New recipes

Introducing China's New Hello Kitty Beer

Introducing China's New Hello Kitty Beer


A new perspective on the taste and appearance of beer

China's "fruity" Hello Kitty Beers comes in various flavors with the signature Hello Kitty logo.

The largest beer market is held by Asia, more specifically China, and has been for the past five years. Naale Soutbeer, Naale White Beer, and Snow are some of the most popular beers in China. They all identify as having the same taste: mellow and fruity. A new beer in China also has the same taste, but this time, marketed with an unusual cartoon character: it's the Hello Kitty Beer.

The overly friendly aluminum can comes in various colors of green and raspberry, with a Hello Kitty logo splashed on the front. With a low alcohol content of 3.2 percent, the beer tastes “more like fruit juice than beer,” says the website Kotoku.

The only beer in America that comes close to this new cartoon brew is the Beck’s Hello Kitty Beer, which was released in 2009. The green glass bottle is covered in pink stickers; there’s even a gender symbol aggressively set in the center of the bottle. However, the taste of the beer is reportedly nothing like the image. Reviewers said the beer resembled a “skunky taste” due to the clear green bottle.

As it’s clear that beer makers in China are looking to reach out to a female audience, possibly even preteens, ask yourself — would you try China’s Hello Kitty Beer?


Hongdae’s NEW Hello Kitty Cafe

Hongdae’s Hello Kitty Cafe has got to be one of the neighborhood’s biggest attractions. Down a small alley on Hongdae’s busiest shopping street stood a lovely two story bright pink cafe, with that iconic HK bow on it. Everyday, tons of foreigners and tourists flocked there just to take in the intense amount of cuteness that is Hello Kitty. This is why I found it so surprising when it closed down. At first I thought they were renovating it, perhaps to expand it. However, when I returned again, I realized that the cafe was now some sort of clothing boutique.

That’s life in Seoul one day you’re enjoying your favorite cafe and the next day it’s a clothing store. If I had a dollar for every time this has happened to me… Anyway, I knew that a place that popular couldn’t have just closed down, especially since there was always a wait just to get a table. So, I did a little digging and sure enough… victory!

I present to you, the NEW Hello Kitty Cafe! To say that the cafe has been given a makeover would be an incredible understatement. In fact, the entire feel and concept has been revamped. It seems as though Hello Kitty has traded in her quaint little cafe for something a bit more glamorous. From the moment you enter the grand powder pink gates, you get this feeling of grandeur. Then you are led up a small path of stairs to the patio of what can only be described as a two story mansion. It’s enormous!

From top to bottom, the entire exterior is painted in three shades of pink with white trim and gold accents. The design itself reminds me of a life-sized dollhouse, but the architecture is definitely of both Korean and Western influence. The large wooden patio is empty now, but once the weather warms up it will definitely leave room for some lovely outdoor seating.

The first floor of the cafe features a living room type of seating area, complete with faux fireplace, lace and crystal accented chandelier lamps, flatscreen TV and display cases full of various HK trinkets. The kitchen, order counter and women’s restroom can also be found on the first floor. However, the newest addition to the cafe would have to be the gift shop. Here you can find all sorts of cute and unique souvenirs such as Hello Kitty plushies dressed in hanboks, exclusive Hello Kitty Cafe cups and even HK ear headbands.

The second floor holds the men’s restroom and more seating, complete with adorable signature metallic Hello Kitty shaped couches and arm chairs, framed Hello Kitty portraits and comfy little pillows. However, the most interesting thing of this floor would definitely be Hello Kitty’s very own bedroom! From the bed, vanity and pictures to the wall clock, plushies and figures, this room is decked out from top to bottom in everything a super Hello Kitty fan would want in a room. Though Hello Kitty herself may not be home, she left her door wide open to kindly welcome all curious visitors, and their cameras, into her world.

Finally, the menu is pretty much the same, which I found to be a bit disappointing. The prices have also gone up, which is completely unnecessary. A few sets were added to the menu like the hot dog set and salad set, but there is nothing special or appetizing about them. They don’t have any kind of Hello Kitty theme to them and are a bit overpriced in my opinion. Of course they still offer promotional items which change every season and those are usually pretty nice. Currently they have their strawberry menu items, so if you want to top off your pink sugar high, this would be the way to go. I personally recommend the Strawberry Latte and Hello Kitty Strawberry Waffle, which will cost you ₩5,500 each.

