Hello Kitty dim sum restaurant opens

Hello Kitty dim sum restaurant opens

World's first Hello Kitty dim sum restaurant opens in Hong Kong

From Hello Kitty cafes to Hello Kitty hotels and even Hello Kitty trains, there doesn't seem to be an end to the Hello Kitty cultural empire. Far from becoming obsolete, getting played out or old, this fictionilised character keeps conquering the hearts and minds of new generations and inspiring new creativity around its image, but this time it's not Tokyo but Hong Kong the one pioneering a Hello Kitty franchise and what better way to do it than with traditional Chinese cuisine.

Hello Kitty lovers, rejoice, the first dim sum restaurant has opened its colourful doors to the world in Hong Kong.

This Japanese fictional character's fandom is not a novelty in this region. On the contrary, Hong Kong, like many Asian cities, is already chock full of Hello Kitty. You can find anything from a Hello Kitty sandwich maker to Hello Kitty jewelry all over the city; thus, it was just a matter of time this cute dim sum restaurant would become a reality.

Offering about 40 choices ranging from HK$42 to HK$238 (US$5 to $30), the new restaurant's menu also has a selection of Hello Kitty-inspired dishes.

The adorable decoration of the restaurant starts outside: Hello Kitty signs in red and gold - two lucky colours in Chinese tradition - adorn the facade of the restaurant while Chinese-style latticed windows present the shape of her bow.

The inside of the restaurant features an explosive combination of Chinese-style decor and Hello Kitty's image all over the place. On chopsticks, chopstick holders, places, bowls, spoons, teapots, ceiling lanterns, wall decor, wine glasses, wine bottles, chairs, you name it, Hello Kitty decor impregnates the every item at the restaurant. There is even Hello Kitty decorations etched into the dining tables - a Kitty-phile-friendly feature that allows diners to gaze at Hello Kitty while eating Hello Kitty food.

Start the Hello Kitty dim sum experience with a spongy custard bun (HK$43 for a basket), followed by shrimp dumplings (HK$48), and a traditional Cantonese sponge cake (HK$48).

If you are a fan of Hello Kitty, you probably know that her favourite food is her mum's homemade apple pie. That is why the restaurant chose apple as a recurrent theme in some dishes. For instance, the sweet and sour pork (HK$98) uses apple instead of the more traditional pineapple.

Another dish that features apple is the Hello Kitty apple chicken rice (HK$108). The rice comes molded resembling the shape of her head, while black beans are there for her eyes, then they use green Chinese leeks tied together for her bow, red pepper for her nose and then eggplant skin for her whiskers. The dish comes with an apple cup full of chicken and vegetables.

As a dessert, one of the options includes a traditional Chinese almond dessert soup (HK$38), topped with a piece of red gelatin in the shape of Hello Kitty.

To add to the restaurants' hits, it uses locally-grown, organic ingredients for some of the dishes. As a matter of fact, the restaurant owner and Hong Kong entrepreneur Man Kwon is using the Hello Kitty restaurant as a platform to encourage healthier lifestyles in Hong Kong. Although he plans to use various healthier options in the future, for now he is using organic whenever possible, natural dyes, less salt and less oil.

The success of the restaurant is also due to its staggering attention to detail and strong commitment to the brand. According to Man, everything - from the food to the decor - had been approved by Sanrio, the Japanese company that owns Hello Kitty brand.

Hello Kitty's creator Sanrio even provided them with "a kind of character training - told us about Hello Kitty, her preferences, her family tree," he adds.

The reason why this restaurant is a success unless previous Hello Kitty restaurants is its perfectionism: some dishes took as many as seven tries before Sanrio green-lighted the final recipe. "The hardest part was getting the proportion of Hello Kitty's features right," says Chan Kwok-Tung, a din sum chef for over three decades. "Otherwise, it'll easily look like a knockoff." Because of its special features, it takes twice as long to make Hello Kitty dim sum compared to regular dim sum.

"Before I joined the company - I knew nothing about Hello Kitty," he says. "I saw it as a challenge but as I spent more time working on it, I grew to like Hello Kitty. She's really cute."

The restaurant has a capacity of 70 people and some dishes are made in limited quantity daily.

If you have an event coming up, you can book the VIP room (named Apple House). This hall features Hello Kitty as China's four ancient beauties in Chinese-style scroll paintings. If you're looking for more news check out Sanrio Facebook page, now over 1 million likes in 2017.