A new Japanese toilet-themed restaurant is proving quite popular. Customers are eager to eat their food off of plates and bowls shaped like both regular toilet seats and Japanese "squat" toilets.

Marton Theme Restaurant, which was named after the Chinese word "Matong" meaning toilet, has become a hit in Taiwan's second largest city since it opened in May 2004.Although bathroom décor seems quite strange, the idea was so successful that owner Eric Wang opened a second, even bigger branch just seven months later.

"We not only sell food but also laughter. The food is just as good as any restaurant but we offer additional fun," said the 26-year-old Wang who gave up a banking career to launch the restaurant. "Most customers think the more disgusting and exaggerated (the restaurant is), the funnier the dining experience is."

Oddly, the top sellers are curry hot pot, curry chicken rice, and chocolate ice cream because "they look most like the real thing."Prices are cheap, ranging from $6-$10 for a meal including soup and ice cream. But it's the restaurant's quirky décor and theme that attracts customers.

"This is such a funny and strange restaurant," said Chen Bi-fang, one of the restaurant's patrons, as she sits at a table made from a converted bathtub with a glass cover, while looking at a wall decorated with neon-lit faucets and urinals that have been turned into lamps.

Other Taiwan restaurants also have interesting themes such as prison and zombies, although they folded within a few years of opening when the novelty wore off.
However, Wang first tested the waters for his idea by peddling ice cream in toilet shaped cones on the street before opening the restaurant.

"The success with 'toilet ice cream' was a leap of faith for me to quit the stable but boring banking job and start my business despite strong objections from my family," said Wang. "After the curiosity fades, we have to hold on to customers with upgraded food and services."