The amount of Sengkang residents that were flocking to the newly opened Chef-In-Box (Vendcafe) was insane. Imagine, I went down on three separate days after its opening, each time a different period (2pm, 5pm, 10pm) and yet the place still had a snaking line.
It is located at the void deck of 320C Anchorvale Drive, just a stone’s throw away from Kopitiam Square, right behind Shell’s 7-Eleven. It seems that the novelty of a vending machine food dispenser has definitely got them boys to the yard much better than Kelis’ milkshake.
The Vendcafe has two foods machines and it dispenses up to 19 dishes, with Western and Local cuisine choices, which includes healthier options. You could choose to have them heated up, or frozen for takeaway.
Complete your meal with the hot beverage machine or be tempted by the freshly squeezed cup of orange juice ($2).
Cutlery is provided along with a napkin packed into a nifty box, which is also dispensed from the food machine. After an hour-long wait, at 11pm, it was finally my turn to place order.
You could pay via Nets Flashpay, credit card, or by cash in values of $2, $5 and $10. It took up a wee bit of time trying to figure the machine out, but all’s good.
We chose one dish each from the local and western vending machine — Seafood Hor Fun ($3.50), Spaghetti With Chicken Meatballs in Tomato Sauce ($4.50).
Generously filled, each bite is accompanied with fresh ingredients. However, the kway teow could have been fried longer to give it a deeper wok hei fragrance and it could be seasoned with a tiny bit more salt for me.
The Spaghetti With Chicken Meatballs in Tomato Sauce wasn’t as soggy as I had expected it to be, but I would have liked it slightly more al dente. The tangy tomato sauce and bouncy meatballs made up for the overall taste.
If you’re still feeling peckish, or aren’t too hungry to have a full meal, the VendCafe also offers a variety of dried foods, snacks, sandwiches, canned fruits, and bottled drinks to satiate all sorts of hunger pangs.
While this may be the company’s first “cafe” in the heartland, its vending machines can be found in schools, malls and in buildings island-wide.
The experience was subpar, as I could have spent my time better elsewhere instead of queuing an hour for a meal from a vending machine. It could be a good midnight supper spot for residents living nearby, and a place to get fuss-free quick meals when the hype has simmered over.
Calling out to all fellow Sengkangians, what’s your take on this new vending machine cafe that has popped up in our neighbourhood?
Expected Damage: $3 – $5 per pax