Raw seafood and a microwave is today’s weird vending machine find of the day. 

Japanese vending machines have been faithfully serving customers for decades, but these days they’re becoming more high-tech then ever before, offering a greater variety of goods and services to the general public.

Which brings us to today’s unusual find: the kaki fry vending machine. In Japan, kaki fry (“fried oysters”) are a popular snack food usually eaten at izakaya taverns with a beer on the side. A lot fewer people are frequenting taverns these days during the pandemic, though, so this new vending machine is a great option for those wanting to get their kaki fry fix outside.

The machine exclusively sells products from oyster farming company “Farm Suzuki”, which is located in Osakikamijima, Hiroshima Prefecture, one of the country’s premier oyster-producing regions. While the vending machine specialises in kaki fry, it also stocks raw Osaki Claire Oysters, served in half-shells with a wedge of lemon, and raw tiger prawns.

▼ All products are priced at 1,200 yen (US$11.30), which will get you either four fried oysters, three Claire Oysters or two tiger prawns.

We decided to forego the raw seafood options and head straight for the kaki fry, hitting the “Buy it now!” button and holding our credit card over the card reader to make the purchase, as the machine doesn’t accept cash payment.

“Hold card to reader until melody is heard”

After the machine accepted our cashless payment, it released a box of kaki fry into the tray below, and when we picked it up and felt the cold pack between our fingers we realised the oysters were actually frozen.  

That’s totally okay, though, as this vending machine comes with a microwave oven attached next to it. Only those who’ve made a purchase can use the microwave, as it opens with the help of a QR code reader, which scans the code attached to the outside of the box.

Once the oysters had been warmed up to perfection, we took the pack to a shared free space nearby and lifted the lid on the box. While we knew there would be oysters inside, we couldn’t help but be surprised to see the contents, because, well…we’d never bought fried oysters from a machine before.

They were a lot bigger than expected, and while they weren’t as crispy as the ones you’d get freshly fried at an izakaya, they still looked fantastic. If we were to serve these up for a blind tasting, no one would guess these had been sitting in a vending machine just moments earlier.

At 300 yen apiece, these weren’t cheap oysters, but as soon as we bit into one, we were satisfied with the price. The texture was firm, and the salty fresh oyster flavour was delicious, especially when combined with the fried breadcrumb coating.

Had they been served with a sauce, these would’ve been even better, but we definitely weren’t complaining. Being able to eat Hiroshima-sourced high-quality fried oysters from a vending machine in the middle of Tokyo was an absolute treat for us, and it certainly makes a nice follow-up to the pearl vending machine we visited a few days ago.

Vending machine information
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Toranomon 1-17-1,Toranomon Hills Business Tower B 1
Hours: 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. (weekdays); 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. (Sat, Sun, public holidays); irregular holidays

Photos © SoraNews24
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