Strangest Vending Machine Foods Around the World (Slideshow)
April 8, 2014
Some countries take "fresh" to a whole new level with these interesting vending machine food options
Live Lobster — Japan, USA
This takes “pick your own lobster” to a whole new level. The “Sub Marine Catcher” (also known as the “Maine Lobster Game” in New England, where the game was imported to and is quite popular) is apparently equal parts entertainment and dining: for a few dollars extra per cast, customers can try to catch their own dinner in a challenging game much like you would find in an arcade, complete with all the bells and whistles and a dinky robotic claw. PETA is not amused.
Freshly Baked Bread — France
French baker Jean-Louis Hecht believes everyone with a Euro coin should be able to get their hands on a piping hot baguette on demand, so he’s invented a baguette vending machine that can take pre-cooked loaves and turn them into freshly baked baguettes in seconds. Currently these machines are just in Paris and the northeastern town of Hornbourg-Haut, but they’re already selling up to 4,500 loaves per month, so Hecht has plans to expand the concept through Europe.
Fresh Eggs — Japan
Each compartment in this little vending machine contains a batch of fresh eggs, usually between 10 and 12, delivered by a nearby farmer. The eggs are usually delivered early in the morning, pre-dawn, and are so popular that they’re usually sold out by early afternoon. Depending on supply, the farmer may restock it throughout the day. It sure beats standing at a farmers market stall all day selling them!
Yes, these Shanghai Hairy Crabs are 100 percent alive and in a vending machine… you know, just in case you need live crabs urgently and the stores are all closed. The internal temperature of the vending machine is around 41 degrees Fahrenheit, which apparently keeps the crabs in a semi-hibernation state. Be careful though, the some crabs wake-up quickly and have been known to leap from their plastic containers once released and make a run for it!
Live Bait and Tackle — USA
For the fishing enthusiasts who might need to bait-up and go fishing at 3 a.m. when their favorite bait shop is closed, this one is for you. The live bait includes trout nuggets, night crawlers, and crayfish and is stored frozen and fully alive. The bait is replaced every few days (when, one assumes, the bait is no longer all that alive), and these little machines are becoming incredibly popular outside rural gas stations and convenience stores across the country.
Pizza — U.K. and Europe
For less than £4 (that’s around $7) you can get a piping hot nine-inch pizza pie at all hours of the day and night. The brainchild of pizza company Wonderpizza, the vending machine took 10 years to develop… but you can get your pizza in less than two minutes! Each machine can hold up to 102 pizza pies in three different flavors. After rolling out the successful venture across Switzerland, Italy, Norway, and Spain, they are now selectively (and intermittently) available in the U.S.
Fries — Australia
Have you ever wanted some french fries at 3 a.m. but just didn’t want to wait the whole five minutes at your 24-hour McDonalds for them? Well there are two vending machine companies in Australia that have solved that problem: Foodcube and Hot Fresh Fries both store frozen potato fries and can flash fry them in less than two minutes for you.
Caviar — U.S.
Who says caviar is just for posh restaurants? This Los Angeles vending machine offers Imperial River Beluga Caviar at all hours, just in case you need some at 2 a.m. while wandering through Beverly Hills. Don’t think that because it’s in a vending machine it comes cheap though — one ounce of the roe will set you back a cool $500. They also have escargot and truffles.
A Whole Restaurant — Netherlands
Why offer just one food item in a vending machine when you can offer and entire restaurant menu’s worth? FEBO in Amsterdam offers croquettes stuffed with veal or beef, a minced-meat hotdog, hamburgers, and pastries… all fresh, piping hot, and on full display behind small glass windows on the vending machine panel.