SINGAPORE - Singapore's first Hello Kitty-themed cafe opened on Thursday (May 12), drawing hundreds of people to Changi Airport's Terminal 3. Some were in the queue at 7am, many hours before the 11.30am opening time.
The 84-seat Hello Kitty Orchid Garden Cafe, with Hello Kitty shaped furniture, pays tribute to the popular character, part of Japanese company Sanrio's roster of cute creatures. Diners can head to a photo-taking area with a statuette of the cat.
First in line were Ms Maureen Setyadi, in her 30s, and Ms Jaden Ang, in her 20s. They made a trip to the airport at 11pm on Wednesday to check out the cafe.
"We are very big fans of Hello Kitty. We also queued for Hello Kitty plush toys at McDonald's," said Ms Setyadi, who is unemployed.
She was given a plush toy and her friend received a postcard, as gifts for being the cafe's first customers.
The cafe is also the world's first Hello Kitty-themed cafe that is open round the clock, and is located in the public area of Changi Terminal 3.
It has a retail section which sells merchandise featuring the cat. Also available are 500 limited-edition plush toys designed for Singapore, which cost $49.90 each.
Hello Kitty sports a red and white striped bow, echoing the colours of the Singapore flag.
Ms Mandy Liew, 58, who visited the cafe with her husband, bought four of the plush toys.
"I just love Hello Kitty so much. My cups, bedsheets and curtains are all Hello Kitty-themed," she said.
When asked if she was going to sell her plush toys, she said: "No, of course not. I will display them at home."
Engineer Anne Lee, 36, said she has been a fan since she was a child. She queued for four hours to get into the cafe. She added that she has all the limited-edition Hello Kitty collectibles. She and her boyfriend snapped up four of the plush toys.
"I live in Yishun and woke up at 6am to get here early," she added.
Dishes on the menu are Singapore-inspired, such as the wagyu beef rendang. Prices of main course dishes range from $15 to $24.
Many customers The Straits Time spoke to said they enjoyed the food.
Ms Ki Ki Leong, 33, a hawker assistant, said: "The food here tastes better than what's offered in other Hello Kitty cafes in Thailand and Korea, and it is affordably priced. I will definitely be back again."