BANGKOK – Many Asian restaurants and coffee shops realize dining is more than what you put in your mouth. But as pictures released Thursday in an EPA photo essay show, there a many flavors to the proliferation of themed food temples all across Asia.
Asian based theme restaurants are blossoming, broadening the eating and drinking experience and displaying a palette of weird and wonderful dining experiences that turn a quick bite into an unusually memorable sensation.
At Hospitalis in Depok, Indonesia the name says it all, and among the offers on menu are a blood transfusion of Mexican blood, actually strawberry syrup, which goes into your eyeball dessert tray, called Organ Surgery Parfait, only one of the medically themed delicacies on hand, all made by your chef dressed in a doctors hospital gown, and served by your nurse (aka waitress) in a nurses uniform.
Snacks and champagne help creative juices flow, perhaps, as guests create a painted personal masterpiece at Bangkok’s Paintbar in Thailand, or one can take a seat on a toilet stool, and hoe into all sorts of squishy poo resembling offerings from toilet shaped bowls at Taipei’s Modern Toilet restaurant in Taiwan.
Coffee might be more memorable with a chocolate Charlotte adorned with a poisonous spider, just one of many creepy decorations at Kaethy the Witch tearoom and coffee shop, also found in Bangkok, and for something totally refreshing, head to Perak state in Malaysia and dip your feet under the restaurant table as you eat sitting in the flowing Beruk river, at the natural Castella Cafe.
S&M (Sadism and Masochism) fanciers have all at their fingertips at Ke’er (meaning Shell) restaurant in Beijing, or you might choose to delve into a deep pool from your table in the Ocean restaurant in Singapore, set in an aquarium holding manta rays and leopard sharks.
Not far away in the same city, be awed under a sky-scraper of a gin tower at the art deco themed Atlas Bar. You can dine in a bus in Vietnam, in vintage cars in Taiwan, in an upside down house, or a Hobbit House, in the Philippines, or with a Japanese robot sound and light performance at the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo’s business and entertainment district.
Or maybe get a killer cappuccino with a cat cuddle in Myanmar’s first cat cafe in Yangon, only the latest in the spread of such animal themed cafes where coffee and a pet cuddle go hand in hand.
But it is not all light-hearted entertainment of a modern world.
Among the theme restaurants are those that draw on culture and tradition of long ago, that may have been slipping in contemporary memory.
In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Cafe Dei, fights back at modern food offers with a traditional style of food and preparation using bamboo tubes and clay-pot oven cooking methods that stem from tribes people who live in the Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri provinces of northern Cambodia. West Aceh province on Sumatra, Indonesia, boasts its traditional upside down coffee shops, where the coffee is drunken with a straw, which addicts say intensifies that coffee flavor like nothing else.