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We Tried The Food At The Hello Kitty Restaurant In Hong Kong

Kawaii Chinese dumplings? Yes please!

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1. Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine opened in Hong Kong just two months ago, and everyone is excited.

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In addition to coverage from local magazines, venerable institutions such as CNN and Time have written pieces on the restaurant. Reporters from a radio station in Germany flew out just to visit the restaurant. That's a 12-hour flight each way.

4. The most popular dishes are (surprise surprise) the dumplings.

Tom Lee

The "lau sa bau" (centre) is filled with runny egg custard and the "har gau" (left) is a shrimp dumpling encased in rice flour. The yellow one is a "ma lai go" sponge cake (right). They have been photographed a LOT.

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5. The restaurant was founded by entrepreneur Man Kwong.

Tom Lee for BuzzFeed

The entrepreneur has been running a health magazine for the past six years, and had the idea for a Hello Kitty restaurant just over two years ago, he tells BuzzFeed Life.

6. Kwong says the restaurant's success is all due to the fans.

Tom Lee for BuzzFeed

"Hello Kitty is a young and famous icon. I wanted to choose something that's easy to promote to her fans", says Kwong. "But the response has been 500 times better than I expected. It's all down to the merit of Hello Kitty".

The clientele at the restaurant is 75 percent female.

7. The food is surprisingly good for you.

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With founder Kwong's background in the health industry, he makes sure to use healthy ingredients such as organic veggies, coconut oil and goji juice. The dishes are also low in oil and salt compared to regular Chinese restaurants. This dish is saffron fried rice with shredded chicken in apple sauce.

8. All the details are made with natural colouring.

Tom Lee

No e-numbers here. Hello Kitty's bow is made from rice flour and coloured with beetroot and corn. For her eyes and whiskers, the chefs use squid ink.

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16. Though you are paying a premium to eat Hello Kitty's face.

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The har gau dumplings cost HK$68 (£5.70) – the ones at the Peninsula hotel's Spring Moon restaurant are slightly cheaper at HK$64 (£5.40).

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17. This is Master Law, the head dumpling chef.

Hello Kitty Chinese Cuisine

He has 40 years experience in the restaurant industry, and has worked in Chinese restaurants in Japan and Hong Kong. We are seriously digging the golden Hello Kitty patch on his chef's whites.

18. Making Hello Kitty-shaped dim sum is harder than it looks.

Tom Lee for BuzzFeed

"Each dumpling takes twice as long to make compared to a regular dumpling", Kwong tells BuzzFeed Life. "There are 17 steps to decorating each one. Chinese chefs have a different working culture; they are trained to make everything fast, hot and delicious. We have to explain our dreams and goals to them, and convince them to slow down and pay attention to detail."

19. In fact, the whole project was tricky to pull together.

Tom Lee for BuzzFeed

From conception to completion, it took 18 months to get the restaurant up and running. This is partly because executives from Sanrio, which owns the Hello Kitty brand, had to fly from Japan to taste and approve every dish, from the type of ingredients used to the taste and even the plating. Kwong says the process was "very painful".

BTW check out the 3D bow in this prawn dish; it's made with red bell pepper.

20. Labour of love is an understatement.

Tom Lee for BuzzFeed

The restaurant nearly broke Kwong. "You can see the level of persistence in my eyes. In this year-and-a-half, I have been very depressed, and thought of giving up several times. But still, the next day I would pick up again and keep going. I had to recruit chefs, hire a manager... all since last November. I had to pay the rent on this premises. There were a lot of costs."

21. But it's all been worth it.

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"It's my reward when the customers pick up their cameras and I see their smiling faces. Some even scream when they see the dumplings," says Kwong.