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I’ve eaten very good food at independently-owned American gas stations, nibbling my way through green chile peanut brittle in Santa Rosa, New Mexico and country ham biscuits in Cismont, Virginia. The fare I’ve picked up at roadside chains has been far less memorable. I’ll occasionally make a 7-Eleven or Stop-N-Go pitstop for a lottery ticket, pack of peanut butter crackers or a Slurpee. But I give the footlong hot dogs and nachos with melted cheese a pass.

I’ve been reflecting upon gas station cuisine since September, when I returned to LA from a mind-blowing trip to Tokyo. I sampled a vast array of food at convenience stores there that would certainly be considered gourmet by our quick mart standards. Stan Lee shot a video of the best things we ate at Lawson’s — including the very tasty fried pork cutlet and egg salad sandwich pictured here. Watch our video on the KCRW Good Food blog.

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