Miso Ramen, Udon, and Oden…from a Japanese Vending Machine?!?


Udon, Miso Ramen, and Oden from a local vending machine. Sigh…the cans made everything look so tasty.

What do miso ramen (みそラメン), udon (うどん), Coca-Cola, hamburgers, toilet paper, oden (おでん), used women’s panties (maybe), and stockings have in common? Do you give up? Well, they are all things that you can get from vending machines here in Japan…I sh*t you not. I haven’t gotten to use the stocking or panties machines…for obvious reasons, but I’ve heard they are out there…somewhere. The used school girl’s panties thing, if it’s true, is just sad. There was a time when men would pay quite a bit for those from what I understand. I also hear that men used steal women’s panties that were hanging out out to dry on laundry racks. I seriously don’t get it, but I digress. I was reading this Japanese comic that was translated into English, and it mentioned some of the things you can find in a Japanese vending machine. I was surprised to hear about the hamburgers and Oden, but I on my way back home, I stopped by a vending right here in Tsukuba that sold ramen, cold and hot oden, as well as Udon. I indulged myself and bought one of each.

A special flip fork that comes with the miso ramen and udon. The oden had a wooden pick inside of the can to spear and eat the contents.



*Oden is like a stew made from dashi, or fish stock, and usually has all kinds of chunky goodness: boiled eggs, konyaku (the devil’s tongue), processed fish cakes, etc.
**Udon is a Japanese dish that’s like soup, but the noodles are a much thicker than your standard ramen noodles. Generally it’s EXTREMELY good.

Tasty right? Umm…not exactly.

I got home, popped open those cans, knowing that I was in for some amazing treats. It’s rare indeed that I’m disappointed by food in Japan, but, sadly…much to my surprise…none of them were very good. The ramen had this layer of visible oil that simply turned my tastebuds off, but i did try it. The udon and oden were better than the ramen, but that really isn’t saying a whole lot. I felt bad wasting food, but I threw away most of what I bought :( .

If you look closely you can see just how oily this really is.

It is possible that I just picked a bad machine. Or it could be that after having been exposed to the incredible, high quality, low-cost ramen, udon, and oden that I can get at restaurants (Conbini Oden is pretty tasty, too) I was disappointed. If you’re really, REALLY hungry, you can resort to these, but I don’t think I’ll be doing it again. As for me, if I want quick miso ramen, I’ll go the cup ramen route…it’s far tastier. With Oden I’ll just go to Family Mart, and Udon…I’ll just have to find a good shop, sit down for a bit and get some.

Or, I know! If you’re interested in trying Japanese vending machines and  supporting a good cause at the same time, you should try donating blood. The Japanese Red Cross in Tsukuba provides free snacks and free access to their vending machines, which had soup, drinks, and things that were actually good. It helps you to keep your strength up/stay hydrated after the blood-donation process.

Thanks for reading. Be careful with those vending machines, sometimes you get what you pay for…sometimes you don’t. These three weren’t actually all that cheap in the grand scheme of things: Miso Ramen ¥320 yen, Udon ¥300, and Oden ¥300.

Donald Ash

P.S.-I’m back from my brief birthday hiatus! I took some time to go to the mountains…literally…reflect, relax, and just really think about things…my father’s birthday comment got my brain churning a bit (thanks Dad!). I have some cool posts coming this week (I think they’re cool anyway) so please stay tuned this week, okay?

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  • Rebecca Quinn

    We can buy a fry up in a can here, and roast dinners in a can here..
    It never looks nice, I dont think dinners or breakfast that are supposed to be hot or cold are ever supposed to be already made and sitting in a can.
    Its just not right.
    It’s cheaper to make it yourself, and more enjoyable, and if you can’t cook INSTANT NOODLES for the win!
    Can’t go wrong, I’d be scared I’d die from food poioning with them.. :S

    Thanks for the cool post! I wish everything was so handy in other parts of the world..

  • Anthony

    I’m a sucker for udon! If they had these types of vending machines here, I’d be set. Of course, freshly cooked > canned anyday, but when it’s a good drive away, those would come in handy.

    • Donald Ash

      You and me both, bro! Udon is awesome, right?

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