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Category Archive for Food + Theme Restaurants

Bangkok’s weird, crazy theme restaurants! Kid Mai Death coffin, Unicorn Cafe & creative Thai cuisine.

go inside coffin death cafe bangkok

Death becomes her… so don’t you dare wake us from our slumber!

Why are Yukiro and I hanging out a coffin? Because Bangkok’s theme restaurants are strange and delightful. We’ll take you inside Kid Mai, a death-themed cafe…

unicorn theme cafe bangkok thailand

…and the fabulous Unicorn Cafe, which is rainbow cute overload!

For you foodies, we also explored the outstanding restaurant scene in Bangkok. Keep reading to see what we ate at Soul Food Mahanakorn and Pladib, located in the hipster districts Thonglor and Ari.

kidmai death awareness cafe

As Yukiro’s speech bubble says, “Death is a great leveler.”

If you’ve got a Gothic disposition, then you’ve got to visit the Kid Mai Death Awareness Cafe. Follow the signs to Hell, and plop down next to a skeleton on the beanbag chairs.

dr veeranut owner kid mai death awareness project

The “cafe” is run by Dr. Veeranut Rojanaprapa. However, he emphasized that Kid Mai is more of an educational space.

The professor started Kid Mai Death Cafe to celebrate all the stages of life. Located in Bangkok’s hip Aree district, this open-air attraction lets visitors participate in interactive exhibits and ponder death in a meaningful way.

bangkok weird strange death restaurant

Visitors begin by walking through a long dark tunnel with emo messages, like “Is anybody waiting for you?”

The hallway sets the mood of the fascinating project, which brings death to the forefront and encourages you to reflect on typically “taboo” themes.

death museum bangkok festivals rituals

We were intrigued by this display about end-of-life cultures around the world. The food offerings and photos highlighted a variety of rituals, from Swedish death cleaning to Indian cremation at the River Ganges.

buddhist death fans rites

In Thailand, these decorated fans are part of Buddhist funerals. Usually, the fan contains the deceased’s name, and Buddhist scriptures relating to impermanence.

kid mai death cafe menu drinks

Then, you can head to Kid Mai’s cafe area, and slurp on sweet drinks with names like Born, Elder, Painful (coated in red syrup that mimics blood), and Death. Which one would you choose?

elderly classes bangkok

Artist Becky Hawkins made this drawing about our visit to Kid Mai. She shows how the staff offers free educational classes for the elderly.

Cross-generational compassion is a major theme. Younger visitors can put on a weighted vest to understand how it feels to be in an older body.

goths going inside coffin

You can even slip into an ornate Thai coffin and have a friend slide the lid shut… to mimic the feeling of being interred underground! (I felt like Beatrix Kiddo when she was buried alive in Kill Bill.)

death cafe bangkok thailand coffin

Beware, the rise of the undead…

creepy haunted goth restaurant bangkok

How does it feel to be shut into this confined space? Hot and humid… but otherwise, we were quite at home in a coffin.

kid mai ari aree weird cafe

The “birth experience” lets you swing in a red pod, and make your way through Fallopian tubes. (Just watch out for mosquitoes here!)

buried alive coffin theme cafe

Kid Mai Death Cafe is a thought-provoking space, which encourages you to reflect on death from all angles. This Bangkok experience is one-of-a-kind, and gets our Goth stamp of approval.

comic drawing bangkok rainy season rain

During our Thailand trip, my friends and I sometimes split up to do separate activities. Becky shares this comic about how she and Naomi went looking for food, and barely missed getting caught in torrential Southeast Asian rains.

exterior unicorn cafe bangkok

Meanwhile, Yukiro and I pranced over to Bangkok’s Unicorn Cafe! You’ll know you have arrived when you see a winged unicorn statue at the entrance, with front legs raised.

unicorn cafe bangkok thailand restaurant

The interior is total unicorn overload. The magical horned creatures cover every inch of the pastel rainbow cafe.

rainbow macarons cupcakes desserts unicorn cafe

Even the sweets in the display case have horns. Our eyes popped over the cotton candy, cupcakes, and macarons that matched the fantastical theme.

