Asia’s Strangest Restaurants

Modern Toilet Restaurant – Taiwan, Hong Kong

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The very first Modern Toilet Restaurant opened in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, back in 2004. The concept has been successful enough that more than ten branches have collectively opened not only in Taiwan but also in Hong Kong. Locals call these restaurants by several monikers like “The Toilet Restaurant” and “Marton,” which is actually the Chinese term for “toilet.”

Dining at the restaurant is a complete “toilet” experience. Customers eat on glass tables with a sink base, sit on toilet bowls throughout the meal, drink on miniature urinals instead of the usual glasses, and use toilet paper as a replacement for napkins. Even the soft ice cream is shaped like poop. Definitely a place to consider for lunch outside of hotels in Taipei.

Alcatraz ER – Tokyo

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Alcatraz ER is a peculiar restaurant in the heart of Tokyo.  It’s popularly referred to as the “Shibuya Medical Prison.”  It projects such a strange ambiance that one can easily get confused if it’s a hospital, prison or restaurant.

Guests are required to declare blood types at the entrance. After doing so, they’re handcuffed by “nurses” and ushered to grimy rooms that resemble prison cells. Bar drinks, which are served in test tubes and large syringes, have unusual names like “Acute Mental Stabilizer” and “Influenza.” Meals are served by waiters wearing scrub suits and operating masks. At times, a masked “mental patient” is set loose in the dining hall to scare the customers. All in good fun of course.

Cabbages and Condoms – Chiang Mai, Bangkok

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Cabbages and Condoms is a safe sex-themed spot that lures curious epicures from hotels in Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The restaurant was established not only to provide a pleasant dining experience but to promote family planning. Profits from the restaurant go to various AIDS and safe sex awareness campaigns of The Population and Community Development Association (PDA) in Thailand.

To complete the concept, the interior of Cabbages and Condoms is decorated with all sorts of sex toys and condoms. Customers are even given condoms (not mints) with the receipt.

Isdaan Restaurant and Tacsiyapo Wall- Tarlac, Philippines

The Isdaan (fishery) Restaurant is a famous road trip landmark in northern Philippines that offers great food and an unusual atmosphere. The restaurant’s facade is decorated with gigantic Aztec-themed statues as well as humongous fish carved in stone.

What makes this restaurant strange is its popular Tacsiyapo Wall, featured numerous times on Filipino television. Customers who are game can purchase mugs, plates or even a working tv set, and hurl the items against the wall. The point is to release anger and tension.  Sadly, profanity is strictly forbidden.

Body Sushi Restaurant – Japan

Nyotaimori translates as “female body presentation” in Japanese.  It commonly refers to the practice of eating sushi and sashimi off a naked woman’s body. One unusual advantage? The model’s body temperature keeps the food warm and moist. Bonus!

Those interested in becoming Nyotaimori models must undergo rigid training. Seriously. To begin with, the model must learn to lie still for long hours, in a state of quasi-meditation. The body must be completely hairless as well, which would be much more of a problem in, say, Azerbaijan or Turkmenistan, than Japan. Then, the model must bathe in fragrance-free soap and splash cold water over herself repeatedly to keep the skin cool before meal time.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific restaurant that provides this experience because of international media attention and outcries from women’s rights groups. Nantaimori, on the other hand, refers to the same practice using nude male models.

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