Taiwan has opened a Barbie-themed restaurant in Taipei called the Barbie Cafe, after the US toy company Mattel licensed Taiwanese restaurant group Sinlaku to build the restaurant around the iconic doll. As expected, everything inside is pink – chairs are hot pink and adorned with tutu skirts and red corset lacing, while walls display Barbie illustrations showing off many stylish outfits. There's even a life-size Barbie "box" for customers who want to feel like a real-live doll. Female waitresses are dressed in pink outfits complete with tutus and tiaras. Male servers are dressed to look like Barbie's long-term boyfriend, Ken
The menu was created by professional nutritionists and includes calorie counts for each item. Culinary choices include hazelnut tiramisu, colorful macaroon cookies served in martini classes, Philadelphia steak salad, salmon beauty salad, an ornate Barbie cake and the Barbie 128, a pink beverage named for the address of the eatery.
The Barbie Cafe is the first Barbie-themed restaurant in the world.
We picked Taiwan because theme restaurants are very popular and successful here. We are very confident that the Barbie Cafe can promote our brand image," said Iggy Yip, a senior manager in Mattel's consumer products division in Greater China.
While some are raving about the new restaurant, not everyone is pleased. Some women in Taiwan lashed out at the idea saying it continues to invoke an anti-women image and promotes the sexualization of Asian women.
Rhiannon Williams, editor of feminist website The Vagenda Magazine, expressed her adamant distaste for the Barbie Cafe. “I cannot imagine anything less pleasant and more nausea-inducing than a Barbie themed restaurant. Not only because I prefer low-impact environments and none of the major food groups are pink for a reason, but also because Barbie is an outdated model of stereotypical femininity and needs to die a death," said Williams.
“I think this is part of the problem that we women face in Asia,” Jamie Yo, a 25-year-old recent university graduate, told Bikyanews.com. “I think the idea of Barbie is inherently anti-women and to have a café is wrong and perpetuates these myths about women and girls in Asia.”
For the rest who disagree with Yo and Williams, the Barbie Cafe is at Zhongxiao East Road, No. 128, Section 4, Taipei District 2.
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Barbie doll themed cakes
A waitresses and a waiter walk through the restaurant before the tables fill up
A waitress displays a cup of macaroons.
Waitresses stand at the ready in their Barbie restaurant uniforms
Waitresses wave in front of a Barbie poster
A waitress holds up a menu during the opening ceremony.