Overall, the new location is a huge step up from the old. There is plenty of seating, so you don’t have to wait an hour for a table and the gift shop has a lot of really cute and unique items. There are also lots of cute “photo zones” inside and outside, which are perfect for all your selfie needs. I would have to say that my only complaint would be the service. I found the people who work here to be very rude on several occasions and not very helpful. Other than that, it’s a cool place to check out especially if you’re just visiting. I’m sure even Non-Hello Kitty fans will be impressed!


A New Hello Kitty Café Is Opening In Las Vegas And The Menu Is A Sweet Tooth's Dream

Hello Kitty fans, there's a new café for you to put on your travel bucket list. The third U.S. concept, which joins outposts in Irvine, CA and San Jose, CA, will open in Las Vegas this July. Despite not yet opening its doors, the hot pink shipping container pop-up is already a photo-op spot&mdashpartly because of its prime location at The Park, an outdoor dining space on The Strip right between New York-New York and Park MGM.

Like the other café locations, its theme is basically all-pink everything and a menu FULL of sweets. We're talking Hello Kitty-themed cakes, cookies, donuts, and ice cream, plus plenty of caffeinated drinks to keep you going: coffee, espresso, lemonade, iced tea, and milk tea. Restaurateur Andy Nguyen told FoodBeast other menu items could include character-shaped croissants and pistachio-filled Keroppi donuts.

For those looking to bring home a little HK merch, there will be mugs, T-shirts, baseball caps, keychains, and tote bags for sale, too.


Hello Kitty theme park to debut in China in 2014

A $215-million Hello Kitty theme park celebrating the cute cartoon cat with a cult-like following will open in China in 2014.

Construction is expected to begin in July on the 150-acre theme park in China’s Zhejiang province, about three hours west of Shanghai, according to China’s Xinhua news agency.

Plans for the first Hello Kitty theme park outside Japan closely follow the recent announcement of Shanghai Disneyland , set to open in late 2015 or early 2016.

With a million visitors expected annually, the new Hello Kitty park will be targeted at families with preteen children and young women who collect merchandise bearing the likeness of the white bobtail cat with the red bow.

The main entrance to the new Hello Kitty park will be topped by a skyscraping Ferris Wheel and flanked by nearly a dozen towers of varying heights, according to concept art released by the Hettema Group, a theme park design company. Pastel-colored rolling hills, giant leaves and oversized purple flowers will emphasize a nature theme found throughout the park.

An aerial view of the park shows seven themed lands with four bodies of water and a distinct lava-spewing volcano surrounded by a roller coaster. The new theme park will include 35 to 40 costumed Hello Kitty characters, according to the Hettema Group.

Since her 1974 debut, Kitty has spawned a global industry that sells tens of thousands of products, including dolls, clothes, televisions, toasters, wine and jewelry.

Parent company Sanrio currently operates two Hello Kitty theme parks in Japan: the 500,000-square-foot indoor Puroland just outside Tokyo and the 60-acre outdoor Harmonyland in the Kyushu prefecture on the southern end of the country.

For the uninitiated, a Hello Kitty theme park looks like a cross between Legoland , Thomas Town kiddie lands and Disneyland‘s Fantasyland, with a heavy dose of Japanese cute and cuddly “kawaii” kitsch.

Dubbed “The Cutest Place on Earth,” the theme parks offer rides, shows, movies, games and parades based on Hello Kitty and her friends My Melody, Cinnamoroll, Badtz-Maru and others.

Attractions at Puroland include:

* Sanrio Character Boat Ride (similar to Disneyland’s It’s a Small World)
* “Time Machine of Dreams” special effects 3-D film
* “Believe” parade
* “Hello Kitty in the Magical Land of Oz” musical revue
* Character meet-and-greet locations

Attractions at Harmonyland include:

* 200-foot-tall Wonder Panorama Ferris Wheel
* Rhythmic roller skating-themed coaster
* Lovely Angel kiddie coaster
* Sky Jet miniature monorail that riders operate themselves
* Sky Fun flying elephant ride (similar to Disney’s Dumbo)
* Strawberry Café teacups ride themed to Hello Kitty characters
* Double-decker Fairy Kitty carousel
* Pop’n Smile gondola ride
* 10-minute ride around the park on the Harmony train
* Water-themed “Aqua” parade
* “Noah” parade performed during the day and evening
* “Circle Life” nighttime spectacular with lasers, lights and fireworks
* “What a Commotion at Café Cinnamon” musical stage show

Explore California, the West and beyond with the weekly Escapes newsletter.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.


