Taiwan has taken originality to a whole new level with Modern Toilet, originally Marton, the world’s first toilet themed restaurant! Marton, meaning toilet in Chinese, features Bathtubs that are tables, toilet bowls that are seats, showerheads and urinals as wall decorations, and bedpans as dining utensils, even the serving pieces are shaped like sinks and commodes, complete with fake poop on the side in a somewhat shocking combination that challenges most people’s senses. It’s enough to make the most traveled gourmand perform a double take.
Owner Eric Wang, who gave up his banking career in 2004 to launch the business, says “We not only sell food but also laughter. The food is just as good as any restaurant but we offer additional fun. Most customers think the more disgusting and exaggerated the funnier the dining experience is.
It all started when Wang was reading the popular Japanese manga, Dr. Slump on the toilet – and the rest is history.” To make sure his investment wouldn’t go down the drain, Wang initially tested the water for the toilet theme by peddling ice cream in toilet-shaped cones in street booths. It was an immediate sensation and he sold up to 1,000 ice-cream cones daily for ¥30 each ($1.20) – 5 to 10 Yen higher than a regular ice cream. “The success with ‘toilet ice cream’ was a leap of faith for me to quit the stable but boring banking job and start my business despite strong objections from my family,” he says.
Though a bathroom theme seems like a peculiar way to stimulate the appetites of diners, the idea has been so successful Eric opened a second and bigger branch just seven months later. The young entrepreneur, along with his partners, has expanded his business from just an ice cream store a full fledged themed restaurant and has branched to other cities on the island though franchising and adding more items to the menu. “After the curiosity fades, we have to hold on to customers with upgraded food and services,” Wang says. By offering entertainment as part of the dining experience, they show consumers that “The toilet’s is not just a toilet” and leave them with a more favorable impression of Modern Toilet.
The surprise factor of this eccentric restaurant’s food presentation attracts many local and foreign customers, making this a very busy place on weekdays and weekends. Customers are eager to eat food off plates and bowls shaped like Western loo seats as well as Japanese squat toilets. The restaurant’s Toilet Bowl Curry Rice is Taiwanese style curry that is mild and familiar to many people. Their Classic No.1 to No.13 Set Meals feature generous amounts of shaved ice combined with their own brand of soft-serve ice cream, covered in a choice of fruit or chocolate sauces. Just looking at this tasty combo has many drooling. The top orders on the menu are award winning curry hot pot, curry chicken rice and chocolate ice cream because, well, “they look most like the real thing,” Says Wang.
So next time you are in Taiwan, visit this place and have your food from a western loo.