Visiting a Themed Cafe in Asia is a thing. I’ve been able to visit several throughout Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong but they’re littered throughout all of Asia, with many of the concepts originating in Tokyo.
Here’s a look at the four themed cafes that I’ve visited:
Pink. If I had to sum the Hello Kitty Cafe up in one word, it would undoubtedly be pink. This themed cafe is located in the Myeong-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea. Beyond the cafe, this neighborhood is everything you’d picture Korea to be: bright lights, Korean pop music playing everywhere, lots of weird stores, and the best of Korean beauty products.
We hadn’t planned on visiting the Hello Kitty Cafe, but when it started heavily downpouring as we were walking by in search of somewhere to have a late afternoon coffee, it seemed like kismet.
The menu pretty much consists of coffee, tea and sweet treats in the shape of [you guessed it] Hello Kitty.
We all decided to split the Hello Kitty waffle a la mode that came with a latte and a hot chocolate. It was actually really delicious and totally hit the spot.
I’m not going to deny for one minute that the Hello Kitty Cafe isn’t super magical, even for a grown ass woman like myself, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone, regardless of age or gender.
In keeping with the Sanrio theme, the Little Twin Stars are also under the same umbrella and you can visit their dedicated cafe located in the Lan Kwai Fung area of Hong Kong. It features dim sum that represents the color spectrum of the Twin Stars characters, but I specifically went there to get Gudetama egg custard buns that I’d seen on a news segment.
I developed a mild obsession with Gudetama during my time in Asia, so as soon as I saw that these smiling egg custard buns were a thing, I made it my business to get there. The Gudetama buns are a dessert item and make for some great photo opportunities.
I have to admit that I really wanted to visit a Dog Cafe, but Cat Cafes seem easier to come by. Since I’m not really a “cat” person, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the experience that much, but boy was I wrong about that.
We went to Cats Living in the Hongdae neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea, and it was a really nice space that I would’ve enjoyed visiting even without the cats. The entry fee is equavalent to about USD$8 and includes your choice of drink (which were actually really good). The drinks all came with lids, which answered one of my questions about how this all worked.
The cats were really well groomed and you could tell they were well looked after. They were really friendly as well. In my past experience, I’d never encountered a really friendly cat before, so to have a whole cafe full of them was pretty cool.
This restaurant was the shit. Literally. Everything is adorned according to the toilet theme – the food is served in small plastic toilets and the drinks in urinals (that you can purchase!), the food is modeled to look like certain bowel movements, and you’ll dine at either a glass-covered sink or bathtub.
The food seems designed to resemble something you would find in a toilet, anyhow. I got the Chicken Curry and it arrived looking like something that comes AFTER eating curry, but nonetheless it was perfectly delicious. Other menu items include spaghetti with a variety of cream sauces, poo-shaped bread and a range of flavored shaved ice.
The prices are a bit high, especially for inexpensive Taipei, but as with all of the themed cafes, you’re mainly paying for the experience.
I’ve heard of many additional themed cafes throughout Asia that include a Racoon Cafe, Owl Cafe, Sheep Cafe and a cafe set in a jail cell. Hopefully I’ll get to visit more of them when I return to Asia in a few months. I’ve also heard about some Cat Cafes starting to spring up around New York! Although I’ve heard it’s a lot more expensive, I’m sure I’ll be missing Asia so much in the next month or two that I will find myself there regardless.
Have you ever visited a themed cafe? Where was it and how did you like it? Let me know in the comments below!