The latest in a long line of Japanese vending machines that’ll make you think, “… they’re selling what?!”

Japan has a reputation for being home to the world’s weirdest vending machines, and to a degree that reputation isn’t without cause. Our roving reporter Mr. Sato recently stumbled across one such vending machine selling intriguing looking wares. At a glance, it looks like a regular machine selling drink cans, but look closer and you’ll see…

…that they are actually cans of drinkable whipped cream.

Specifically, the cans are labeled as ‘Fresh cream that’s a drink’, which in Japanese is 生ホイップは飲み物 (nama hoippu wa nomimono), but has been shortened down to ‘Namanomi‘.

The idea of creamy canned desserts first began to trend back in 2021 with Gaku’s enormously popular cakes in a can, and a number of similar products have been released since then. But this was the first time for Mr. Sato to see such sweets in a vending machine in this way, and so he took a closer look at what was on offer.

Included in the Namanomi creamy can line-up was Mascarpone Cheese Flavour whipped cream, and Hawaiian Ka’u Coffee Flavour whipped cream, both of which looked pretty tempting. But there was one flavour in particular that caught Mr. Sato’s eye…

Great Buddha Flavour…!?

Mr. Sato has sampled a great number of bizarrely flavoured things during his tenure as a gourmet writer for SoraNews24, but Great Buddha was not one of them. For a start, what would Great Buddha even taste like?!

Mr. Sato eagerly reached for his wallet, already imagining the feeling of cracking open a can of creamy Great Buddha…

…but he was to be met with severe disappointment, as Great Buddha flavour was completely sold out!

It seemed that Mr. Sato was not the only passerby who was curious as to how a Great Buddha would taste, as all of that particular flavour in the machine had already been sold. So instead, Mr. Sato went for the Hawaii Ka’u Coffee flavoured whipped cream. All cans of Namanomi cost 1,000 yen (US$6.75), which was a little more expensive than other famous canned desserts, including the original cake in a can.

The ‘drink’ comes out of the vending machine frozen, so Mr. Sato took it home and left it to defrost in the fridge for around three hours.

When it was ready to ‘drink’, Mr. Sato pulled back the ring tab and was met with this.

Despite the labels proclaiming it was ‘drinkable whipped cream’, it didn’t seem like the kind of drink that you could gulp down on a hot summer’s day — it still seemed pretty clumpy and thick. Perhaps if it were left out at room temperature so it could fully melt, it would be more drinkable. For the time being though, Mr. Sato decided to taste-test it as is.

The Hawaii Ka’u Coffee flavour had a mild, creamy taste that was similar to ice cream, but it’s technically classed as ‘lacto ice cream‘, which means it’s made using milk-solids content of three percent or greater, but isn’t required to contain any milk fat. Unlike normal lacto ice cream products though, the Namanomi had a gentler texture, and a slight bitter taste from the coffee.

So while Mr. Sato didn’t manage to get his hands on some Buddha flavoured cream, he got to enjoy a delicious can of whipped cream, which is something you don’t get to do every day. Upon later research it transpired the Great Buddha flavour is actually a special kind of hojicha (roasted tea) flavour and is very popular not only amongst the public but also the Namanomi staff, too.

If you want to have a taste of the Great Buddha, there are Namanomi vending machines on the 10th floor of Akihabara’s Radio Center shopping centre, and the Shinjuku Alta shopping mall second basement floor.

Images © SoraNews24
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