Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Taipei Theme Restaurants

Airplane, hospital, toilet, Hello Kitty . . . Wonder if there's a 2001 theme restaurant? You sit in a booth watched by a glowing camera eye, a solicitous voice assures you everything is fine and asks if you'd like to play chess or watch BBC 37, you eat pastel-coloured gloop on plastic trays, and the cabaret is an uplifting act by a black monolith.


Blogger Gary Gibson, science fiction writer said...

I've passed by that airplane restaurant a couple of times. Totally mental. I haven't seen the Hello Kitty restaurant, but I have waited in a Hello Kitty-themed departure lounge at the airport here.

I think the idea is that novelty = customers; nobody here in Taipei eats at home, because eating out is so cheap, so some places have to try really hard to distinguish themselves. It's a bit like theme bars back in the UK ('Frankenstein's' for instance), except there are relatively few bars here, so the emphasis is on food. I haven't touched a cooker since January last year (well, okay, twice, but just for the novelty). Everywhere you go, someone is trying to sell you something to eat. I can walk out my front door and ten minutes later I'm surrounded by hundreds of different establishments ranging from wheeled carts parked at the side of the road to chain eateries.

As for toilet-themed restaurants, I've seen a branch of Modern Toilet from a distance from a distance and vowed never, ever to enter it. But if you want seriously out-there - and disturbing - there was a Nazi Death-camp themed restaurant here several years ago ( closed down long before I arrived). Mind you, for the sake of balance, there was a restaurant/bar in Glasgow a while back called 'Mao's'. Open up a bar in Taipei with a name like that and you'd start a riot.

March 12, 2009 7:57 am  
Blogger Paul McAuley said...

Thanks for the great context, Gary. Sounds like pure social Darwinism in action. As for the Nazi themed restaurant, that is seriously disturbing. Woah.

March 12, 2009 10:23 am  

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