When a city is a melting pot of some of the world’s boldest cultures – China, Japan, Southeast Asia and America – you can bet a few bob that something weird might come out of it. In Taipei, Taiwan’s eclectic and altogether gorgeous capital, it comes in the shape of their now iconic themed restaurants. Some come and go (you can no longer drink your beer through an IV drip at the hospital-themed DS Music Restaurant – boo), others are standing the test of time. Fun, colourful, tacky, bear-shaped… it’s all here.
For anyone who’s ever wanted to eat curry out of a toilet bowl. So you come in, you sit down on a toilet, you eat off a sink and you drink out of colourful urinal-shaped cups (for an extra fee). So far, so gross? Believe it or not, this is actually one of Taipei’s most popular themed haunts. And though they do their level best to make the food look like you’ve just passed it (the chocolate ice cream is a delight), credible sources tell us it’s not all that bad. Appetisers include poop meatballs.
Alice is Coming
Taipei’s very own rabbit hole! Hard to miss from the outside (it’s pink and has makeshift turrets), this casual café is made up of all things Wonderland. Even the waiters are dressed for the occasion. Grab a regular table – complete with antique chairs and macaroon-shaped cushions, – book the table in the giant teacup, or get yourself to the garden for your very own Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Who’s for cucumber sandwiches?
Technically, this café is aimed at children. But adulting is hard, and you deserve a break. The premise is simple: come play with Lego, eat Lego-shaped food with Lego-shaped cutlery and look at all the Lego! That’s really it.
Hello Kitty Kitchen & Dining
One of Japan’s cutest exports is now the star of her very own restaurant in Taipei. After the popular Hello Kitty Sweets closed its doors on Da’an Street last year, people panicked. But thankfully, Hello Kitty Kitchen & Dining opened on Jinshan N Road with a menu featuring Hello Kitty-shaped burgers as well as enough cakes and waffles to satisfy even the sweetest tooth. Expect a lot of pink.
We see your cat café, and we raise you an alpaca. Yes siree, alpaca cafés are on the way and we are EXCITED! This particular one is located just outside the capital in the Sanzhi District, but we’re more than happy to make the journey. The food is fine, but it’s mostly all about the ‘pacas. Not all of them are allowed in, and even the well-behaved ones will nibble at your shirts given half the chance, so don’t come in your Sunday best!
Have we put Taiwan firmly in your list of places to visit? If you’re looking for a little more inspiration, check out our flights to this wonderfully weird place.