Just about everyone knows Hello Kitty. The Japanese born cat of Sanrio, with her simple expression and cute little bow, has reached the far corners of the world. Hello Kitty, known as Kitty-chan in Japan, has made appearances on lunch boxes, debit cards, $5,000 necklaces, electric guitars, and even airplanes.
The expressionless white cat’s overwhelming popularity has spread throughout the world, prompting the creation of the Hello Kitty Cafe franchise in South Korea with locations in Seoul, Incheon, and Sinchon. One of our reporters, enamored by the cuteness that Japan’s most famous cat exudes, decided to pay a visit to Hello Kitty Cafe’s Seoul location.
The cafe’s interior was surprisingly fancy and gives customers the feeling that they are visiting another world. Located in Seoul’s Hongdae Area, a center of urban arts and indie music, and near Hongik University, one of the nation’s top fine arts colleges, the Hello Kitty Cafe shares the street with night clubs, bars, restaurants, and other cafes. A pink building and giant pink bow adorning the front make this cafe hard to miss, even from far away.
Once inside the cafe, one can’t help but feel the strong connect the world has with Hello Kitty. Everything inside the cafe is pink. The walls, the chairs, the counter, even the sofas have a pink hue.
The lighting, intensified by the pink walls, is bright enough to give off a dazzling glow, but isn’t too overwhelming. In fact, this world of pink has a very laid-back feel, despite the color overload.
The cafe has done a wonderful job incorporated Hello Kitty into the smallest details; on the advisory notices on the wall, the restroom signs, even on the garbage can in the restroom.
The Hello Kitty Cafe has a large assortment of cute desserts to enjoy. From cake, to waffles, to honey toast, every delicious treat incorporates the cafe’s namesake cat.
Our reporter, after much debate (there were too many cute options after all), decided to go for the Hello Kitty mini cake. After ordering on the first floor, our reporter moved to the second floor to enjoy her sweet treat. While taking in the decorations and numerous Hello Kitties all over the cafe, she completely forgot about the mini Hello Kitty cake waiting to be eaten.
Our reporter faced a dilemma: the kitty was too cute to eat!
As she sat, surrounded by pink and the black dot stares of the cake’s Hello Kitty counterparts that adorn the walls, she let out a battle cry and quickly chopped Hello Kitty’s face in half with her fork. “I’m sorry,” whispered our reporter to the mangled Hello Kitty face staring up at her. However, upon taking her first bite of the strawberry flavored, bavarian cream-filled cake, our reporter instantly felt good about her decision to destroy Hello Kitty’s face.
If you’d like to get your hands on your own edible Hello Kitty, mini cakes at the Hello Kitty Cafe sell for 10,000 won (US $9). The price is extremely expensive considering the average hourly wage for a college student is merely 5,000 to 6,000 won (US $4.48 – $5.37), meaning students would have to work for two hours to enjoy eating Hello Kitty’s face. To the youth of South Korea, the cakes are a high-class item meant to be eaten on special occasions or outings.
All things considered, to the Sanrio fan, the Hello Kitty Cafe is a wonderful little shop. As long as you can get past the idea of mutilating the world’s cutest and most beloved cat, we definitely recommend a trip here.
[ Read in Japanese ]