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Vending machine offers frozen ramen, dumplings from well-known restaurants

  • JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI 
                                A vending machine dispenses restaurant-quality ramen and gyoza at a Tokyo subway station.

    JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI

    A vending machine dispenses restaurant-quality ramen and gyoza at a Tokyo subway station.

TOKYO >> Japan’s Tokyo Metro Co. installed a vending machine in a subway station in December that sells frozen ramen and gyoza from famous restaurants. Restaurant business in the commercial areas within train stations, called eki­naka, has been sluggish due to the pandemic, and the vending machine is intended to draw new demand.

The machine at Iidabashi Station offers ramen from three restaurants and gyoza from a fourth. Ramen runs from about $8.65 to $9.50, and dumplings cost just under $7.

Ippudo’s ramen pack, for example, contains noodles, broth and chashu pork. A set of cold storage bags and ice packs can be purchased for about $1.75.

While traditional frozen vending machines were designed to dispense products of a fixed shape, such as ice cream, newer designs can manage a variety of packaging, and the machines are being installed in more locations across Japan.

“There is a lot of demand for purchases that are not face-to-face, and we want to increase sales,” said a Tokyo Metro official.

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