While this is an interesting idea, and one that is very tempting to someone such as myself (A sushi geek who is stuck in the Frozen North. North country=no sushi), the concept presents some interesting problems:
  • Freshness: Anyone who loves sushi has at one time been tempted into buying supermarket sushi, only to find that it has been hanging around in the refrigerator case for quite a while. Old, stale sushi is an unpleasant experience, and is probably the reason why a percentage of those who have tried sushi don't like it.
    Perhaps a sushi vending machine could have a mechanical sushi machine that could make sushi from raw materials supplied to the vending machine once or twice a week and kept on ice until needed. Even cooler: the machine could be put behind glass; when someone ordered sushi he or she could watch the vending machine make it right before their eyes.
    I realize that the best sushi is made by a trained chef, and all this sci-fi sushi probably would not work and wouldn’t be cost efficient. Of course, neither would putting a sushi chef in a small glass booth. Still, it's pretty cool to dream about.
  • Packaging: If the above machine became a reality, I suppose the finished product could be served fresh on a plastic plate with all the fixin's and those disposable bamboo smaller-than-usual sushi chopsticks.
    If the sci-fi sushi idea didn't work, it would be difficult to package sushi so that it is suitable for vending. After it was made the sushi would have to be pumped full of preservatives to keep it somewhat fresh. Perhaps you could have single servings (3-4 pieces of maki) with a small bit of soy (SOY!) and wasabi, and some pickled ginger to clear the palate.

One more note: wouldn't it be wonderful if you could also order a small, warm flask of sake to go with your vending machine sushi?

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