You’ve heard of the cat cafés in Japan and may even have a dog café in your neighbourhood, but nothing can compete with Dalian’s Alpaca Treehouse Café (树洞听), offering western food, coffee, cocktails, modern décor, and most importantly… the opportunity to get cozy with two adorable and friendly alpacas.
The café is nestled in the Fujiazhuang neighbourhood a little way off the beaten path. After getting off the bus, we walked for about five minutes up a couple very steep hills into what seemed like a residential complex. Just before we were fully convinced we’d taken a wrong turn, we saw a sign for the Treehouse Café, alpaca logo included. Another five minutes of uphill trekking and we found the small white house where the café was located.
The interior of the café has a very western vibe, with mid-century styled chairs, geometric wallpaper, Edison bulbs hanging from the ceiling, and an entire wall of recognizable liquors. However, the alpaca theme is in full force with (somewhat tired-looking) stuffed alpacas, alpaca-shaped planters housing succulents, and a variety of alpaca artwork on the walls.
After being greeted by a couple of polite employees, we checked out the menu which fortunately had English subtitles. There was a fair selection of standard café/bar food–fries, hamburgers, salad. We settled on iced Americanos, chicken wings, and sweet potato fries, but when calamari arrived instead of the fries (presumably due to a language difficulty), we weren’t too disappointed. Prices were not cheap but comparable to other Western restaurants in China, with the esperesso drinks around 35 kwai or 7 dollars CAD, and plates between 35 and 50 kwai (7-10 dollars). Plus, this wasn’t just any old café… there were friendly alpacas here!
Well, not exactly ‘here.’ The alpacas were kept on the back patio where it seemed patrons could sit and enjoy a drink, but we opted to enjoy our food inside while looking at their adorable fluffy faces waiting at the door for us to finish and come play.
When we finally made it out onto the patio, the alpacas weren’t shy but slightly more interested in nibbling the hem of our server’s apron than pay attention to us. That didn’t stop us from cuddling up with them and posing for a good amount of pictures.
While our server didn’t speak much English, she was eager to tell us all about the two little alpacas through our translate apps. There’s a girl and a boy named ‘Glutinous Rice Ball’ and ‘Prince’, respectively. They are 10 years old, from Australia, and cost $10,000 CAD to bring to China.
In my personal opinion, their cute factor is worth every penny.
Overall, I’d definitely recommend visiting the Alpaca Treehouse Café during your time in Dalian. For any expat missing their pets back home (aka ME!), this is the perfect place to fill that cute and cuddly animal-shaped hole in your heart. You best believe I’ll be making repeat visits.
Other café suggestions in Dalian? Other animal cafés worldwide? We love to hear from you, so leave them in the comments below.