Demi-glace soup is the fanciest-sounding, best-tasting machine-sold canned treat we’ve had in a long time.

Sort of like how pink petals burst forth on the branches of cherry blossom trees in the spring, each fall Japan’s vending machines undergo a fantastic transformation. Just as the weather starts to get colder, the machines’ drink selections get shuffled to include hot drinks.

Not only does this mean piping hot coffee, cocoa, and green tea, you can also find cans of warm soup. While the most common variety is corn chowder, this winter the Japanese Internet has been buzzing about a new offering: demi-glace soup.

▼ Demi-glace soup on the right, corn chowder on the left


If you’re not familiar with demi-glace, it’s a French brown sauce made with beef stock. In Japan, demi-glace is a common topping for hamburger steak, and has a comforting yet elegant image stemming from its connection to the hearty dish and overseas roots. The canned demi-glace soup, from beverage maker Pokka Sapporo, was just released this fall, but quickly won rave reviews, with satisfied customers calling it “perfect” and gushing that they “can’t believe something that comes from a can tastes this good.”


While you’ll find vending machines all across Japan, Pokka Sapporo’s demi-glace soup, priced at 170 yen (US$1.50) is exclusive to machines found inside Japan Railway (JR) stations. However, since JR is the country’s largest rail operator, the soup is still pretty easy to find, so we grabbed a can on our way home from the office and twisted off the top.


The richly tantalizing aroma of demi-glace drifted up from the can. We took a sip, and it was every bit as delicious the rumors had said it was, with a creamy, meaty flavor.

It’s so good that it could easily pass for restaurant-quality cuisine, and we’d have gotten down on our knees and thanked Pokka Sapporo right then and there, if not for the fact that we didn’t want to block people who were trying to get to their trains.

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