Up for a crazy new dining experience? Step inside Beijing’s Whale Belly Dark Restaurant where diners eat in pitch-black darkness.
Waiters in military-grade night vision goggles greet you at the door and lead you through dark corridors into pitch-black dining halls where scents, sounds, textures, and tastes are accentuated to an extraordinary mealtime experience. Cellphones, lighters, glow-in-the dark watches, and other luminous or shiny items are kept in security lockers to optimize the experience.
The dark restaurant idea first arose in Zurich in 1999 as an effort to provide jobs for the blind and handicapped. The concept then spread across the world under the Blind-Liecht foundation as a new twist on conceptual dining. Whale Belly Dark Restaurant is the first dark restaurant in Asia which opened in 2007.
Not only do guests enjoy a heightened sense of flavor, but also lowered social inhibitions. Practical jokes are sometimes committed by more daring diners. If you’re one of them, just act fast enough not to attract any of those watchful waiters’s attention, else you could get detained by flinging a spoonful of shiitake mushrooms. You know how the Chinese are.