We tried this mysterious find in a busy Tokyo station.

The SoraNews24 team is familiar with all sorts of vending machines–wagyu beef and Great Buddha-flavored drinkable whipped cream, to name a couple–but we continue to be surprised at every new discovery.

On a recent trip around Tokyo, our Japanese-language reporter Yuichiro Wasai spotted an unusual vending machine in Tokyo’s Ebisu Station. It was selling frozen tonkatsu (pork cutlet) sandwiches at price points ranging from 650 yen (US$4.40) to 1,300 yen (US$8.70) based on the sandwich’s cut of pork.

Hold up, Yuichiro thought. Why are they so expensive? Tonkatsu sandwiches in convenience stores are normally half that price, for reference. According to the vending machine, the frozen morsels are a collaboration between tonkatsu restaurant Tonkatsu Maruya and Shokupan Maruya, a Japanese bread product brand.

But wait, Yuchiro thought. Why are they sold frozen? Wouldn’t you want to enjoy a hot sandwich right away? Considering Ebisu Station has an almost infinite number of restaurants in the area–including tonkatsu–so he was perplexed as to why someone would purposely purchase this not-so-cheap sandwich you need to prepare at home.

With a burning need to answer these questions, Yuuchiro spent 700 yen on a pork fillet tonkatsu sandwich and another 100 yen on a to-go container with an ice pack.

He opened the mysterious sandwich as soon as he got home. Upon his initial inspection, the fillet appeared to be quite thick.

Some tonkatsu sandwiches are padded out with cabbage for added volume and texture, but this sandwich was simply tonkatsu and bread.

Yuichiro followed the instructions on the package for the best way to enjoy his sandwich, which said to pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds or 20 seconds depending on the wattage settings.

Then he took a bite…

…and it was super delicious!

It was probably the best tonkatsu sandwich he’d ever eaten, even better than Maisen, another popular high-end tonkatsu sandwich brand.

The only drawback he could think of is that, in the end, it is a frozen meal–which, in Yuchiro’s opinion, never quite stacks up to something freshly made. But if you’re looking for a delicious sandwich that you can prepare at any time you like, he thinks it’s worth 700 yen.

He could picture why someone would want to grab this on their busy Ebisu Station commute. Dare he say it? He could even picture someone specifically going to Ebisu Station for this tonkatsu sandwich vending machine. It’s that good.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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