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Diners developing a taste for table-for-one trend

By Zhang Yangfei | China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-24 10:59
[Photo provided by Eat Solo]

Instead of rows of tables that can seat four or more people, the restaurant has just one long table divided into individual booths by boards. When seated, diners face a small curtain-covered window, where the food is served anonymously. Each booth contains coat hangers and charging sockets.

"I wanted to let our customers know that a single person also needs to eat well, so I designed things this way to make them feel less ashamed about eating alone. One person can eat out and enjoy it," said Li Le, the owner.

Many diners have left supportive comments about the eatery on Dazhong Dianping, an online restaurant review platform. "With one person, one booth, eating alone is no longer embarrassing. A bowl of fragrant rice with a bowl of refreshing mung bean soup provides a very comfortable dinner here," commented a customer called Kobayashi1214.

Li's restaurant isn't the only one to feature "isolated dining". Eateries boasting the concept, which originated in Japan, have sprung up in many cities including Shanghai, Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, and Shenzhen and Guangzhou, both in Guangdong province.

Kong Yanling is a big fan of singles-friendly restaurants. The 25-year-old unattached Xi'an resident remembers passing a Korean-style chicken restaurant a few years ago and deciding to drop in.

However, the waitress at the door told her the restaurant only served large, shared platters. Kong took the hint and left.

She has also found herself dining with strangers involuntarily when waiters have asked if she minded other people sharing her table.

"I don't mind eating alone, but sometimes things like that really bugged me. I am very happy to see more singles-friendly restaurants appearing so there is more choice when eating out," she said.

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