Hang & Eat: Hello Kitty Grand Cafe Brings Cuteness Overload

Hello Kitty is at it again—this time she’s set her sights on Irvine, Calif. The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe is the first and only permanent cafe in the United States featuring two immersion spaces. The approximately 600-square-foot Grand Cafe offers diners a casual setting with seating for 12 guests and a wide selection of delicious grab-n-go drinks and treats. The Bow Room, a hidden, private, 700-square-foot space, offers reservation-only tea service during the day. At night, the Bow Room becomes a chic adult cocktail lounge with a modern speakeasy vibe.

Hello Kitty brands

Within the Hello Kitty Cafe brand, there are currently four concepts that restaurateur Allan Tea, whose family runs many Capital Seafood Restaurants, helped bring to the U.S. market. Tea is responsible for bringing the Hello Kitty Cafe food truck and Hello Kitty Cafes to California. Besides Hello Kitty ventures, he is also the man behind the popular Paper Lantern dumpling restaurant in Irvine.

In addition to the new Hello Kitty Grand Cafe, there are two Hello Kitty Cafe Trucks that drive across the nation selling food coast-to-coast a Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up Container and various Hello Kitty Mini Cafes all offer limited-run food and drink experiences in various U.S. cities.

Currently, the Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up Container can be found at the Fashion Valley mall in San Diego, Calif., and the pop-up Hello Kitty Mini Cafe is located at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif.

“This is Hello Kitty’s first-ever brick-and-mortar concept that features something as unique as Afternoon Tea and Cocktail service,” Tea says about his latest project. “I’m so excited for people to see this. It’s been a long time coming, and I can’t wait for fans to check it out!”

The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe officially opened on September 14, 2018, but Hello Kitty has a cult following, so fans camped out for hours before the doors opened for the chance to be its first customers.

The Grand Cafe’s experience was designed to be a unique notch above other Hello Kitty dining concepts around the world. Each section of the Cafe is designed with social media photo-ops in mind. Unlike some of the other Hello Kitty cafes, the Grand Cafe has a more sophisticated ambiance. The cafe also has many exclusive items that can only be found at this location, such as the one-of-a-kind artwork created specially for the location.

The Grand Cafe has white marble floors and tables, a photo-ready Hello Kitty statue, and a cabinet of freshly baked Hello Kitty treats on display when you enter the cafe.

Alongside familiar and popular Hello Kitty Cafe menu offerings like the Hello Kitty sugar cookie, pocket pie and macarons, to name a few, the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe features exclusive new items, like made-to-order piping-hot donuts in flavors like cinnamon sugar, matcha, or cookies ‘n’ cream, and a pick-your-own four-piece set of Sanrio character mini cakes. In addition, the Cafe sells exclusive, new Hello Kitty paraphernalia like a gold bow-handle mug, and a sequined, pink and rose gold Chubby Bunny bow.

The best part of the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe is the secret entrance to the Bow Room, which is reminiscent of Disneyland’s Club 33. Its unmarked white door with only a bow sign is for reservation-only guests. In speakeasy fashion, guests must knock to be let in. The Bow Room at the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe offers high tea service during the day and converts to a cocktail lounge for guests 21 and up after 5 p.m.

The Afternoon Tea Service, which includes an impressive tea selection from special blends to herbal offerings, costs $55 per person and is available Wednesday through Sunday. It includes seasonal fruit, savory tea sandwiches, and Hello Kitty sweets. Not surprisingly, everything is Hello Kitty themed, from the plates, cups and teapots, to the honey, strawberry jam and whipped butter.

