As if Asians didn’t have enough pink in their lives, from all those crazy Hello-Kitty-themed venues, now there’s an official Barbie Cafe in Taipei, Taiwan. And yes, it has dolls, themed foods and more pink than most men can bare.
January 30th witnessed the inauguration of the world’s first official Barbie Cafe, in one of the busiest shopping districts in Taipei. The iconic doll’s maker, Mattel, licensed Taiwanese restaurant chain Sinlaku to open the themed cafe in hopes that it will promote Barbie as a fashion brand. Iggy Yip, senior manager of Mattel’s Greater China division, commented: “We picked Taiwan because theme restaurants are very popular and successful here. We are very confident that the Barbie Cafe can promote our brand image.” Indeed, the island is home to a number of unique restaurants and cafes, including one modeled after an A380 airplane, a cardboard restaurant, and even a popular toilet restaurant. But there is a special relationship between Taiwan and Barbie, as this was where the popular doll was originally manufactured, before production lines were moved to mainland China and other parts, to lower costs. In 2009, another Barbie restaurant was opened in Shanghai, China, but it closed down two years later, after it proved unsuccessful.
Taipei’s Barbie Cafe measures 660 square meters almost all of which are covered in bright pink. The walls are adorned with illustrations of Barbie in various outfits, tables are styled like high-heels and the chairs are decorated with red corsets and pink tutus around the seats. As if there wasn’t enough pink in the place, the waiters also wear pink Barbie logo T-shirts, matching tutus, Barbie armbands, glitter and tiaras on their heads. But what about the foods, right? What is anyone supposed to eat in a restaurant themed after a character with an unreal figure? There are plenty of tasty-looking dishes on the menu, from soups to salads and steaks, and even sweets, but they all come with a calorie counter, so girls know how much they risk to gain. Charming, isn’t it? Shiao Yu, one of the first patrons to visit the cafe, said: “I feel like a Barbie doll in a fairy-tale world, and I feel like a princess. It’s very dreamy.” I’d like to make a suggestion – bring the real-life Barbie here for a truly complete package.
The Barbie Cafe cost a reported $1,7 million, but investors are confident it will pay off in the long run. If there’s one good thing about this place it’s that it won’t put a too big a den in Barbie fans’ budgets. A meal here costs just $10 and you can find plenty of dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now, if you’ll excuse, I’have to go and find a way to wash all this pink off my retina.
Photos: Tsung Chi Hwei/Facebook