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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

First Barbie cafe opens in Taipei

The world's first Barbie cafe has opened in Taipei, decked out with Barbie-related items.
The Straits Times - January 31, 2013
By: Lee Seok Hwai
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First Barbie cafe opens in Taipei A waitress with a glass of macaroons at the cherry pink Barbie cafe in Taipei yesterday. The 660-sq-m cafe is decked out with Barbie-related items. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TAIPEI - Young and young-at-heart Taiwanese girls, squeal your hearts out: The world's first Barbie cafe has opened in Taipei, complete with stiletto-shaped tables, pom-pom skirted chairs, calorie-counted meals and, of course, many incarnations of the iconic doll.

Customers can tuck into dishes like Salmon Beauty Salad and barley lotus root pork ribs, or sip cocktails and browse Barbie merchandise such as dolls, handbags and jewellery at the 661 sqm outlet located on Zhongxiao East Road, Taipei's equivalent of Orchard road.

"The cafe reflects women's sweet-natured side and their desire to catch up with the latest trends," said Ms Iggy Ip, senior manager of the Greater China market at Mattel, the American toymaker that created Barbie in 1959, at the cafe's opening yesterday.

Taipei was picked to be the trailblazer for the Barbie cafe because of its well-developed cafe and restaurant scene, she told The Straits Times.

Costing NT$50 millon (S$2 million), the cafe is run by Sinlaku Taiwan, the same company which opened the Hello Kitty Cafe in 2008 - also said to be the world's first.

It took 18 months of endless rounds of conference calls involving Sinlaku, Mattel and the toymaker's Taiwan licencee Impact Licensing Marketing Management before everyone was pleased with the result.

Said Sinlaku chairman Henry Chiu: "The most difficult issue for us was the use of the cherry pink colour throughout the cafe. Our challenge was to avoid looking vulgar, and I think we managed to do so."

LEE SEOK HWAI

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