Strange restaurants for strange people
“Yes, in China there are quite a few rather strange restaurants. Strange in their own, so to speak, thematic design. For example, a restaurant whose interior is made in the style of … a toilet. The chairs there resemble toilet bowls, or the toilet bowls serve there as chairs. And in the role of tables used bathtubs and sinks. No, this does not mean that you can use them, but still you are sitting on the toilet lid. This strange theme of the toilet room is supported by the dishes that are included in the menu of such a restaurant, and the dishes on which these dishes are served. For example, there is mashed potatoes, which looks … well, you understand what I’m talking about. That is, you seem to be in a restaurant, but at the same time in some other interior. In general, this is the strangest restaurant in which I was in my life, ”- surprised John.
I must say that now in China there is already a whole network of similar restaurants “Modern Toilet”. The first was opened in 2004 in Taipei. For the sake of fairness, it must be said that these restaurants do not all open in the adapted ones, we use this word, the premises, but in the new buildings specially built for this. It’s just that the Chinese design idea is very brave here. In general, someone goes to the toilet to read a newspaper, but the people of China go there to eat. And they are willing to pay a very decent amount for this pleasure. Anyway, more than at McDonalds.
“Honestly, it’s quite expensive there and as a restaurant it’s not the best place,” continues John. – You can come there once, just for the sake of interest, as something, so to speak, to see something unusual. But the second time I personally would not go there and I will not go. I think most people treat this type of restaurant just like me. They came for curiosity, laughed, well, that’s it. This is not a restaurant where you can walk more or less regularly. ”
In the dark
Restaurant “Modern Toilet” is not the only strange institution, originally designed to eat there a delicious meal in a pleasant company. There is a restaurant in Beijing, where everything is normal on the part of the chairs and tables. But in terms of seeing well what you eat – just problems. This is the so-called “Dark Restaurant”, where everything is immersed in pitch darkness.
In this restaurant, as John remembers, there was no lighting, so that visitors almost did not see what they brought and what they were eating. Only the waiters had small lanterns to see at least where they were going and what they were carrying. But visitors there had a hard time. Maybe this was the reason why the restaurant, according to John, quickly closed.
And who needs it?
On whom these strange Chinese restaurants are focused? For foreign tourists who are always and always greedy for the most different exotic things? Maybe enterprising Chinese just decided to act according to the principle “the weirder, the more interesting it is for these strange foreigners”? Or is it still a bet on local residents, who are more likely than foreign tourists and for whom there is nothing strange in such restaurants?
According to our expert in Beijing, journalist John Artman, there is both one and the other. If we talk about the “Toilet Restaurant”, it is open in an area where it is always very lively, where there are a lot of people every day, both locals and tourists. There are many shopping centers where people come for shopping. So of course, for the tourism business is one of the most attractive places. But on the other hand, local residents also come to these shopping streets just to spend their free time, and they are also ready to try something new, to get new and unusual impressions. So these strange restaurants for everyone are just another unusual entertainment.
According to the observations of John Artman, who has been living in Beijing for almost 10 years, such strange restaurants as a super-extravagant way of attracting visitors is a phenomenon of recent years. It seems that China is so overwhelmed with impressions of the most different kinds that it’s already difficult for budding businessmen-restaurateurs to come up with something new to lure a visitor who is overlooked or a local resident who is tired of shopping.
About the strangeness of being
If we continue the discussion of “strangeness”, then a phrase from the classic comes to mind: “I am strange, but not strange. Who?” A strange restaurant for a European tourist in China, rather, can be called a restaurant serving traditional Chinese turtle dishes or shark fins. But for the Chinese themselves, this is not unusual. But in Turkey, a citizen of the Middle Kingdom will try some turkey in mustard sauce with caution, no less than the Parisian will take on fried grasshoppers.
So who is to blame for the appearance of such unusual restaurants on the streets of Chinese and non-Chinese cities? “Strange” owners of these restaurants? Or are clients of a consumer society who are fed up with pleasures, who are eager to try something like that?