At night, the reservation-only cocktail service offers a wide range of adult Hello Kitty themed cocktails. Bartenders are dressed in Hello Kitty aprons and pour tasty drinks. In addition to the specialty cocktails, the Bow Room also offers a Hello Kitty wine list. The drinks are well mixed and not too cloyingly sweet.

The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe is a quality concept, and it is evident that the food, drink, and décor were perfected to reflect the Hello Kitty brand. The Cafe offers upscale fun with sophisticated yet playful Hello Kitty touches, and should appeal to Hello Kitty fans and non-fans alike. Case in point: Since it opened its doors, both the tea service and cocktail bar have been fully booked well into October. The cocktail service and tea program are open Wednesday through Sundays, at the time of this article’s writing.

So where is Hello Kitty going next?

“Every time we open something, there’s always something bigger and better coming. So, I’ll just have to say stay on your toes. There’s always something else we have up our sleeves,” teased Tea.

The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe is located inside the Irvine Spectrum Center at 860 Spectrum Center Dr., Irvine, California, 92618.


China's Forbidden City forbids selfie sticks

The labyrinthine palace from which emperors ruled China for hundreds of years has issued a decree banishing a distinctly 21st century invader: the selfie stick.

Officials at Beijing's Forbidden City, which is officially known as the Palace Museum, said their partial ban of the devices was designed to protect both those visiting the tourist site and the priceless relics it contains.

"Selfie sticks will cause safety concerns, whether for tourists or the exhibits," Shen Lixia, deputy director of tourist reception at the museum, said according to the China Daily. "It may touch the glass exhibition case and cause damage to the cultural relics."

The Forbidden City contained "many narrow passageways and staircases – where the sticks could cause problems," the newspaper added.

Built in the 15th century, the Forbidden City was home to the Ming and Qing dynasties and is now one of China's top tourist attractions.

More than 14 million tourists flock to the museum each year, according to state media, although officials said they would begin limiting the number of visitors last year because of fears that irreparable damage was being done.

An explosion in the use of the selfie stick has compounded those fears.

Few countries have embraced the device with such enthusiasm as China.

There are more than 19,300 different models for sale on Taobao, China's answer to eBay, with the most sophisticated ones costing up to 757 yuan (£82).

There are Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse-themed selfie sticks, and even ultralight carbon fibre selfie sticks that vendors claim are strong enough to lift up not just smartphones but also cans of beer.

Selfie sticks even made an appearance at Beijing's annual parliament, which ended on Sunday, with dozens of Chinese reporters using them to capture the action.

However, the device's omnipresence is now being challenged with a sequence of tourist sites, including the Nanjing Museum, the Hubei Museum of Art and now the Forbidden City, introducing partial or complete bans.

In an editorial the state-run Global Times conceded that "the errant swipe of a selfie stick" had the potential to end in tears and broken porcelain.

However, "putting a formal ban on its use seems an unfriendly move," the newspaper added.

The Forbidden City's move comes just days after London's National Gallery outlawed the "Narcisstick" in order to "protect paintings, individual privacy and the overall visitor experience".

The British Museum is reportedly reviewing its selfie strick policy.

Music venues including the Brixton Academy and Wembley Area have also banned the instrument on health and safety grounds.


Chicago foodie girl

Those who really know me (and those who follow my awesome board on Pinterest) know that I am a massive Hello Kitty lover. I've been a fan and collector of Hello Kitty awesomeness since I was a wee one in the in suburbs of Michigan back then, I had no idea that my love would follow me well into adulthood. When I was a kid, it was all about having everything Hello Kitty - no matter what it was, if I had HK's face on it (or any of her adorable friends' faces), I had to have it! While I still have a large collection, it is definitely more refined and fab (ranging from this adorable toaster that gives you the cutest toast ever to my gorgeous HK diamond studs Mario gave me for our anniversary) than it was back in the day.

Being a Hello Kitty super fan, of course, as soon as I heard the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck was making its way to the Chicago-area, you know I immediately cleared my schedule, rallied my Hello Kitty-lovin' friends, and prepared myself for a day of extreme cuteness and sweetness (there may have even been some high pitched excited girlie squealing involved). I mean, how could I not get mega excited?! Hello Kitty and food?! Best day ever!

The (totally adorable!) Hello Kitty Cafe Truck has been traveling around the U.S. and stopping at various festivals and events since its debut at Hello Kitty Con in October 2014.

