By Ling-Mei Wong
If you think the Hello Kitty fandom has yet to reach outside the walls of a Sanrio store, the owners of Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining are out to prove you wrong with their restaurant tribute to the popular Japanese character.
Thou shalt bow before the Cat with No Mouth at this cult shrine in Taipei’s trendy East Side.
Formerly known as Hello Kitty Sweets before it was renovated in 2013, the wildly pink exterior is matched by Sanrio’s “kawaii” cat printed on every imaginable surface: floors, walls, ceilings, napkins, mugs, dishes and even the staff uniforms.
It’s a Hello Kitty fan’s dream come true, and is unsurprisingly patronized by mostly women and their devoted husbands or boyfriends. Even I was charmed by the sheer adorableness of the Hello Kitty décor.
Afternoon tea dominates the menu, with a wide selection of cakes and drinks all marked with Hello Kitty’s signature face.
The appeal of these desserts admittedly lies much more in themed presentation than taste.
Heartier fare includes spaghetti, burgers with buns shaped like Hello Kitty’s head and pizza in dinner sets ranging from NT400 to NT450 (roughly $12 to $15).
For their noodles, the pesto shrimp noodles had large juicy shrimp in an overly creamy sauce.
Salmon noodles were also drowned in the cream sauce.
The most enjoyable entrée was the spicy chicken cream noodles, which packed more kick and flavor.
A typical meal comes with salad, soup, a bread roll imprinted with Hello Kitty’s face, your choice of appetizer (buffalo wings, duck breast slices, baked vegetables and roasted rice), an entrée, custard (again in the shape of Hello Kitty’s face) and a drink. Food is, however, secondary to ambiance in this unbearably “kawaii” restaurant.
The restaurant staff is more than happy to help visitors take pictures and the renovated space is kid-friendly. It is an all-Chinese menu, so make sure you go with friends fluent in Mandarin.
Bottom line: If you’re in Taipei, don’t miss out on this mecca of Hello Kitty worship.
Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining
90 Da An Road, Section 1
Taipei 106, Taiwan
+886 (2) 2711-1132
This post is also available in: Chinese