This summer, I had the opportunity to spend eight weeks in Beijing. Although I cannot count how many times it upset my stomach afterward, the delicious, cheap local food we ate every day was one of the best parts of my summer. I knew beforehand about China’s diverse cultures, but I did not expect that there would be so many kinds of food, from spicy Sichuan and Hunan cuisine, and even to Islamic Xinzhan cuisine. But what was arguably the most interesting, and frankly, most unappetizing of all was the excrement-themed cuisine I had at House of Poo Poo.
From its name to its interior and menu, the restaurant does not compromise. When you walk in through the poo-shaped doors, a mini-toilet — complete with fake poo inside — greets you as you go up a staircase to get to the restaurant on the second floor. Inside, customers sit on toilets with lids instead of chairs, and every kind of toilet and bathroom accessory imaginable adorns the walls. The chains of colorful Abercrombie flip-flops that hang from the ceiling reminds you of China’s obsession with Western brands.
As the waiter took us to our seats, she showed us the (of course) poop-shaped menu. Perhaps because they get quite a few foreign customers, the helpful menu has both Chinese and English. Between me and two friends, we ordered:
Toilet curry chicken with rice
The new “shit” generation of basil pasta
Black pepper beef pasta
Marton No. 2 super constipation black dry shit
Toilet curry chicken with rice 3/5
The set up was impressive, with the curry in a removable bowl inside a mini-toilet, though disappointingly, the waitress took away the toilet as soon as we took the bowl out and started eating. The Japanese style, stew-like curry had a pretty generic flavor, but my friend who ordered it seemed somewhat happy with his meal.
The new “shit” generation of basil pasta 2.5/5
Both pastas came in plates shaped like squat-toilets (these toilets can be seen everywhere in China and other Asian countries). Since these plates do not have removable plates, customers have to literally eat out of a toilet. The waitress claimed that the basil pasta was very popular, but we were somewhat disappointed; to quote my friend who ordered it, the dish “tastes too much like a microwave meal.”
Black pepper beef pasta 2.7/5
Similar to the basil pasta, inside a squat-toilet shaped plate was spaghetti sautéed with chunks of beef and sliced bell peppers, seasoned with soy sauce and black pepper. The dish was solid but somewhat lacking. Although the black pepper added a slight kick, the taste was still bland. I could imagine this dish being served in a college dining hall somewhere.
Marton No. 2 Super constipation black dry shit 2/5
We ordered it intrigued by the name, and when the waitress brought the dish, we could definitely see why it was named so. A mountain of chocolate-flavored shaved ice sat in a squat-toilet shaped plate with various toppings and a scoop of chocolate ice cream. Shaved ice is usually a favorite summer dessert of mine, but the chocolate flavoring on the ice tasted too artificial, and the ice cream on the side did not taste very much like chocolate. This portions for this particular dish were huge — even bigger than the pasta or curry, and although we shared it among three people, we couldn’t even finish half of it.
Overall, the food at this restaurant was average at best, and not something that I would normally pay money to eat. However, the unique theme and decor more than made up for the mediocre food. If you are curious, the lengths this restaurant goes to in order to be faithful to its theme is quite astonishing. I would highly recommend that everyone go this restaurant, if for the ambiance rather than the food.