The World's Weirdest Food Vending Machines Get Pretty Weird, Guys

In theory, the vending machine is the perfect vehicle for serving food. It delivers instant gratification, involves zero interaction with other humans, and inserting one thing into a larger thing (in this case, money) is always fun.

Recently, Xavier University decided to install a pizza vending machine in its cafeteria, and it stirred up a veritable shit-storm of excitement. But there is a brave, new, automated world of weird food vending machines that go well beyond pizza. If you aren't getting your live crustaceans from a big metal box, is it even worth eating live crustaceans at all?

Live crabs

Location: China
Before you flip out about the ethics of keeping a living organism in a vending machine, these units are designed to keep the crabs preserved in a "dormant state" at 5 to 10 degrees celsius, with packaging meant to simulate "the feeling of a cave."

Still, it probably sucks to be one of these crabs living their golden years out in a fucking vending machine. 


Location: Spain
There's a common Spanish saying that goes "En Espana, los cheeseburgers majores son vendes en machinas vende, excelente!" No, no there isn't. I just made that up. Sorry, guys. 

More cheeseburgers 

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
In Amsterdam, there's a glut of restaurants filled exclusively with vending machines. I'm no expert, but I believe it's because people who are stoned -- or those who have just spent an hour with a streetwalker -- would prefer to avoid human-to-human contact for the immediate future.

$500 caviar

Location: Beverly Hills, California
You know you've made it when you're dropping half a grand on a can of caviar from a vending machine. Or maybe that's how you know you haven't made it yet? Either way, your breath will smell -- which is the great equalizer between the classes.


Location: Italy
Isn't it every food-lover's dream to travel to Italy, and eat pizza that was just made from scratch inside a 7ft-wide aluminum box? 

Fresh baguettes

Location: France, obviously
If they had these in America, I'd weigh 300lbs but I'd be happy all the time. 

Live lobsters claw game

Location: All over America
This combines the two greatest thrills of life: the chase (via claw machine) and lobster schadenfreude. 

Beer and other German stuff

Location: Germany 
The Germans don't know how good they have it. They get to wear comfy lederhosen every day (I mean, I think?) and they get beer in a vending machine. 

Sausage and mystery liquid

Location: Germany, again 
Stop it Germany. Seriously. 

Pecan pie

Location: Cedar Creek, Texas
Just like Grandma used to make 'em! If your Grandma was a faceless automated machine made of metal and glass.

French fries

Location: Across America
There's no jokes about this one, it's just awesome. 

Kosher goods

Location: Fenway Park (Boston)
Legend has it, there's a rabbi in this vending machine personally making sure everything runs smoothly. Though I might be confusing "rabbi" with "automated circuit board" again. It happens more than you think and has led to more than one very uncomfortable bris. 

Canned bread

Location: Japan
Japan: where the porn prominently features tentacles and the bread comes in cans. I don't know about you, but my plane ticket is booked. 

Mashed potatoes

Location: Throughout Asia
Why is the most American thing in the world only available oversees? That would be like every single bald eagle deciding to move to the Philippines, and taking Hulk Hogan with them.

So also, if anyone would like to send an animation of hundreds of bald eagles carrying Hulk Hogan to the Philippines, my email is We can't pay you. But, it would mean a lot.

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Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Thrillist. He was born in a vending machine and he'll die in a vending machine. Follow him: @wilfulton.