Last Updated: February 13, 2020
Need to eat lunch but have too much work to do in the office? Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak’s Nasi Lemak vending machines are perfect for you—fast and convenient, just a few steps away from your workplace.
Although there are similar technology-operated food businesses like Hawkee and Chef-In-Box, this Nasi Lemak vending machine is the first of its kind. There are currently three of these vending machines installed in Singapore now—Heartbeat Bedok (Level 5), International Plaza @Tanjong Pagar and Mediacorp (Level 9).
These ingenious vending machines are courtesy of Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak, which was first established at Boon Lay Place and Market Food Centre. They have since expanded and now own three other outlets, as well as their own delivery service. They are also planning to roll out 20 of these machines all across Singapore, so keep your eyes peeled!
After reading about these vending machines, I was excited to try it out for myself. I visited the vending machine at International Plaza, which was conveniently located outside one of the Tanjong Pagar MRT exits and next to a row of Japanese snack and drink vending machines.
On first glance, I realised that quite a few products were already sold out since it was the end of the day. Luckily, the Nasi Lemak Chicken Wing (S$5.50) was still available, which was the one I wanted to order.
The digital vending machine was easy to work, with large images of each product displayed with its corresponding price. A brief description of each dish was shown when clicked, and you can proceed straight to payment after that. Take note that the machine only accepts contactless payment (i.e. no cash payment).
After payment, I waited about a minute for my nasi lemak to be dispensed, which was frozen. There is a heating station attached to the vending machine, which is handy for warming up your meal on-the-spot for quick consumption.
Heating instructions are provided on the side of the package for both the on-site microwave and home use. I followed the instructions to heat it on-site, and dug into the meal.
I appreciated that the food was sectioned, with the rice and egg on one side and the chicken wing on the other. They also provided chilli in a separate packet, which I later added to the rice.
Before I even tried the rice, I could smell the fragrant coconut scent and the flavour was also evident when I tasted it. The egg was normal, except the fact that the yolk was slightly hardened instead of a runny sunny-side-up.
As I was expecting, the chicken wing and the ikan bilis were not very crispy, as a result of it being frozen and then microwaved. The skin was well-seasoned, but the meat was slightly tough. The saving grace was probably the chilli, which was sweet and not too spicy, and it complemented the saltiness of the peanuts and ikan bilis well.
Something else I noted was that the price of the same Nasi Lemak Chicken Wing was S$4.50 on the Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak website, which is already quite pricy, compared to S$5.50 in the vending machine.
Overall, I thought the idea of storing nasi lemak in a vending machine with a heating station was smart and extremely convenient for those working nearby to grab a quick lunch before heading back to the office. However, due to the nature of it being frozen in order to be stored, this resulted in the chicken wing and ikan bilis being less crispy than I’m used to.
If you’re near one of these vending machines and need a quick lunch fix, give this a try! Visit their Facebook page to get updates on their upcoming machine installations and possible closures.
Dates & Times: 24 hours at International Plaza, Heartbeat Bedok (Level 5), and Mediacorp (Level 9)
Price: From S$5.50 onwards