Japan's popular restaurant for the lonely has opened an outpost in Hong Kong. According to CNN, the Moomin Cafe serves as a space for single diners to eat with stuffed animals so that they don't feel so alone. While some restaurants embrace solo dining, Moomin Cafe prefers to save people from the "the awkward perils of solo dining." To do this, a plush Moomin character — a white hippo-like creature popular in Finnish stories — is sat at the table "as a dining companion."
The first Moomin cafe opened in Tokyo in 2003. Since then, three more cafes have opened in the city, alongside six Moomin-themed coffee stands. While the original Moomin Cafe has been open for 11 years, it only became incredibly popular earlier this year after "anti-loneliness" went viral.
There are differences between the Japanese cafes and the Hong Kong outpost. A cafe spokesperson tells CNN: "Unlike Japan's anti-loneliness cafes, Moomin characters will be placed at various tables and joining a Moomin character will be up to luck." The Hong Kong location will also feature three characters not found in Japan.
The Moomin Cafe in Hong Kong has been designed to look like a traditional Finnish house, with photographs of Finland as well as "hand drawn artwork of Moomins." The menu is also Finnish: Diners can order items like venison soup, salmon milk soup, potato and onion gratin, a salad with pickled herring, and a traditional bread called Piirakka.