Sunday, March 29, 2015
Taipei, or Taiwan in general, turns out to be a rather fertile ground for theme restaurants. Something in the island water, perhaps? Yeah, there are theme restaurants in Japan and Korea, too. But Taiwan brings this game to a whole new level. I mean, what else can you expect from a country that has not one, but a whole chain of toilet themed eateries? And yeah, we went there too. Duh, of course! That was the sole reason why I wanted to visit Taiwan in the first place.
And since I was already there, I simply couldn't miss a chance to eat at this other mystical, mythical place... A Hello Kitty themed restaurant.
Yes, I'm a 43 year old woman and I'm not ashamed to admit that I love Hello Kitty. (I also love My Melody, Rilakkuma, Totoro and Kumamon. I do draw the line, however, at Jewel Pet and Yokai Watch).
The tourist office folks advised us that if we wanted to eat at Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining, we should definitely make a reservation.
The phone was busy. And busy. And then busy some more.
When I finally did get through, the woman who picked up spoke enough English (or rather, Engrish) to understand that I wanted a reservation for 5PM. She then proceeded to ask me something apparently very important, because she kept repeating it over and over, with increasing levels of frustration. Yet as she was doing it in Chinese, her efforts were all but lost on me.
Later, at the restaurant, I realized that she most likely wanted to know if we preferred downstairs or upstairs seating.
Getting to the restaurant was easy.
We took the subway to Zhongxiao Fuxing station and then walked through a long underground shopping passage looking for exit number 13. If a person with my sense of direction, or rather, lack thereof, could find the restaurant, it should be pretty easy and straightforward for normal folks, too.
The place was busy. The downstairs section filled up the minute we arrived. By 6PM, there was a line outside.
I have read many reviews claiming that the waitresses are rude and impatient with the guests. That has NOT been my experience. If anything, they were very accommodating and pretty indifferent to my attempts to photograph every square inch of the restaurant.
The place has a minimum order per person policy, but I don't remember what it was. And since the prices are rather high to begin with, it's easy to go above and beyond this requirement. Because, let me tell you, everything on that menu is bloody cute. And you'd want it all.
The food itself is hmmm... how to put it nicely... edible. The fact that you don't go there for the food should be obvious to any sentient being (but apparently not to some online reviewers who expected, I don't know what? Michelin stars, or something?).
We ordered burgers and dessert, and the portions were big enough that I wasn't able to finish everything in one sitting. And if you know how much I can eat, you can easily imagine that this was a load of food. Cute looking food.
The decor is what one would expect from a Hello Kitty themed place. Paradise! Pink heaven of cuteness and sugary overload. Even in the toilet.
You can't help it but feel like a Sanrio character yourself. You can't help it but smile and be cheerful and kind to your fellow human beings, because you're in Hello Kitty land. Unless you're a man. Then you sit there with a pained expression on your face and count the minutes until you can leave.
This is what we ordered:
We also had salad, soup and desert, but for some reason I didn't take photos of most of it. That alone should tell you how excited I was. LOL!
Kitty, kitty everywhere!
The guests were not just adolescent females, as you might expect, but a varied crowd you might see at any other restaurant - young and old, male and female, families and couples, with kids and without.
There was even an all male group waiting to be seated as we were leaving.
I love this place. But then again, I'm a grown woman who not so long ago owned a Hello Kitty comforter, a Hello Kitty toaster, who still owns Hello Kitty cups and t-shirts and socks and pens and watches (yes, plural - watches) and over 50 Hello Kitty cell phone straps.
And like a total perv, I was also taking photos in the toilet.
Because if I had my way, every toilet would look like a Kitty palace.
So we could always remember to "be a lady".
Told you I was acting like a total pervert.
I had enough self restraint not to go and investigate the boys' room.
If I go to Taiwan again, will I make a repeat visit to Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining? You betcha!
Despite the high prices and pretty looking but mediocre food, this place made me forget the troubles of daily life and be a kid again. Even if only for an hour.
And if you have no time to sit down and have a meal, no worries, there's always takeout.
And on the way back to the place where we were staying, we passed a music store.
It was the day of the Kitty...
Address: No. 90, Section 1, Da'an Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Phone:+886 2 2711 1132
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The day we were meeting for lunch at Little Penang Cafe, I was actually running around like a headless chicken. In the morning I was at Menara KL Tower admiring the views, and then I got a brilliant idea of walking down to Merdeka Square and taking some sort of train from there to Mid-Valley.
Yeah, stupid. I know. NOW I know. But I didn't know it back then.
And so upon realizing just how stupid my plan was, I figured the best way to remedy the situation would be to just take a taxi to the mall.
Now, getting a taxi in KL seems to be either very deceptively easy or fiendishly hard. Take your pick.
In front of some bank I found a taxi stand with a line of taxis awaiting customers.
I approached the first car and got in. The driver asked me where I wanted to go. I told him to Mid Valley Mall. He said "meter broken. 56 ringgit." I laughed in his face and got out.
I approached the second taxi. This driver saw that something had just happened with Contestant Number 1 and was very cautious. He rolled down the window and asked me where I wanted to go. "Mid-Valley Mall," I told him. He looked at me very carefully and started with his "meter is broken" story and upon seeing my face, he realized he made a mistake. He pleaded with "only 30 ringgit!" I laughed in his face and walked over to Contestant Number 3.
