500 square feet of the store, we made eight selections for review. Upon carrying our items to the cashier, she glanced at my Vienna sausages and sugary beverages and remarked that I must have been hungry. Interesting choices for satiating hunger, no doubt, but I would soon understand what she had meant. [Seriously, you might have to be starving to eat Vienna sausages without compensation.]


Dorito’s Flavor Shot

These cheese-flavored peanuts more confuse the consumer than satisfy them. By including the words  ‘peanut’ and ‘protein’, this deceptive snack gives the illusion of some level of health.

Flavor: Flavor is faint but present, and definitely more Dorito than peanut

Texture: Very solid crunch

Price: $1.19

Presentation: Weak, Just looks like nuts lightly dusted in orange powder.

Buy it again?: nah

Rating: 5/10


Sponch Marshmallow Cookies        

Pink and white coconut-covered marshmallows and a delicate drop of raspberry jelly float on top of dry sugar cookies in this Mexican snack.

Flavor: Nothing. No marshmallow, no coconut, no jelly.

Texture: Cookie is soft, Marshmallow is springy, jelly is dry, coconut is nonexistent.

Price: $1.95

Presentation: Bright colors are clearly intended to entice children.

Buy it again: no

Rating: 4.5/10


Joker Energy Drink (Mango Flavor)

A terrifying, taurine filled serum intended to break the cavities of the heart and the limits of human possibility.

Flavor: Not bad, actually somewhat realistic mango flavor, not super overpowering

Texture: Good amount of carbonation

Price: $1.60

Presentation: Scary but appropriate.

Buy it again: Dangerous, but if you’re into energy drinks…

Rating: 7/10


Hot Mama Pickle

Flavor: Very vinegary. Eli coughed. delayed spice, but good spice. mild tongue buzz

Texture: Kind of chewy, not a true pickle texture

Smell (relevant to this one): Wow. VERY strong. Overpowering when you go to take a bite.

Price: $0.99

Presentation: Funny packaging, but the amount of juice is concerning.

Buy it again: If I ever feel like eating a whole pickle (which I won’t), it would be this one.

Rating: 7/10


Note: We had a bite of Sponch here to return our palettes to tasting like nothing.


Vienna Sausage

Made of “mechanically separated” chicken, beef and pork, the packaging describes this delicacy as “plump” and “deliciously seasoned”. But upon opening this can of meat scraps and draining the juice, this description was found to be quite false.

Flavor: NOPE

Texture: Terrifying, there is no skin on these, your teeth sink right through

Smell: AWFUL, cat food

Price: $0.99

Presentation: Average can. Meat logs are tightly packed in a uniform way.

Buy it again:  h*ck NO

Rating: -10/10


Flamin’ Hot Funyuns

Incredibly crunchy, bright red rings that are too large to fit in your mouth and leave your fingers stained for days.

Flavor: Fake spice, doesn’t taste like anything in particular, just lightly burns.

Texture: Initial crunch, then fully disappears in your mouth.

Price: $2.69

Presentation: Classic Funyuns bag, with a bright red twist.

Buy it again: Nah.

Rating: 5/10


Tahitian Treat Fruit Punch

Somehow, the Dr. Pepper company has been getting away with this carbonated juice box for years. We’re no food scientist, but our calculations determine this liquid to be 10% water, 40% sugar and 50% red dye 40.

Flavor: overly sweet cough syrup

Texture: Very lightly carbonated. Like TV static with the volume turned down.

Price: $1.50

Presentation: Bottle isn’t particularly eye-catching, nice pop when opened

Buy it again: no. Will never hit the spot.

Rating: 4/10


Concha French Sweetie

This Mexican sweet roll is appetizing and nice, yet it lacks in some areas.

Flavor: Not too sweet, icing could use some work though. It doesn’t have the sweetness expected of icing.

Texture: Pretty dry, would be good accompanied by coffee.

Price: $0.99

Presentation: Basic, clear package

Buy it again? Maybe, depends on what else is available

rating: 6.5/10


Overall, the best [read: least bad] items we tried were Concha in the sweet category, and in the greatest underdog story ever told in food reporting: Hot Mama Spicy Pickle in a Bag comes out on top in the salty/savory division. In the beverage category, we cannot recommend either of these options. While The Joker has decent flavor, we cannot, in good conscience condone the inclusion of Taurine, a potentially deadly stimulant in combination with caffeine and intense exercise (600 mg of caffeine, 2,000 mg of taurine in Joker). Our greatest recommendation though would be to stick to the classics when it comes to your snack selections if you aren’t looking to be unpleasantly surprised. Generally, your first instincts will be correct.


The Remnants