unicorn themed cafe bangkok

At the Thailand Unicorn Cafe, you can also pick up themed merchandise: I got a sparkly unicorn t-shirt. Guests can also rent unicorn kigurumi (full body costumes) to become “one” with the creatures.

menu unicorn cafe, rainbow food

As you’d expect, the menu looks like a Lisa Frank 90s girl explosion. There are both savory and sweet food choices, and many of the dishes are rainbow-colored or decorated with a unicorn horn. You can also order non-themed sides such as French fries.

cute stuffed unicorn toys restaurant

At each table, you’ll find stuffed unicorn toys that you can hold while you snack. The ceiling is also strung with My Little Pony plushies.

rainbow waffles, unicorn mermaid cafe

The Unicorn Cafe brought back so many childhood feels. The over-the-top space is a favorite for Instagrammers.

unicorn cafe bangkok food sweets ice cream

While this looks like a cavity in the making, the Unicorn Cafe’s platters were actually not too sweet, and came with fresh fruit. The birthday cafe flavor of the rainbow waffles was pure nostalgia.

kawaii unicorn themed restaurant thailand

There are no genders for the bathrooms, as we are all unicorns on the inside!

The Unicorn Cafe may be well-known at this point, but it was surprisingly good and worth visiting if you’re in Bangkok.

drawing thailand bakery breads

Now, for some non-themed restaurant reviews!

Bangkok is now known as a world-class food destination, with everything from Michelin-starred eateries to street food. Naomi Rubin drew this scene from a delicious French bakery that we visited.

cute cafe black white line drawing

Becky Hawkins captures a charming Bangkok cafe interior. There’s an enormous variety of excellent food in this city, at all price points and from all regions of the world.

Soul Food Mahanakorn exterior

We wanted to focus on creative Thai cuisine, run by young chefs in the hippest districts of Bangkok.

Soul Food Mahanakorn was highly recommended to me, and lived up to its reputation for serving authentic, street food inspired dishes.

thai izakaya street Soul Food Mahanakorn

The cozy restaurant is inspired by the flavors of regional Thai cooking. There’s an impressive wine and cocktail selection, and the ingredients focus on organic and fair-trade sources (such as small farms in northeast Thailand).

food menu Soul Food Mahanakorn bangkok

Soul Food Mahanakorn is a wonderland of flavors, which makes you realize the depth and variety of Thai cooking (going far beyond what you’ll find on a typical takeout menu!)

We adored the grilled sea bass wrapped in banana leaf, and tender smoked duck larb. The egg dish is Yam Makrua Yao, a smoked eggplant salad with soft duck eggs and a flavorful sauce.

Jarrett Wrisley owner bangkok restaurant

Restaurant founder Jarrett Wrisley sat down with us to chat about his passion project. Becky Hawkins made this sketch of the American food writer, who opened up one of the most soulful Thai restaurants in recent years.

bangkok michelin star restaurants

Onto spicy mains, such a pork belly curry with a side of organic rice. The execution is not too heavy, using local herbs and spices with finesse to bring out the flavors.

thai food dishes drawing

Naomi Rubin drew the aftermath of our meal — you can tell that we enjoyed every bite, and somehow managed to finish all the plates!

No wonder Soul Food Mahanakorn is recommended by the Bangkok Michelin Guide. For a truly memorable Thai dinner, make a reservation here and raise a glass to Jarrett for us.

Pladib restaurant ari aree

In the hipster neighborhood Ari / Aree, we were warmly welcomed into Pladib, a restaurant set in a modern space.

Pla Dib does fusion in a fresh way — marrying Thai tradition with Japanese and European influences. The dishes are presented without fuss or over-seasoning, which lets the quality of the raw fish and organic produce do the talking.

baking oven sketch

Naomi Rubin sketched the pear-shaped wood oven in the back. Pladib is a popular spot for locals to hang out, and share wood-fired pizzas. The space also brings in art exhibits and DJs.

pla dib  ปลาดิบ bangkok

A fresh coconut paired nicely with grilled octopus with black mayo, and creamy mushroom ravioli.

bangkok hip creative hipster restaurants

The melt-in-your-mouth grilled duck salad turned out to be one of my favorite duck dishes of all time!

eating shrimp girl comic

Becky Hawkins illustrates the joys of eating fresh shrimp, and sampling Pladib’s farm-grown vegetables.

trendy restaurants ari bangkok pla dib

We couldn’t decide between the lemon or dark chocolate tart — so we got both, plus lots of berries and extra ice cream.

