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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Flying chickens, robot waiters: bizarre dining in Bangkok

AFP  Bangkok, July 03, 2013
First Published: 11:27 IST(3/7/2013) | Last Updated: 14:28 IST(3/7/2013)
From chickens catapulted across tables to meals dished up with a generous portion of sexual health advice, Bangkok is doing a roaring trade in unusual dining experiences.
   

The Thai capital, renowned as much for its commitment to fun as it is for fiery cuisine, has embraced the odd, amusing and bizarre in a bid to lure customers through the door.
   
In the city suburbs, staff at Ka Tron restaurant delight customers by loading cooked chickens into a catapult and firing them across a stage where they are caught on a spike by a waiter riding a unicycle.
   
Despite the pressure that comes with live performance, their catch rate is impressive.
   
"We have been going 26 years and we have probably fired hundreds of thousands of chickens, but we have only dropped a few hundred," said restaurant owner Nattaset Rattanapipob.
   
It may be far from an everyday restaurant job, but the waiters say the trick seems to be working for the punters.

Costumers being served by a robot at the Hajime robot restaurant in Bangkok. Photo: AFP/ Nicolas Asfouri

   
"The way we do things is better," said waiter Sorasak Pomkalong.
   
Across town a Japanese restaurant has deployed its own gimmick -- two large robots wheel up and down the tables delivering meals to diners.
   
Once the novelty wears off, customers at Hajime can then order the robots to dance.
   
But as with all things mechanical, robot waiters come with a risk of malfunction.
   
"During the first few hours of the day if the robot is stuck we have the support teams standing by," said Pimol Paitaku, marketing manager at Hajime restaurant. "Most of the time though it works."

Waiter on a one wheel bicycle catching with a plate, a flying chicken sent by a catapult at the Ka-tron restaurant in Bangkok. Photo: AFP/ Nicolas Asfouri

   
Bangkok has plenty of unique dining experiences including Cabbages and Condoms -- which serves sexual health and family planning advice alongside noodles -- with the tagline 'our food is guaranteed not to get you pregnant.'
   
To emphasise the point, once customers have paid they get their changed returned with a complimentary condom.
   
And while Thais are serious about their food, people in the City of Angels appear willing to try anything.
   
"They are looking for unique experiences, whether that is something no-one else has eaten or some kind of performance, or something that attracts the eye," said food blogger Dwight 'Bkk Fatty' Turner.
   
"So I think all of those things combined makes Bangkok a very special city to eat in."

A robot holding plates of food to be served to costumers at the Hajime robot restaurant in Bangkok. Photo: AFP/ Nicolas Asfouri

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