Chef-In-Box is Singapore’s first Vendcafé that serves an assortment of instant meals, beverages, and snacks. Located at a corner of the void deck of Block 320C Anchorvale Drive, the Vendcafé is starting to attract quite a lot of people. In this blog post, I will share with you what I honestly think about Chef In Box.
Truthfully speaking, there is no novelty factor because vending machines that serves food, drinks, and snacks are pretty commonplace. Although Chef In Box’s vending machines may be state of the art, the idea of retailing food and the likes through vending machine is not. I really don’t think there is a big difference between buying instant food from convenience stores like 7-Eleven versus buying instant food from the vending machines because either way, the food has already been processed, prepared, frozen and all it needs is a microwave for it to be heated up.
Quality and Taste of Food
When I visited Chef In Box’s Vendcafé with Jacqueline, we had the Chicken Bolognese Spaghetti and the taste is below hawker standard. Seriously, a plate of spaghetti from the Western Stall at a Hawker Centre or even the Kopitiam tastes way better. Just don’t expect too much from processed frozen food. As for me, I would gladly head down to McDonald’s for a Fillet Ol Fish Meal any time. Just so you know, the food that they have in the vending machine are Halal-certified.
Value for Money
The price range for the main courses is between SGD$3.50 to SGD$5.00 and it is pocket-friendly. Although there is an assortment of main courses available, not everything that is displayed on the food menu is actually available. I would say that the price is quite similar to what one could get at the Hawker Centre or Food Court. What’s a plus point for Chef In Box is that they accept both cash and cashless modes of payment.
In one meal, there are lots of non-biodegradable disposables and plastic packaging involved. I really don’t think this is environmentally-friendly as compared to having a meal at the hawker centre where plates and utensils are washed and re-used. Also, I don’t see any recycling bins nearby and I personally think that having a recycling bin nearby would have addressed the issue about being environmentally-friendly because their products are mostly packed in plastics, metal, and paper.
Will this fad die off? Maybe, maybe not. Vending machine is a convenient way of getting a quick meal fix and they are still largely popular here in Singapore. If Chef In Box can improve on their quality of food, be more environmentally-friendly, and perhaps consider more fresh food (healthier-choice food) versus processed food; then probably Chef In Box will be a hit among Singaporeans.