One of my favorite things to do while waiting for a train is to check out all the vending machines on the platform. (OK, it might also be the ONLY thing to do while waiting for a train?)
While waiting for our subway train at Seobinggo Station one morning, I felt the need for a little caffeine. Korean vending machines, like Japanese ones, often feature the option for hot drinks, and sure enough, one of the vending machines at Seobinggo proclaimed: “Hot Coffee and Sweet Tea.”
Sounded good to me! But the only tea they had was “Job’s Tears Tea,” which Don quipped would most certainly be bitter tasting. But since the sign said “Sweet tea,” I went ahead and ordered it confidently.
I was wrong.
It was a barley tea, which is not my favorite (and in fact does taste bitter to me), but it was also very heavily sweetened (so the machine was right after all). It basically tasted like liquid Honey Smacks (which, by the way, took Don and me forever to remember the name of. It turns out “the frog cereal” was Sugar Smacks when Don was a kid but the name was changed to Honey Smacks by the time I was a kid. But it was still two days before either of us remembered either name.)
Here are a few other frequent vending machine options:
Note that this is “chocolate taste,” not actual chocolate?
I have no idea what a drink advertised with a bowl of rice would be, but apparently it is pretty beloved here.
And then there are the practical vending machines: some have an “emergency section,” in from which you can purchase wipes, band-aids/plasters, etc.
And this one probably comes in particularly handy for some folks:
Tissues, feminine products and mouthwash…
…condoms (either “lovely,” on the left, or “ultra thin type,” on the right,) and the final row below it has mints, because if you need an emergency vending machine condom, you’d be wise to spring for the mints as well!