Pladib is an inventive, modern Bangkok restaurant that I think you’ll love.

mae yui bangkok restaurant food

Bangkok’s Ari / Aree area has become a food and art hotspot. My friends and I had multiple meals at Mae Yui. We ate the food so fast that there are no photos, but Naomi Rubin made this delectable watercolor.

ari aree hipster neighborhood bangkok

Aree’s hipsters love to hang for hours at Mae Yui restaurant, which features a home-style Thai menu. The dishes are nostalgic favorites prepared with a light touch. Our favorites included the tuna salad with Thai spices and herbs, creamy Thai ice tea, and fresh passion-fruit sorbet.

google touring bird bangkok travel tips

If this story makes you hungry to visit Bangkok, then you can find more of my tips about the city here on Touring Bird. I featured a Totoro theme cafe, and other fabulous eateries in Thailand.

You’ll find me all over TouringBird.com — I wrote almost 700 articles about insider spots, in dozens of worldwide cities. I hope you’re enjoying this travel resource so far (it’s a project by Google Area 120).

undead goth emerging from coffin

And that’s the final nail in the coffin, for these “Bangkok bitches”… until I come back again!

For more alternative Bangkok travel tips (boutiques, hotels, restaurants etc), you can see all my Thailand stories (from my trips in 2013 and 2018).

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Sailor Moon ring from Sapphire Studios & tattoo stickers! Santiago hipster district Lastarria, De Patio restaurant.

sailor moon forehead tattoo sticker

“Moon Crystal Power, Make Up!” As a Sailor Moon fan since the 1990s, I’m delighted with my new Sapphire Studios Prism ring — from their Sailor Moon jewelry collection!

Read on for three summer outfits featuring my current favorite designers. We’ll also explore the coolest restaurant and neighborhood in Santiago, Chile, where I recently spent a few days.

sapphire studios sailor moon ring

Altogether now, let’s sing: “Fighting evil by moonlight. Winning love by daylight. Never running from a real fight. She is the one named Sailor Moon!”

I’m sure many of you adore the 90s Japanese manga and anime series, which follows the intergalactic adventures of a schoolgirl and her friends. They transform into the fierce Sailor Soldiers (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter), who fight to “right wrongs and triumph over evil.”

Inspired by this universe, Sapphire Studios released a luxurious Sailor Moon jewelry collection. The designs include a crescent-shaped floral necklace, and this Prism ring based on the “moon crisis” heart compact in the series.

sapphire studios anime manga jewelry

Based in Melbourne, Australia, Sapphire Studios Design produces fine jewelry for those who love alternative, vintage, Goth and Japanese influences (much like myself). Everything is individually crafted with exquisite crystals and gemstones — these are accessories to treasure, and the quality shines through.

I loved unboxing my Prism ring, which came in this elegant case and velvet ring holder. As you can see, this isn’t “cosplay” or “costume” jewelry. Sapphire Studios makes high-end works of art, which extends to the package presentation.

pheren couture cape, liz lisa my melody dress

The Sailor Moon ring is a fabulous statement, yet comfortable and subtle enough to wear daily, with all types of outfits. In tribute to Usagi / Serena, I put my hair in “odango” buns, and wore a crescent moon temporary tattoo from Capumon (more about them below). My dress is Liz Lisa x My Melody; it’s currently for sale on my Depop shop.

My cut-out lace black capelet is by Pheren Couture, creator of dark and decadent luxury accessories. Pheren makes earrings, chokers and other hand-sewn fashion with inspirations from fantasy, history, and Gothic aesthetics. In love with how the material drapes and shimmers, featuring a high collar and wings over the shoulders.

sailor moon engagement rings jewellery

In addition to the Sailor Moon collection, Sapphire Studios has jewelry for men and women based on Zelda, Final Fantasy, Kingdon Hearts, Death Note and other Jpop favorites. They are especially known for their alternative engagement rings, and skull series (I own the black and crystals “Aphrodite” ring, as you can see in the back.)

sapphire studios design sailor moon prism ring

Sapphire Studios even lets you design your own ring, or customize one according to your preferences and budget. Each is made to order, in the size and specifications that you choose. My Sailor Moon ring, for example, can be made with a rose gold, silver or yellow gold band, and with various diamonds or accent stones (opal, blue topaz, pink sapphire).

