Sweet Bean Soup

Brand: Imuraya

Cost: 110 yen

Found At: Vending Machine

When I was an exchange student, I budgeted 150 yen every day for the vending machine on the way to school. It was a needless expense, but I’m only human and it became one of the highlights of my day. If I was feeling fancy, I got a green tea, if I was feeling tired, I got a milk tea, if I was feeling constipated, I got a boss coffee, and if I was feeling hungry (or particularly chilly), I got a can of sweet bean soup. And while this little can of soup holds a lot of nostalgia for me, I can’t say that it is amazingly good – which is probably why you don’t see it in too many vending machines. It’s the texture of refried beans that have been mixed with water until they are about the consistency of consommé. Its thin enough that you can drink it on the go, but not so thin that you would mistake it for a tea. Taste-wise it’s extremely sweet – like a beany sort of sugar water – definitely not something that will go down as one of the great flavor experiences of Japan. Don’t get me wrong, I love the flavor of sweet, red, tsubu beans – but if they are not paired with something else, there is nothing to cut the sickening sweetness, and it can be quite an overpowering experience. And this drink is all sweet bean all the time.

But, on cold winter days, when you’re far from home and chilled all the way through, this is the kind of drink that will help you get up and go. It’s sweet, it’s served hot, and unlike a canned coffee, you can get all the way home before you need to stop by a bathroom.


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