We got your Gyutan gacha right here.

We’re currently in the middle of a golden age for both random gacha capsule toy vending machines and food vending machines in Japan. And sometimes, we even see those two trends meet up in the form of random food vending machines.

Of course, no one’s palate is broad enough to be happy eating any and every foodstuff, so these gacha food machines tend to be narrowed down to a single culinary category. For example, on one of our most recent instances of walking while hungry, we came across a random beef tongue vending machine.

Beef tongue, called gyutan in Japanese, is a specialty of Sendai, the largest city in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region. And sure enough, this vending machine is produced by Wagen, a Sendai gyutan restaurant. It’s stocked with a variety of different cuts and classes of beef tongue that you can choose from, but the button that caught our eye was Button 10, in the bottom-left corner, which is labeled “customer appreciation celebration.”

For 700 yen (US$4.80), you get a random packet of beef tongue. The photos implied that there are two possibilities:
1. A 240-gram (8.5-ounce) pack of kiriotoshi negi shio (“salty green onion trimmings”) gyutan
2. A 150-gram pack of premium uma shio (“deliciously salty”) gyutan

Between the two, it’s the uma shio one you’d feel especially lucky to get, since the machine sells those 150-gram packs for 2,000 yen up there on Button 1. Even if you end up with the kiriotoshi, you’re still coming out ahead, because the direct-purchase price for that cut is 700 yen for 200 grams, but the gacha pack gives you 240 grams for the same price.

▼ A photo of the premium uma shio beef tongue

This was too enticing a deal for our Japanese-language reporter Yuuichiro Wasai to pass up, so he fed 700 yen into the machine, selected Button 10, and then hit the “buy” (かう) button to complete the transaction.

Unfortunately, Yuuichiro wasn’t lucky enough to win the premium uma shio beef tongue, but like we said, even the lower-priced kiriotoshi is still a good deal because of the extra quantity.

However, Yuuichiro couldn’t completely suppress his fancy food cravings, and so he also splurged on a 1,200-yen, 125-gram pack of gokushin gyutan, an extra-tender central cut of beef tongue somewhere between the two extremes of the cuts that are available through the gacha button.

The packs come frozen, and after Yuuichiro took them home and thawed them out, he cooked them up.

▼ Less expensive kiriotoshi on the left, more expensive gokushin on the right

The more expensive beef tongue was cut in thicker slices, while the cheaper kiriotoshi was in smaller strips. Overall, though, there was a lot more of the kiriotoshi, and both plates had Yuuichiro’s mouth watering in equal measure before his first bite.

If he had to pick between the two, the more expensive gokushin was more delicious than the less expensive kiriotoshi, but they were both great, especially when interspersing mouthfuls of meat with sips of beer. So in the end, even though he didn’t get the top-of-the-line premium beef tongue he’d wanted from the gyutan gacha attempt, he still felt like he came out a winner.

If you’d like to try your luck too, a full list of Wagen’s vending machine locations, which can be found across Japan, is available here.

Photos © SoraNews24
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