Matsuya’s first-ever vending machine surprises everyone with secret burgers.

In Japan, beef bowls go by the name “gyudon” or “gyumeshi“, with the former referencing the big bowl (“don“) it’s served in, and the latter highlighting the rice (“meshi“) aspect of the dish. Either way, they both essentially mean the same thing, as the beef (“gyu“) topping is always the star of the show, and if you’re looking for a good one, Japanese chain Matsuya is one of the top places to go.

▼ Matsuya chooses to call their beef bowls gyumeshi.

As one of the most popular beef bowl restaurants in Japan, Matsuya meals are always in high demand, and now customers can fulfil their cravings at any time of the day or night, thanks to a new vending machine that’s been set up outside the Minamisunacho branch in Tokyo’s Koto Ward.

We’d never seen a Matsuya vending machine before, so we sidled over for a look and were surprised to find a lot more than beef bowls on the menu.

▼ This is the chain’s first-ever vending machine, and it’s said to be a first for the beef bowl industry as well.

Only open to the public since 18 November, not a lot is known about the vending machine just yet, so when we looked at what it had to offer, we discovered choices like Gyumeshi (300 yen [US$2.63]), Original Curry (200 yen), and…Rosu Tonkatsu (tonkatsu loin), which was created under Matsuya’s supervision.

▼ There’s also a friendly cow on the display, boasting of its own deliciousness.

Up on the top row of the machine were options for a two-pack set of Gyumeshi (500 yen), an Original Curry and Tonkatsu set (400 yen), and a Gyumeshi and Curry set (400 yen).

However, what really caught our eye was the middle row of the vending machine, which contained two menu items we’d never seen at Matsuya before. There, next to the Butameshi (pork bowl), were two rice burgers, priced at 300 yen each.

Gyumeshi Burger (left), Tonkatsu Burger (middle)

We immediately inserted our money and purchased one of each of these, using the keypad on the multi-language panel.

Everything in the vending machine is frozen so you can heat them up and enjoy them hot at home, and that’s what we did with these two burgers, which enticed us all the way with mouthwatering images on the packaging.

According to the instructions, the best way to heat these up is to leave them in the bag and cut a small notch in the top before microwaving.

After a few minutes in the microwave, these had warmed up beautifully, with the rice in the buns looking all plump and moist and shiny.

The tonkatsu burger was fantastic, but one word of warning with this one — the crunchy fried pork patty in the middle is HOT, so be sure to let it cool for a little bit before biting into it.

The gyumeshi rice burger was less piping hot, and it was like a handheld gyudon, filled with the familiar taste of a signature Matsuya beef bowl. The salty soy seasoning in the rice buns was a great complement to the saucy beef centre, and we’ll definitely be stocking up on more of these to have them on hand in the freezer whenever a Matsuya craving strikes.

▼ Check out that saucy gyudon centre!

If you aren’t able to get yourself to the vending machine in Tokyo, you can still get a taste of these burgers by purchasing them online. They’re not available in stores, though, so hopefully we’ll be seeing more of these machines pop up at branches around Japan in the near future. And judging by Matsuya’s dedication to customer service, there’s a good chance that might happen.

Vending machine information
Matsuya Minamisunacho Store / 松屋南砂町店
Address: Tokyo-to, Koto-ku, Minamisuna 7-4-6

Photos ©SoraNews24
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