Ever walked the streets of Italy and thought, “I desperately need a new pair of jeans with my pizza”? What about a sudden urge to have caviar after breaking a sweat shopping in a good old-fashioned American mall? If you thought vending machines only dispensed cookies, chips and chocolates, think again. Check out some of our favourite, albeit a little wacky, vending machines lining the streets of your choice city.
Where: Gold Coast, Australia; Las Vegas, USA and Selfridges in London
Why it is cool: The Star Gold Coast’s Garden Kitchen & Bar is the first venue in Australia with a champagne vending machine by Moet & Chandon but this bubbly vending machine has been seen all around the world, from Las Vegas to gourmet food courts in London. The best thing about the Moet & Chandon vending machine is you do not need a glass – drink the bubbly through a built-in straw. And it’s yours for just A$29 (US$23) a pop. Cheers!
Underwear and socks
Where: Japan, USA, South Korea
Why it is cool: Vending machines selling underwear are all over Japan and before you turn your nose up at these machines, think about this – imagine travelling around Japan without carrying your dirty laundry – love it! Calvin Klein loved the idea too and started placing CK vending machines in shopping malls around the United States. I Hate Monday colourful socks by South Korean designer Hong Jung Mi sold via vending machine have started to take the country by storm and are the latest trend on Instagram at the moment.
Where: Nanjing, China
Why it is cool: For just 20 RMB (US$4), you get fresh hairy crabs, a crab vinegar dipping sauce, and two ginger tea sachets to wash it all down – a perfect lunch in Nanjing China. The vending machines are stocked daily during the months of August to October when it is crab season and demand is high. Small business owners have invested in crab vending machines to capture the late-night rush for last minute crabs when ‘normal’ crab restaurants close. Apparently, these crab vending machines are popular with local crab restaurant owners who want to capitalise on selling crabs well after restaurants close for the day.
Where: Italy, Germany, USA, UK, Switzerland and Australia
Why it is cool: Pizza, Pizza, Pizza. No delivery man, no tipping, no arguments. In just three minutes, you get a decent pizza straight from the machine. Toppings include cheese, ham, bacon and pepperoni and there is even a window to watch your pizza turn from flour to glorious dinner in a flash. If you love fast food out of a machine, other great fast-food vending machines which extend well past the normal chips and crackers include BurritoBox in Los Angeles and FEBO in Amsterdam for hamburgers in less than two minutes.
Cigars, caviar and a bit of instant luxury
Where: USA, Russia
Why it is cool: Shopping can be exhausting. Gourmets will no longer shop hungry with caviar-vending machines in some of Los Angeles’ prestigious shopping malls now. From as little as US$500 for 30g, you can get the ultimate Imperial River Beluga Caviar at the drop of a hat. If you don’t like fish eggs, there are Italian truffles and even mother-of-pearl plates and spoons to wrap up your gourmet picnic on a whim.
Bike parts and bikes
Where: Brooklyn, USA and Amsterdam
Why it is cool: Never have a flat tire again. Hipsters of Brooklyn take bike-riding seriously and have rallied behind a bike-parts vending machine. Of course, bike-friendly Amsterdam has a life-size bike vending machine to help tourists blend in and grab a bike when in the city.
Bananas, eggs, rice, cabbage and farm-fresh lettuce
Where: Japan and Switzerland
Why it is cool: Japan is famous for their vending machines so it is no surprise you can get bananas, eggs and even cabbage in street-corner vending machines. Everything is delivered daily and they even work with local farms to bring you the freshest produce of the day. In Switzerland, the same vending machines are found in neighbouring towns outside of big cities, Lausanne and Geneva, where you can pick your own greens for your picnic around Lake Geneva. There are also vending machines selling Swiss cheese, milk and even steak tartare.
This article was first published at Silverkris.