He saw that something was up, Contestants Number 1 and 2 were furious and getting out of their cars, so as soon as I got in his taxi, he immediately said "Meter is working fine miss, where do you want to go?"
And so he got me to Mid Valley in record time and for 15 ringgit. Yeah, probably still too much, but I told him he needed to be there by 1PM and damn, he did it. He backed out (in reverse and partly on a sidewalk) from a massive lunch-time jam (which if we had stayed there, would have gotten us to Mid Valley sometime around Easter) and took a very creative route instead. And he got me there on time. Very impressive all around.
When I arrived, it turned out that the waiting time at Little Penang Cafe was approximately 5 years (give or take a month) and that's how we ended up at Madam Kwan's upstairs.
Everything was oh-so-good. I'm drooling even now when I think about that lunch.
And feel free to drool too. Just be sure to protect your keyboard.
Shaved ice with some red flavor thrown in, along with a magnificent collection of stuff: raisins, nuts, corn, sweet beans and generally - the sort of stuff you have absolutely no clue what to do with on a normal day. But it was yummy - NOM NOM NOM!!!
Friday, December 10, 2010
You can see previous editions here. 前回の”Show Me Japan” エントリーはここです。
FAQ page in English and Japanese is here. 英語と日本語のFAQはここにありますので、初めて参加される方は目を通して頂けると幸いです。
Below is a random selection of photos from last week’s participants. 前回の参加者中からランダムに選んだ写真を以下に紹介します。
The widget to enter your links is at the end of this post – below the photos. ”Show Me Japan”にエントリーする際のリンクを貼るウィジェットはこの記事の一番下にあります。
If you participate in Show Me Japan, please be so kind and include a link back to this blog in your post. エントリーしたポスト中で “Show Me Japan”のリンクを貼り忘れてないか確かめて頂けると幸いです。バッジに “Show Me Japan”のリンクを加えて頂ければ至極幸いここ極まれりです。
|1. Yoshi, Japan|
6. David LaSpina / JapanDave
9. Nobu (Tokyo snap)
|11. Nobu (Funabashi Daily)|
13. Bad Communication
15. Tochigi Daily Photo
20. Floating Camera
22. Jay Dee in Japan
23. Exotic Japan
25. Laura (tokyololas)
Saturday, August 14, 2010
This one will go nicely with my “onsen” shotgun toting Kitty I found last year in Nikko.
Again, the NRA would be proud. And just consider the possibilities! They are endless, really.
- “Freedom Fighter” Kitty.
- “Black Hawk Down” Kitty.
- “Going Postal” Kitty.
- “I hate school” Kitty.
- "I don't like Mondays" Kitty.and so on...
If this can be labeled as a “Ryoma Sakamato, Bakumatsu Period, Road to Meiji Revolution” Kitty, then the sky’s the limit.
PS. Found it at a highway rest stop in Otsu.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Remember when Mr. Trouble wrote about Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and how after his death he became a Shinto god of sorts? No? Don't worry. I don't remember that kind of stuff either. But the post is here and you can take a look at it, if you want.
Anyway, after his death, this Tokugawa guy got enshrined under the name Tosho Daigongen (東照大権現) and his shrines are known as Toshogu (東照宮). The most famous of them is in Nikko, of course.
He is also famous as the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1868) a.k.a. the Edo period. Edo is the ancient name of Tokyo, btw.
It was during the Tokugawa shogunate when Japan introduced the Seclusion Laws, a.k.a. Sakoku (鎖国) in 1633. What that meant was that no foreigner could enter Japan and no Japanese leave. Penalty for violating this law was death.
The countries that were allowed to trade with Japan when this law was in effect (until 1853 or so) were: Korea, China and the Netherlands.
Anyway, enough of this boring historical stuff.
What I want to show you today is the new addition to my Hello Kitty cellphone strap collection - Ieyasu Tokugawa Kitty!
So cute, isn't it? I saw it in a gift shop at Kegon Falls and, of course, I had to buy it.
Monday, April 13, 2009
This is just so wrong on so many levels that I’m not even sure whether I should laugh or cry.
My husband quickly nicknamed it the Columbine Kitty, but I’d stick to the much gentler NRA Hello Kitty. What can I say? Kitty got herself a rifle. Because that’s one thing that up until now has been missing from her seemingly bottomless accessory drawer.
No, I didn’t get this at an NRA convention, I don’t frequent those. I found it at a gift shop in Nikko. The name of this particular Hello Kitty cellphone strap style is “Onsen (Hot Spring) Mascot”. And up until now I had no clue whatsoever you were supposed to take your rifle with you when visiting onsen. Gee, you learn something new every day. Thanks Kitty!
This Kitty also has Petit Kitty with her, sadly, this little fella, even though he looks like he’s been hunted, doesn’t have any bullet holes in him. Shucks, he’s not even bleeding. But that’s nothing that an application of a red market couldn’t fix. What was Hello Kitty doing with Petit Kitty at that onsen with that rifle? I don’t wanna know.
The National Riffle Association should buy these in bulk and distribute them to all of their card-carrying members. And if they wanted to corner a new rifle totting market – also to school-age girls everywhere.