The quality of these chilled sweet potato treats surprised our seasoned reporter.

Our reporter Haruka Takagi was riding her bike through the city of Nabari in Mie Prefecture during a sweltering hot day recently, when she spotted a series of banners in a parking lot that read “Chilled Sweet Potatoes“.

Needing a break from the heat, Haruka immediately pulled in to check it out, and as she approached the machine, she realised there was more on offer than just sweet potatoes, as there were delicious-looking sweets available as well.

Operated by confectionery manufacturer Kinofuku, which specialises in baked sweets, the vending machine was stocked with a wide variety of frozen sweets direct from the factory, and they were reasonably priced from 240-500 yen (US$1.69-$3.53).

With options such as creme brûlée, ice cream, and daigaku imo (“college potato”) in front of her, Haruka couldn’t decide what to buy at first, but thankfully she noticed that the manufacturer had pre-empted such a quandary with a set called the “Lucky Assortment” for 1,000 yen.

This assortment included five sweets at a discount — 200 yen cheaper than buying them separately — so that’s what she went for.

Given the relatively cheap price, Haruka expected the pack to come out in bland, wholesaler-style packaging so she was delighted to find it was wrapped in a cute, non-woven red cloth.

▼ It was as if she’d bought herself a special gift!

Upon untying the cloth, Haruka’s beautiful gift was revealed — the five items she’d received were a baked sweet potato, a Sata andagi, a Basque Cheesecake, a Nama Sweet Potato and a Sweet Potato Purin.

Haruka couldn’t resist trying a mouthful of each and giving us her verdict on the vending machine sweets, starting with the…

Nama Sweet Potato.

In the confectionery world, “nama” (“fresh”) is a term used to indicate that a sweet contains fresh cream, like nama chocolate (chocolate ganache) or nama cheesecake (unbaked cheesecake). Nama sweet potato, however, is a far less common delicacy, so Haruka was keen to try it, and when she got a taste of it, she closed her eyes in delight as it had a delectably soft texture like custard cream.

The gentle sweetness of the sweet potato and the richness of fresh cream were absolutely divine, and the melt-in-the-mouth texture of it all made it incredibly satisfying.

▼ Sweet Potato Purin

In Japan, purin (“pudding”) is like a custard pudding or crème caramel, and this one contained plenty of purple sweet potatoes. The texture was slightly coarse, due to the potatoes and the lack of cream, but Haruka absolutely loved the flavour, especially when eaten with the salty sweet sauce that accompanied it.

▼ Roasted Sweet Potato

Haruka loves a good ol’ baked sweet potato, especially when it’s the beniharuka variety, which this one was. While she usually eats them warm, this chilled potato seemed to have a more concentrated flavour than usual, as if the chilling process had intensified both the sweetness and the flavour.It was soft, gooey, juicy and delicious — one of the best sweet potatoes she’s ever eaten.

Basque Cheesecake

The combination of sweet potatoes and cheesecake makes for a dense, rich dessert, this one was overflowing with the soft sweetness of sweet potatoes. Haruka thought it was revolutionary that a sweet this good could be purchased from a vending machine!

▼ Sata Andagi

Sata andagi is an Okinawan specialty that’s similar to a doughnut ball. It was a surprising addition here, as these balls of fried dough aren’t usually paired with sweet potatoes, but as soon as Haruka bit into it, she found herself swooning over the subtle potato flavour and crumbly, cookie-like texture.

Haruka’s vending machine haul turned out to be a great success, with every single sweet getting the tick of approval from her discerning taste buds. They were all high-quality offerings that’ll appeal to anyone with a sweet tooth, but if she had to pick her favourites, it would be the nama sweet potato, basque cheesecake, and baked sweet potato, which she would eat again in a heartbeat.

So next time you stumble upon a weird vending machine like this one, don’t be afraid to try it out. Chances are, you’ll be impressed by the flavour and quality, and that goes for this coffee machine and this cotton candy machine too!

Vending Machine Information

Kinofuku Nabari Branch /季の福名張店
Address: Mie-ken, Nabari-shi, Kuramochicho, Harade 1366-3
Website (Instagram)

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]