You don’t have to go all the way to Haneda to find a vending machine that sells airplane meals

But we can see why you’d want to!

After discovering that you can buy in-flight meals from around the world from a vending machine in Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun decided he had to try it. He ended up liking them so much that he’s been going all the way to Haneda–which can take as long as 50 minutes from our office, depending on which train you catch–every once in a while to buy some.

“Isn’t it awesome that Haneda has a vending machine selling airplane food?” he asked our other reporter, Mr. Sato. But Mr. Sato, knower of all things, said, “What are you going all the way there for when you can just go to Asagaya?!”

As it happens, there’s a cluster of vending machines in the neighborhood of Asagaya in Tokyo, just an 8-minute train ride from the office, where the very same in-flight meal vending machine awaits. “Isn’t it awesome you don’t have to go all the way to Haneda?!” Mr Sato quipped, and to prove his point, he went off to Asagaya to give it a try for himself.

The cluster of vending machines is called Gorio Mall and is part of a shopping center that lies under an overpass called alːku Asagaya. You’ll find them in the ninth and tenth sections. Gorio Mall only just opened on October 11 this year, so when P.K. visited the vending machine in Haneda in June, it hadn’t yet been open yet, so his naivety, in this case, is excusable.

The vending machine “mall” contains 10 different vending machines selling frozen food items: beef tongue, okonomiyaki, gyoza, eel, ramen, sweets, ice cream, pizza, pasta, Asian food, and, of course, in-flight meals. In short, you can find pretty much anything you might ever want to eat there.

The in-flight meal vending machine was next to the “Asian Cuisine” vending machine. It was called “In-flight Meals of the World”, with the tagline, “Food you can only eat on international flights!”

The dishes offered were Loco Moco, Coq au vin, Prawn Yuzu Kosho Cream Sauce, Huli-Huli Chicken, and Paella. Unfortunately, P.K.’s favorite Coq au vin was sold out, probably because he can’t stop endlessly singing its praises to everyone he meets.

Mr. Sato decided to try the Loco Moco and the Huli-Huli Chicken, which P.K. hadn’t tried yet. Each one cost 1,000 yen (US$7.53).

When he took them back to the office and removed them from the cooler bags, this is what they looked like.

To heat them up, you use the defrosting mode on your microwave for five minutes and then cook mode for four minutes (if your microwave is 500 Watts). The dishes go into the microwave with the bag on. Mr. Sato heated up the Loco Moco first.

He had to admit, it didn’t look especially good, but it did have the “airplane food” vibe down to a T. The bright colors of the purple cabbage and avocado were particularly unappetizing.

To his surprise, however, the hamburg steak was actually really good! It had a nice, soft texture, and the sauce was rich. As far as frozen foods go, this was pretty excellent.

The Huli-Huli Chicken plate, which is a traditional Hawaiian dish, at least had a bit more balance to its colors.

The pineapple pieces on top of the chicken looked a little sad, but that was okay.

Surprisingly, the chicken in this dish was also pretty tasty. It was tender and had a nice balance of sweet and sour flavors.

As far as main dishes go, they were both quite good for being called airplane food! The only problem is that each one costs 1,000 yen, which is a little high for a bento. Though they get points for uniqueness, that’s not a price that makes them worth buying on the regular. But since they’re both pretty delicious and very novel, we could see why you’d want to…and why it’d be worth going all the way to Haneda to try them.

At least now we don’t have to!

In any case, the Coq au vin is really popular, so if you manage to pop over to Asagaya, definitely give that one a chance if it’s in stock! While you’re there, why not also try the gyoza you can buy from an unmanned store?

Location information
Gorio Mall / ゴリオモール
Tokyo-to Suginami-ku Asagaya 2-4-1 alːku Asagaya Section 9-10
東京都杉並区阿佐谷南2丁目40-1 アルーク阿佐ヶ谷 区画9・10
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