The level of detail is wonderful, as you can see from the crescent moon and ribbon design on the sides. “In the name of the moon,” I encourage you to see more from Sapphire Studios.

capumon sailor moon temporary crescent tattoos stickers

I’m sure you are curious about my Sailor Moon forehead decal… These are temporary tattoos by Capumon! Take “a trip to Nemesis” and wear the Black Moon Clan’s symbol (the upside-down one). Or choose Crystal Tokyo, and join the squad with a golden shimmering crescent.

These Sailor Moon tattoo stickers are a must-have for any fan. Each package contains 56 moons — perfect to share with friends. It’s easy to put on the tattoos: just cut out the 1 x 1 moon, remove the plastic back, and press it to your skin for 15-30 seconds with a warm, damp towel. I’ll be wearing these all the time, thanks to Capumon — be sure to check them out, and they ship orders worldwide.

red silk slip dress

And now, another summertime outfit. Popular in the 1990s, slip dresses are perfect for warm weather days. This red silk slip dress is by Print All Over Me, designed by gentlethrills — how about that roaring jaguar and animal print pattern!

My black boater straw hat is by Lack of Color; shop more from them below:

silver holographic ankle boots moon boot

I’m all about holographic space-age materials, and can’t get enough of these Irregular Choice boots. Love the reflective silver leather, with black ribbon laces and a zipper up the sides. I think these ankle boots are made for walking on the moon.

print all over me gentlethrills jaguar dress

Another look at my Print All Over Me spaghetti straps dress. As you can see, the lightweight silk flows, and the original print appears on both sides.

irregular choice silver iridescent boots shoes

I have been fond of Irregular Choice’s fanciful footwear for over a decade now. They have quirky collaborations with Disney, Toy Story, Star Wars and more, as you can see below (click the images for details)…

vancaf vancouver comic arts festival artists

Photos of Outfit #2 by my first mate Naomi Rubin, who is currently releasing a weekly comic, Moonsprout Station. It’s “a queer fantasy comic about growing community and relationships while exploring and studying a world full of islands floating in the sky,” rendered in compelling watercolors and linework.

I reunited with her at the VanCAF (Vancouver Comic Arts Festival). We have more Pirate adventures coming soon in Asia… stay tuned to see what we’re up to next.

life club goth enamel pins

Close-up on my Gothic enamel pins, from Life Club. These accessories are the perfect way to decorate a leather jacket (or any item of clothing), and the mottos speak to my inner emo kid. Damage and Joy, Sad Lifestyle, Never Smile… you got that right.

life club uk gothic pins

Chaos is Me (in the shape of a coffin). Misery is All the Rage. It’s safe to say that UK-based Life Club rocks! These enamel pins come in gold or silver edging, and they have tons of designs with rock, metal and Goth themes / words / shapes.

wimdu apartment rental travel blogger

Outfit #3 brings us to Santiago, Chile. My black-white-red color scheme matched well with my chic Wimdu apartment rental. I enjoyed staying in a local’s area of Santiago, right across from Ecuador subway station and surrounded by grocery stores (I picked up sardines and avocados, of course). It was easy to book this flat using Wimdu’s site, and communicate with the kind host Beatriz. Plus, the WiFi and all amenities were included for a far lower rate than if we had gotten a hotel.

hipster santiago chile art

I didn’t have too much time to spend in the Chilean capital, so I headed straight to Barrio Lastarria. As you can see, it’s known as the youth / hipster / art district of Santiago. This is a great neighborhood for strolling and people-watching, and there’s plenty to do here (street food, bars, theaters, art installations).

(All Chile photos by Joey Wong.)

la starria street art murals

Attack of the lobster-aliens! La Starria is a colorful area with unexpected murals, and small markets where locals sell organic and handmade products.

– My Japanese top is by Underground England (if you can read katakana, you’ll know that it says Post Punk).