I mean, how cute is their license plate?! Omg!

Despite the fact that it was crazy hot and humid, thousands of people showed over the course of two days to snag their limited-edition Hello Kitty swag (at one point, the line was up to three hours - HK fans are hardcore!).

Some people even went all out with their kawaii awesomeness!

Even the cafe truck servers were super cute!

Along with food, the truck was hauling plenty of adorable Hello Kitty goods, including this ridiculously awesome foodie-themed shirt.

I may have gotten super excited and walked with one a few of everything!

a set of strawberry, green tea, oolong, yuzu, and orange Hello Kitty macarons.

Of course, I couldn't walk away without the keepsake cafe truck bottle and pin, along with the cutest water bottle shaped like Hello Kitty's signature bow!

As they promised, it was a day of super cute fun and treats! Really, there was just so! much! cuteness! We had a fantastic time living the Hello Kitty life and can't wait until the truck returns with all-new Hello Kitty awesomeness. maybe they'll even consider Chicago for the next Hello Kitty pop-up cafe?! (A Hello Kitty fan can dream!)

Want to visit the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck? Get the latest updates and track the scheduled stops on their Facebook page.


Sima: Recipe for Finnish Fermented Lemonade

I enjoy cooking, but the things that really excite me are what I call my “food experiments,” fermented or cultured products that rely on the complex interplay of yeast, bacteria, sugar, and oxygen. We regularly brew beer, make kombucha (a fermented tea), yogurt, kimchi, pickles, and sauerkraut all from scratch. Each batch is different, you never know exactly how they will turn out. I have a great fermented foods cookbook called Wild Fermentation with these and many other recipes. It’s written by a quirky guy with a big mustache named Sandor Katz. Katz goes by the nickname, “Sandorkraut,” and crafts all kinds of traditional fermented foods and beverages at his home, on a hippy commune somewhere in the mountains of Tennessee. He lives with HIV and considers eating probiotic, fermented and cultured foods essential to his continued health. I’d love to sit down with this guy over a glass of home-brewed kombucha one day!


So when I came across this Finnish recipe for a fermented lemonade (oh, the things you find on Pinterest!), I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it. This drink, called “sima” is traditionally brewed in Finland on May 1 to celebrate the arrival of spring. It’s the easiest recipe I’ve ever seen for a home fermented beverage, with things that you probably already have in your kitchen.

I was curious about the use of ordinary bread yeast, and the purpose of the raisins–are they there for flavor? To provide more yeast/bacteria? Or just to let you know when its ready (because they rise to the top)? Who knows, it’s certainly a rustic recipe and I can easily imagine old Finnish grandmothers making it in their kitchens.

It’s very slightly alcoholic (<1%), but gets more so the longer you ferment it. It was seriously effervescent and quite refreshing, though with a distinct yeastiness. I’m going to experiment with using other types of yeasts (beer starters, etc.) next time to see how it affects the flavor.

At any rate, this Sima recipe is a good, easy introduction to the world of home fermentation, so give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

Day 1: As fermentation begins

Day 3, when I considered it ready and moved it to the refrigerator. The raisins had risen to the top and the pressure was intense when I opened the bottle.


Don’t Get Pinched! Last-Minute Ideas for St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day sneaks up on me every year! I always have grand ideas of printables, parties, and food….until life gets in the way. It’s too late to order all those awesome items from etsy and every pinterest idea you’ve saved takes DAYS to complete. You can stay home and hideout from the welts and flashes of pain, or you can decide that no Irish rouge is going to keep you away from your favorite local bar! Here are some quick ideas that will keep you pinch-free this St. Paddy’s Day.


Hello Kitty Castle

Finally, the world-famous Japanese character gets a proper home…in China.

Now loyal Hello Kitty fans from around the world can start their pilgrimage to the Hello Kitty Castle that was inaugurated in Shanghai. Not much I can say about this place, it’s very pink and girly-like and, judging by the popularity of Hello Kitty, it might just become the new Mecca.

One thing that would fit perfectly in the Hello Kitty Castle is the Hell-Kitty Rifle, an AR-15 rifle personalized by a Californian weapon enthusiast.