Now you can get your flying fish soup stock at any time of the day or night in Japan’s capital.

Dashi soup stock is an indispensable ingredient in Japanese cooking. From miso soup to noodles and even grilled foods, dashi is essential for imparting a distinctive Japanese flavour to many of the country’s well-known dishes. Usually made from kombu (kelp) or katsuoboshi (dried smoked bonito flakes), dashi can sometimes be made from other ingredients like sardines, shiitake mushrooms, or, if you’re from the southern island of Kyushu, flying fish.

Known as yakiago, fried flying fish is said to add a unique flavour and fragrance to soup stock, and has been used to make dashi in Kyushu for many years. Even in Hiroshima Prefecture on the mainland, the flying fish soup stock has a loyal band of devotees, who flock to local udon noodle restaurant Dashidouraku for a taste of their unique broth.

Dashidouraku’s dashi soup is so popular that they’ve been producing it in 500-millilitre (16.9-ounce) bottles for customers to purchase since 2007. What makes the product even more unique, however, is its method of distribution, with bottles on sale at Dashidouraku vending machines.

▼ Let’s hope customers who can’t read Japanese will spot the English message at the bottom of the machine before purchasing!

The vending machines can be found in the following eight prefectures: Kanagawa, Aichi, Kyoto, Hyogo, Osaka, Okayama, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.

Recently, the company has been making news around the country after it was announced that Tokyo will now be receiving four of the special Dashidouraku vending machines, with one set to appear in Saitama Prefecture also. Like their southern counterparts, these machines will sell two varieties of dashi stock: their regular variety, which includes kombu kelp and a whole fried flying fish, and a premium variety which adds Sodabushi (dried bullet mackerel) to the mix for even more depth of flavour.

The regular variety retails for 700 yen (US$6.23) per bottle, while the premium offering sells for 750 yen.

Although each bottle contains a whole piece of fish, it’s not recommended that it be eaten, as it’s there to impart its grilled flavour to the stock.

People in Tokyo are curious to try the new dashi, not only for the unique flavour but also for the unusual vending machine experience.

While the bottles can be purchased online from the Dashidouraku website, it’s not half as fun as feeding coins into a machine and having the soup stock delivered to you automatically. To find out where the machines are located around Japan, stop by their website for more details.

Tokyo and Saitama Dashidouraku vending machine locations:
‌• Mitsui Repark Carpark Shimbashi Ichome No. 3, Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Shimbashi 1-7-6
‌• Mitsui Repark Carpark Meguro Aobadai Nichome No. 3, Tokyo-to, Meguro-ku, Aobadai 2-19-19
‌• Mitsui Repark Carpark Kojimachi Gochome No.2, Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kojimachi 5-7-2
‌• Mitsui Repark Carpark Roppongi Keyaki Sakashita, Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-17-2
‌• Mitsui Repark Carpark Ōmiya Station Entrance No 8, Saitama-ken, Saitama-shi, Ōmiya-ku, Nakacho 2-31

Source: Net Lab
Featured image: Twitter/@wisteria_13