Pop Culture

A (Truncated, Non-Exhaustive) History of Hello Kitty Food

October  6, 2016

Have you heard the news? Hello Kitty, Sanrio's mouthless figurehead who is not a cat, will be adorning wine bottles. Italian winemaker Torti, the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this week, fused its business brain with Sanrio's to launch some new Hello Kitty-themed wines in quite a few flavors, ranging from sparkling blush ("Sweet Pink") to sparkling white ("Cupido") to plain old white ("Charmy") to rosé ("Lady"). The grapes have been harvesting since 2007, when the two companies struck up their partnership, so this has been a long time coming. Look at how pretty it is:

Sweet Pink 🎀 #hellokittyhousebangkok #hellokittywine

A photo posted by Official Hello Kitty Wines (@hellokittywine) on

Wow. The wine was made mostly for European and Asian markets, meaning only one restaurant in the States has gotten its "paws" on the wine: Antonello Ristorante in Santa Ana, California. The restaurant's owner hasn't taken this burden lightly, crafting food in Hello Kitty's likeness to pair with the wine. There's a menu replete with watermelon shaped like Hello Kitty served alongside microgreens, and pink bowtie pasta shaped like Hello Kitty's, ahem, bowtie. Amazing.

I am far from Santa Ana, though, and too strapped for cash to go all the way there to experience this myself. But I won't "whine" about it! Here are some other places people have consumed Hello Kitty's face throughout the years:

  • The traveling Hello Kitty Cafe Truck, currently stationed in Texas, has these bountiful Hello Kitty minicakes. They look quite good, though I've never had cubic minicakes before. Is this an issue? I hope not!
  • Speaking of the Hello Kitty Truck, there's a Yelp reviewer who really loves the Hello Kitty Pop-Tart. Here's what she has to say about it: "hello kitty pop tart- if you love pop tarts, you'll love this one!" Whoa! That's quite shocking to hear, and markedly different from what I expected from a Hello Kitty Pop-Tart. Will check it out.
  • Hm. What's that dusty little coating of latte art over there? Why, it's Hello Kitty! There's her face, outlined for our consumption. Don't give me a latte like this; I will never drink it, because I'd like to keep her face forever.
  • "There's nothing sweeter than this Hello Kitty Lips Candy grape," Asian Food Grocer claims. You know what? They're right. I love Morinaga candies, so chewy they are. May all candies be lip candies.
  • I'm not loving the eyes on this Hello Kitty Mango Mousse; they are opaque and brooding, like the eyes of a murderer. That's okay, though. I will just eat that part first!
  • I haven't had these Hello Kitty Wasabi Squid Chips, because I'm allergic to fish, and it's got cuttlefish powder as an ingredient. But they're remembered fondly in some corners. "These oddly shaped crisps were fairly thick and had various shades of beige," one fan remembers, "With a few subtle dark green things embedded inside." Nice.
  • Let's stay in the universe of chips! These Hello Kitty Nori Chips aren't shaped at all like the character in question. But before you declare this a ruse, the tin canister they come in is plastered with her face. It looks quite nice.
  • There she is! Hello Kitty's face on an apple pie, glazed and golden brown, braided to perfection. Love to see her visage smacked atop one of grandma's tarty delights. This is perhaps the most appetizing of the samplings I've encountered thus far.
  • Spice up your ramen with some bits of Hello Kitty's head, little white tablets that swim in broth. Hm. I'm not so sure about this one. Have you had this? I haven't been able to find out what they actually tasted like.
  • Now this I don't like. I have been staring at this Hello Kitty Pocket Pie for five minutes and I'm wondering—where's her face? What have you done to my sweet girl? Why would you obscure her feline features? Bring them back, I say!

Candies, snacks, pastries, noodles—she's everywhere. I can't wait to have Hello Kitty wine when I next go to Europe or Asia, which I don't think will be any time soon. In the meantime, these will suffice.

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Have you ever had Hello Kitty food? If so, what's your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.