Thursday 20 Sep, 2012

Weird Restaurants: Japan

Animal Cafes

On your next trip to Japan, make sure you stop at one of their animal cafes, which are becoming increasingly popular among locals and tourists. Deco’s Dog Cafe in Tokyo not only lets you bring your dog into the restaurant, but you can share a table as well. The cafe has a special menu just for dogs that’s made up of fresh, all-natural, healthy food. Your dog can enjoy items like pumpkin and yogurt muffins, a pork and vegetable roast, or sweet potato scones for dessert.

Deco’s Dog Cafe also hosts animal birthday parties. For ¥2,500, the birthday dog gets a meat cake topped with a bone biscuit. Personalized birthday cakes can be arranged, but they’ll need at least a week’s notice. Bowls of water are free though, and your dog can have as many as they want.

If you don’t own a dog, you can head to the Dog Cafe in Busan, South Korea. The $7.20 entrance fee gets you a coffee or smoothie, a buffet full of cake and doughnuts, and unlimited play time with 20 or so dogs of different breeds and sizes that love to play with guests and get some attention. Most of the dogs are strays or rescues, but they are all well trained and very friendly. You can stay and play with the dogs as long as you want.

The concept for restaurants like the one in South Korea came from the popularity of cat cafes in Japan. The Cat Cafe Calico in Japan is another coffee shop  that charges visitors an entry fee to hang out with a comfortable room full of people-friendly cats.

Many apartments in Japan don’t allow tenants to have pets, so these cafes give people a place to  relax and spend time with some animals. But if you visit one, be careful – some charge per hour, so it can get fairly pricey.


Hospital Food

Your next stop in Japan should be Alcatraz ER, a themed restaurant that looks like a medical prison.  As soon as you enter, you’ll be greeted by servers dressed as nurses. You’re their patient so when you arrive, expect to be handcuffed and locked in a cell (which is where you’ll eat your dinner). Often, they’ll inject you with a fake needle before locking you up. Sometimes, the staff will “accidentally” open the door to your cell. If this happens, you’ll be expected to ride through the restaurant in a wheelchair screaming and avoiding other prisoners.

Menu items include the Dead Chicken, which is two chicken feet resting on your plate, and the Intestine (which is not actually intestines, but a sausage). Expect to be served food in a variety of ways, including in syringes and test tubes. Their drinks are also worth ordering – try the jar full of false teeth, or the cocktail served in a life-size mannequin head. If you’re feeling adventurous, order the Russian Roulette. The dish comes with 6 takoyaki (fried or grilled octopus), but one of them is filled with wasabi. It’s impossible to tell just by looking, so be very, very careful.


Alcatraz ER made it on to the Food Network show World’s Weirdest Restaurants – check out a clip here!


Readers, what’s the weirdest restaurant you’ve eaten at?


Flickr photo via itsPRONOUNCEDmay, fletchy182

Photo via ya_parazit