27 July 2010

French Fry Vending - Japan

Sacred deer frequent the path to Kasuga Taisha in Nara

I have been looking back at some of my earliest posts. In the fall of 2007 I was writing about some of my favorite things; breakfasts in Japan and vending machines. Oddly enough, this summer I find myself coming full circle in blog topics.

A few weeks ago I had another opportunity to travel to Japan. Again, I enjoyed some wonderful breakfasts, snacks and traditional meals. I was also on the lookout for interesting vending machines.

Vending at Kofuku-ji, near Nanendo, in Nara

I drank my share of Japanese unsweetened tea, canned coffee and juice from vending machines. I also saw, beer, whiskey, cigarettes and ice cream offered from machines in a variety of locations. I even noticed a machine that dispenses hot ramen noodles outside Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavillion, in Kyoto.

A classic view of the Golden Pavillion, Kinkaku-ji, in Kyoto

The most interesting machine, however, was at the Kyoto train station. in a corner of the train platform, beside the cigarettes and bottled drinks, was a vending machine that offered hot French Fries and other hot entrees.

French Fry Vending at Kyoto Station

I was charmed by this discovery. Remembering my family's experience in Melk and the crispy hot French Fries that came from the vending machine there, I insisted we stop and buy some. We dug up the 350 yen, fed them into the machine and waited. Within a few minutes the process was complete. I reached into the pull out area to grab my box of hot French Fries.

Nice and hot!

The box looked interesting enough. Carefully we opened it. Inside the fries were golden but certainly not crispy. In fact they were almost soggy. This machine, it seems, microwaves frozen packages of fried food rather than actually dropping it into hot oil like the vending machine in Melk.

Not so tasty.

Oh well. Live and learn. Not all French Fry vending machines are created equal.

Bento Box purchases at Kyoto Station's Shinkansen shopping arcade

We ditched the fries and headed for the Shinkansen. Along the way we picked up drinks and a two tiered bento box to explore on the train. In Kyoto Station's Shinkansen boarding area travelers do not suffer for lack of choices in Japanese style fast food.

4 comments:

Ivy said...

How curious! :)
I want to se what was inside the bento box. :)

Lisa said...

Ivy - Hopefully I will get around to posting about the bento box soon!

grace said...

french fry vending machines, eh? i NEVER thought i'd see the day. what's next, made-to-order omelet machines?

Alanna Kellogg said...

In rural Missouri, there's a place that uses a vending machine to dispense -- get this -- live bait.