07 August 2009
Hooters China: A Post LONG Overdue
So Moglie did such a good job these past few months writing about our trip to China last November, that I felt little need to blog about my experiences there, or my trips to London and Zambia that followed. She's been reminding me that I still need blog about the trip, and at the very least post about our trip to Hooters in Shanghai.
So, what would motivate us to visit a beacon of American "culture and cuisine" in the megalopolis of modernity Far East?
One word: MarfDirt (Hi Marf!).
Knowing that he is a big fan of Hooters Restaurants in the US, we wanted to send him something special from our trip to China, we thought we'd get him a Hooters Passport stamp and t-shirt.
Well, finding this place wasn't exactly easy. Even though it opened in late 2004, it seemed like many people didn't really know that it was there at all. It's quite a long walk from the train station, and you really have to know where you're going. The restaurant is located inside a pretty big shopping mall. It took us a while to figure out how to get to the restaurant, but along the way we found Dairy Queen, and took the opportunity to each have a cone for our efforts. It must've done the trick, because it wasn't long before we found the place!
I've since read articles that say you need a reservation to get a table if you plan on coming in before 10pm. I guess that now that it'd been 4 years since the opening, it's no longer the case-- we walked into a sleepy restaurant practically overstaffed with tiny, scantily-clad Chinese girls in tiny orange running shorts, and flesh-toned pantyhose (those things must be a nightmare in the summer!).
We were ushered to a table almost immediately by the seriously friendly waitresses. We peruse the menu, and really it's pretty Hooters-standard, and we know why everyone goes to Hooters in the first place: WINGS! That was exactly what I wanted to eat, buffalo wings and a coke.
While we were eating, we noticed that there was one other person in the restaurant. The waitresses started serenading him with the repertoire of "hooters favorites." I managed to catch them on film, so check it out.
When they saw that I was recording their song to another patron, they quickly filed over to serenade Moglie and I with one of my favorite old-time songs:
China's Hooters girls really love their jobs! And while they may not "measure up" to your typical American Hooters Girl, these girls bring the dedication and pride in their work that the Chinese are known for...you just don't find that among many Americans in the service industry anymore. In one article I read , the waitresses really enjoy what they do, and look at it as an opportunity to practice their English, meet people, and earn tips when normally tip-making is not allowed. When the restaurant first opened, 80 of 1,000 applicants were selected. Apparently Hooters China prides itself on finding beautiful, open-minded Chinese girls to put in their tiny tanks and shorts. At first, many people were concerned about the dress code, arguing that it was too scant for Chinese taste. Although looking out onto the streets and in the clubs of Shanghai, you'll see many more women wearing even less than the Hooters girls in Shanghai.
When we finished our meal there, I took a picture with a few the girls before buying Adam's t-shirt. I think that finding this restaurant was really one of my favorite (and surprising!) parts of Shanghai (besides the pearls, and the hostel, and the shopping, and everything else I liked about it), really it just adds to the list of reasons why Shanghai was one of my favorites.