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food

Grilled & chilled sweet potatoes from vending machines a hit in Miyazaki

5 Comments
By SoraNews24

The sweet potato is a staple of Japanese cuisine, and from autumn through winter a grilled sweet potato is a widely loved warm snack. A lot of shops sell them, but the most charming way to get one is by the trucks driven by old men who sing an enchanting little song about how delicious they are.

That’s not always the case, however. Sometimes these piping hot potatoes comes from guys in cat costumes or a decked out Mad Max looking town car, and for those in the southwestern area of Miyazaki Prefecture, people can now acquire one from a vending machine.

These aren’t ordinary grilled sweet potatoes though. They’re chilled, making them more suited for the hot summer months rather than chilly winter nights where hot sweet potatoes are enjoyed. They say the chilling process brings out more of the sweetness too.

Of course, potatoes are not naturally ideal for vending machine use as they are irregularly shaped and have different centers of gravity. To address this inherent flaw, each potato is packed into a can to ensure a smooth drop. The cans also have the added benefit of keeping the yellow boxes from turning into “chilled weevil vending machines” by keeping out pests.

The convenience of a grilled, chilled, and canned potato can be yours for 300 yen, and people are flocking to get one from one of the 11 machines located around Hyuga and Nobeoka cities in Miyazaki Prefecture.

This is great news for Medaka Family Group, a support center for disabled people in Miyazaki which manages and stocks the machines. From growing the sweet potatoes to packaging, the entire production of these automatic tubers is handled by people who might otherwise have trouble finding work.

And thanks to the strong sales, those responsible for cultivation have seen their incomes grow by an average of 4,000 yen a month since the machines began in May. This demand is showing no signs of slow either as in one month alone the machines move a total of 1,500 sweet potatoes.

You wouldn’t think that biting into a sweet potato was such a great way to beat the summer heat, but the figures don’t lie. And not only do they help those less fortunate, but these machines once again prove that pretty much anything, from handmade gyoza to Tenga is machine-vendable.

Source: TV Asahi News

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- [Japan now has drinkable roasted sweet potato, and it’s practically a dessert in a bottle!](Japan now has drinkable roasted sweet potato, and it’s practically a dessert in a bottle!)

-- Japanese vending machines set to become cooler than ever by selling sub-zero soft drinks

-- New coffee-flavored potato chips “taste like chaos”

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

5 Comments
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Damn, Kyushu always seems to have great food everywhere. Wish this could be found elsewhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the most charming way to get one is by the trucks driven by old men who sing an enchanting little song about how delicious they are.

I've read about this, but never actually seen one, probably because I'm just visiting for a few weeks at a time. Are these guys (and the song) still a feature in Japanese towns and cities?

As far as chilled sweet potato goes, I'd try it. One thing I've learned about eating in foreign places is never turn your nose up at anything until you've tried it. Unless it's insects.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Are these guys (and the song) still a feature in Japanese towns and cities?

In the winter, yes. Same and Damien trucks.

Unless it's insects.

Ha ha! My adopted hometown of Kumamoto has an edible insect vending machine.

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Ha ha! My adopted hometown of Kumamoto has an edible insect vending machine.

I checked it out - it's true, by all that's holy... reported in JT in January. I must have averted my gaze at the time. I'm sure you often grab a pack of tasty crickets. :)

https://japantoday.com/category/features/food/vending-machine-selling-edible-bugs-is-an-instant-hit-in-kumamoto

Glad to hear the sweet potato guys are still in business. I saw one in Nara, but he was just sitting there waiting for people to come to him.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The amount of packaging material used for just one sweet potato is a horrible attack on the environment. I do not agree with this vending system at all.

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