Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ordering Pork Ramen and Gyoza in a Restaurant in Tokyo via a Vending Machine

Japan is a vending machine land. Everywhere you go you see vending machines on the streets and on every corner. The same thing goes with Japanese fast food restaurants. Their fast food here is mostly ramen = noodles, rice toppings and a few more dishes that are easy to cook such as gyozas = dumplings.

I love ramen! Noodles are a big part of my life actually.

At least the choices are visual enough. Food by the way in Japan is cheaper than we have initially thought. Much, much cheaper than in the Netherlands, so we are happy campers.

Because I was sick I didn’t really crave for food in the mornings. I also preferred to eat something warm and liquid such as a noodle soup. So when we arrived in Asakusa we right away searched for a ramen restaurant.

We found this low-key fast food restaurant on one of the main streets in Asakusa. There were large ad posters of the noodle soup outside, which attracted me right away. We went in and noticed a few people queuing up in front of a large vending machine by the door. Upon a closer look we realised that it is actually a food ordering machine. Oh, cool! So we order food this way at this restaurant.

Dutchman and I were a bit tickled with this style of no human contact when ordering food so we queued up waiting for our turn. The food ticket will be used as proof of receipt which will be collected later when the food is delivered to your table.

We decided to share our lunch. We ordered a big bowl of pork noodles, a plate of gyozas and some rice.

I can see many advantages of having such food ordering vending machine. The downside is always bringing cash with you. The Netherlands being an almost cashless soceity has pampered me with paying through debit card (sometimes credit card). I almost never carry cash with me.

I cannot read Kanji but I chose the pork ramen with the egg, see the top poster.

This was quite a big bowl so I shared this with Dutchman.

Dutchman ordered some gyozas (dumplings) for himself and a cup of rice. The kitchen made a mistake of sending over 3 pieces instead of 6 which they later corrected.

The Netherlands also has a bit similar food vending machine with the ‘automat’ or ‘automatiek’—the fast food on the wall by Febo and Smullers which you can find in the main cities in the Netherlands and at all train stations in the country.

A much newer version is from a few McDonalds branches in the Netherlands where instead of lining up to order your food from a cashier/server, you go to a self-service kiosk and order your food and wait until your number is called.

Travel Period: November 2014
Destination: Asakusa, Taito (Tokyo), Japan

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