– My Girardi Meredith hold-up knee socks are from UK Tights.

santiago la rosa gelato street food

Just like Anthony Bourdain (RIP), I’m all about finding cheap and local eats wherever I go. LaStarria is full of tasty and creative food, for a handful of Chilean pesos.

Locals adore the gelato from Emporio La Rosa (I got scoops of berry and dark chocolate). I also tried the new Buffalo Waffles, a genius waffle wrap with cheddar and vegetables inside.

lastarria live music djs art

Especially on weekends, you’ll hear music wherever you walk in Barrio LaStarria. We came across flamboyant dancers in the streets, a slightly annoying clown-mime, and these electronic DJs at an outdoor public lounge.

underground england post punk t-shirt

What else is there to do in LaStarria? Browse the alternative boutiques, which sell kawaii cute and rock / Goth fashion. And enjoy the urban art all around. In addition to these giant wall paintings, I encountered a moving lights installation that anyone could enter for free.

la starria barrio hip cool santiago

I was pleasantly surprised by the hip artwork I found in Santiago. You may recall that I also went to the vibrant street art city of Valparaiso. The takeaway: Chile is one cool country.

Chef Benjamin Nast DePatio restaurante

We wrapped up our Santiago trip with the most creative meal I’ve had in a long time. I heard rave reviews about a young restaurant, De Patio, and was keen to experience it for myself. It took a while to locate the hidden entrance (barely-marked large wooden doors), which opened up to a spacious, modern interior with a courtyard. We sat the bar counter in front of the open kitchen, and watched Chef Benjamin Nast work his magic. 

(DePatio restaurant address: Av Vitacura 3520, Vitacura, Región Metropolitana, Chile)

snails salad de patio santiago

Chef Benjamin Nast has an impressive resume — he worked in top restaurants in Chile, Paris, and Barcelona (at the Michelin-starred Dos Palillos owned by Albert Raurich, the former executive chef El Bulli). In 2017, he opened up De Patio in Vitacura, to highlight Chilean products along with Asian flavors and techniques.

Sit at the counter, and let him surprise you with an 8 or 12 course menu. Everything he creates is daring and artistic; delicious without being pretentious. Our first taste was an eye-opener: snails from the garden with soy shitake mushrooms, tapioca, and flowers.

santiago modern asian chilean dining

We enjoyed chatting with the tattooed Chef Benjamin. He explained that De Patio Restaurante’s circular logo is inspired by Woody Woodpecker, “the crazy bird” — and spoke passionately about how the team experiments to make surprising dishes from seasonal ingredients. 

santiago experimental fine dining

It was a treat to watch Chef Benjamin prepare each plate in front of us, while The Doors and Janis Joplin howled from the speakers. Between plates, I sipped on the perfect healing drink made just for me: a pisco sour with eucalyptus, honey, ginger and lemon.

Above: zucchini noodles, clam, picked cucumber, almonds and grated avocado — wow.

de patio restaurant chef chile

He showcased his finesse for Japanese cooking with a shabu shabu: fresh fish, scallops and still-moving prawns in a delicious dashi broth.

santiago experimental food restaurants

Dessert was once again a feast for the eyes and tastebuds. Above is a refreshing cucumber granita and strawberry coulis with freeze-dried vodka jelly. He also served up crispy potato ice cream sandwiches with thyme, whiskey, toffee, egg — we ate them so fast that there aren’t any photos!

chef benjamin nast vitacura restaurant

Cheers to Chef Benjamin Nast for the outstanding omakase that breaks the conventions of gourmet cuisine. As he writes in De Patio’s manifesto: “What matters most is making delicious food that is both simple and provocative. We believe in tradition as well as contradiction. We love food and are constantly searching for freedom.”

de patio vitacura santiago best new restaurant

The fun team at De Patio is constantly changing up the menu, and their passion is infectious. Prices are extremely reasonable, and I’m certain that the restaurant will be racking up more awards — so be sure to go, when you’re in Santiago.

latam airlines airplane logo

Thanks to LATAM Airlines for letting me bring these “only in South America” stories to you. We still have more from Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo to come, as well as the isle of stone-faced aliens… If you missed the previous posts, come take a look at the S. America category here.

And for more summer style inspiration, check out the images below >>