I don’t like reviews. Wait, let me rephrase that…I don’t like other people’s reviews. As some (about 3) of you will know, I used to review ‘The O.C.’ when it was on TV. I would sit with my laptop on my knee and type out exactly what was happening in the show, as I watched it. I was really proud of the fact that I could type roughly 1500 words during the 45 minute programme, and I worked out that after having reviewed fifteen episodes of this historic drama, I had surpassed my literary output as a student of French with Italian at University.

Anyway, I digress. So we went to the Matsuri123 Food Stadium in Shanghai. You don’t believe that a place could have such a cool name? BELIEVE IT! It’s on the sign.

So the concept of this place is in the name: it’s a stadium of food. Usually, stadiums (screw you stadia disciples) have something going on in the middle, like a football match or maybe a rock concert…well this one just has food. All sorts of food.

To say that the food choice in the Matsuri123 stadium is comprehensive would be a lie, however, the selection is huge. Wait, I’m digressing again…let’s start at the beginning.

The place looks exactly what I think it would look like if I were kidnapped by Japanese Akira-bred aliens…weird shapes everywhere, a mixture of bright lights and colours and shapes. On the way in to the restaurant (you pay the 199rmb ‘all you can eat all you can drink’ fee before you enter…which just adds to the impression that you’re heading into Alton Towers on a sunny September day) is a ‘time tunnel’-esque chamber, surrounded by TVs showing a Japanese man sitting playing Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’ on accoustic guitar. The Alien-style sliding door then opens to reveal…a Japanese man sitting playing Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’ on accoustic guitar, inside the restaurant. Ok, you’ve got my attention.

So now, find a table.


There are booths dotted seemingly at random around the stadium (it still feels funny to write ‘stadium’ when describing this place, but then maybe it felt strange when people first wrote ‘heterosexual’ near Tom Cruise’s name after seeing Top Gun, so I’ll try to let it go…), and exist either as private dining rooms or out in the open. We chose the latter as we wanted to stare drunkenly at any hot girls we saw, in the vain hope that they would misinterpret our evil intentions as a ‘look of honesty’, come over and offer us their phone numbers. They didn’t.

So, table chosen, time to get in the game. There were around 20 different ‘booths’ in the stadium, each offering a different type of food. Here is what I remember off-hand:

Dry noodles
Soup noodles
Stir fried food

Teppenyaki style grilled meat
Ice cream

Fruit

Alcohol (I swear I just typed ‘Alcogol’…)

Sushi (conveyor belt)

Sashimi


Cutlets (Is that the right word? Basically breadcrumbed meat)

Little cakes
Shellfish
English stuff (Roast beef and spuds anyone?!)

Pizza
Pasta
Ricey things

Ok I can’t remember any more, but you get the impression: If you like food, then they’ve got you covered.

So now’s the time – walk around and take whatever you want. Just take it. It’s all included in the 199rmb price tag. I actually felt like a child who’s been given an amazingly large amount of money (when I was young that amounts to around £20) and been introduced to the biggest and best grotto (that means Greens toyshop in Gainsborough) and let loose to pick up as he wanted.

I made a bee-line to the teppenyaki griller! FILLET STEAK PLEASE! FILLET STEAK PLEASE! No problem. Over to the sashimi…TUNA PLEASE! TUNA PLEASE! Here you go Sir.

Crap…too much choice. I love pork cutlet. I love chicken cutlet. Do I order one? Both? What if I fill up on cutlet and have no room for more steak? Do I like steak more than cutlet? I think I do…but have I ever really ranked the foods I like in order of preference? Shoudn’t I try something new? Wait…NO! Of course not! I should have what I want! But I have what I want every day…branch out! Grab the crab legs! The cra…WTF?! Ok they do look pretty sweet…wait a second who are you? I’m inside you.

I’m your mind. Have I gone schizophrenic?! No of course not! Don’t worry mate! Oh gawd….

### Blackout ###

When I came round, I was back at my table, with a really nice selection of food:

Just as I was about to tuck in, the waitress arrived. The food looked and smelled great, but how were they going to handle us with the booze? Perfectly, that’s how!

Waitress: ‘Cocktail menu Sir?’
Me: ‘Oh hellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll yeah’

Gin, tonic and orange. I don’t know what its name is in the cocktail world, but I’m going to name it the ‘MASTABLASTA'(tm Falco).

Crisp, strong, free (well, included in the price of entry) and a great compliment to the plum wine, beer and sake shots that we’d also started. This was a marathon, and I was Paula Radcliffe (without the pissing in the street).

After finishing Round 1, it was right back to the booths for more. The steak had been tender and delicious, the cutlet (I shared one of each with the rest of the table) was fantastic, the tempura prawns were a bit too batter-y (I added a hyphen (or is it a dash?) because I don’t think you can use the phrase ‘ too battery’ and make people understand that you mean ‘with excess batter’) and all of the other stuff was just great too.

I was drunk on food (and alcohol). I ordered another double serving of fillet steak, salmon, more sashimi, more cutlets(!), some sushi…and the frequent breaks between ‘courses’ meant that I was not prematurely filling up as I often do when eating out. I didn’t feel the ‘pressure’ of finishing my plates, which meant that I was finishing plate after plate after plate!

When I thought I had finished, my body would send me a message saying ‘what about that melon I saw over there?’ or ‘I could kill for a bit of ice-cream!’. So I obliged…I obeyed my master. I was a drone to eating…and I have seldom been happier during or after a meal. Or fatter.

Since only about 5 people will actually make it to the bottom here, I thought I’d put this awesome pic of masks on the wall inside Matsuri 123! GRTZ2UM8!

One Comment


  1. looking forward for more information about this. thanks for sharing. Eugene

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