Vending machines: good for between-meeting food cravings and late night snack attacks, but not normally very exciting. Between the candy, chips and soda most seem to have pretty much the same supplies in stock. Right? Wrong. In fact, there are a number of totally bizarre vending machines around the world that push the limits on what you can buy with a few crumpled up dollars. From hot burritos to live crabs, these 10 vending machines will have you wishing you could trade in the one in the office.
The burrito was first popularized in California, so it’s fitting that its newest incarnation was also created in The Golden State. After inserting your cash (starting at just $3!) into The Burrito Box, you only have to wait 60 seconds before a steaming wrap, loaded up with guacamole and sour cream, is expelled into your waiting hands. Best of all, there are five different flavors to choose from.
We’ve all had those emergency, late night sugar cravings. We applaud Sprinkles – a popular cupcake bakery founded in California – for enabling our midnight snacking with its specialty vending machine. You’re only $3.50 away from a tasty treat, whether it’s 3 p.m. or 3 a.m.
It may only be accessible to Virginia Tech students currently, but we’re hoping the DreamVendor becomes an international phenomenon. Using 3-D printing technology, the vending machine lets users create, well…almost anything they could possibly want.
France is the land of bread, but unfortunately for those with pain cravings, boulangeries are only open so late in the evenings. Enter the fresh baguette vending machine – with one of these babies, you can get a warm loaf whenever you please.
Seriously, is there anything better than stumbling upon a vending machine packed with beer? Japan in particular has all sorts of sudsy vending machines on offer, from machines that stock bottles, to those that’ll pour you the perfect pint. The latter will tilt your glass at just the right angle to ensure an ideal foam-to-liquid ratio.
Thought vending machines were only for cheap snacks on the go? Wrong. The installation of a luxury goods vending machine in Los Angeles proves otherwise. Included in the machine’s stock is everything from truffles to escargot, though jars of caviar are the main focus. For an extra $4, you’ll receive a special mother of pearl spoon to dine with.
The later at night it is, the more appealing Let’s Pizza becomes. It’s a vending machine that uses fresh ingredients, kneads its own dough, and cooks up a pizza for you in only two and a half minutes. Originally born in Italy, this one’s now available in several different countries.
7-Eleven lets people order a cup of mashed potatoes with plenty of gravy for mere pocket change. From the U.S. to Singapore, the snack appears to be wildly (and bafflingly) popular.
Perhaps the most bizarre inclusions on this list are vending machines that specialize in live crabs. Aimed at commuters, the machines, which stock crabs in small, water-filled pods, can be found in several cities across China. The machines keep the crabs at chilled temperatures, a move that helps ensure they’re dormant until purchased.
It’s fitting that in Montreal, land of poutine, the locals would be prone to a good french fry craving. This vending machine, located in the city’s Central Station, serves up piping hot frites in just two minutes.
(Main image: David Pursehouse)
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas.