Cabbages and Condoms in Bangkok is a restaurant with a difference. Using a quirky name to highlight a serious issue, it is a great place to enjoy some tasty Thai food knowing that part of the profit is going to a good cause. Money from your meal is used to support development programmes initiated by the Population and Community Development Association (PDA). The restaurant’s motto is "our food won’t make you pregnant" - one of the more unusual taglines we have seen in the city.
Cabbages and Condoms was started by a legendary and much loved public official called Mechai Viravaidya. He is an ex-politician and philanthropist who decided to try and improve the lives of Thai people by highlighting a wide range of social issues such as sexual health, sustainability and anti-corruption. The fun loving and irreverent way that Khun Mechai has tackled some social problems has been so successful that Mechai is now a slang word for condom!
Open every day from 11:00 to 22:00 the restaurant is situated on Sukhumvit 12, less than a five minute walk down the street from Sukhumvit Road and walking distance from Asok Skytrain Station and Sukhumvit MRT. There is both outside and inside seating, and although it does get busy, you usually don’t need to book ahead.
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- Shangri-La Hotel's Buffet Dinner Cruise
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The theme of the restaurant is definitely half of the fun, and as you wander down the leafy path you will spot your first condom character. Throughout the restaurant there are a series of life size mannequins dressed up in rubber: Captain Condom, a bride with her ruffled skirt made out of snow white sheathes and even a jolly red condom Father Christmas. Make sure you bring your camera! Although there are plenty of amusing things to look at in the entrance, once you get to the terrace the atmosphere is completely different. Hanging from the trees are thousands of fairy lights and there is a manmade waterfall bubbling in the background and a smiling musician plays traditional Thai instruments on the stage. There is plenty of room both inside and out, with a raised terrace above the courtyard. Cooling fans spray a fine mist and service is efficient and friendly.
The menu comes in a thick folder with plenty of pictures. The dishes are not spiced for the Thai market, but the choice is impressive – it goes way beyond the usual phad thai and tom yum (but never fear, these are also available). We were very impressed with the range of vegetarian dishes, starting at 100 baht like tom kha hed, a tasty mushroom soup with coconut milk, lime and galangal. Soups and curries come served in a rustic looking hot pot and include a simple but hearty clear soup with pork, seaweed and tofu (200 baht). Other recommendations include the spicy sour deep-fried catfish salad served with a mango dressing (150 baht), a whole chicken marinated in wild honey (250baht) and yellow crab curry with bell peppers (300 baht). To accompany these order the combo of white and red jasmine rice, that comes in the shape of a heart (50 baht). Every ingredient the restaurant can grow themselves they do, on their organic farms that stress the importance of sharing profits evenly amongst the workers and ensure everything is grown naturally.
The drinks menu is equally long, with cocktails costing 190 baht. Classics include the dirty martini, mojito and pink lady. We enjoyed the more unusual Bangkok night: rum, Amaretto, grenadine, pineapple juice and dash of lemon. There is a good range of fruit juices as well 90 baht, and some refreshing mocktails. Wine is a little pricier at 220 baht a glass and 1,490 baht per bottle, with a selection from Australia, New Zealand and Thailand.
On your way out, you can grab a handful of free condoms from the Democrat or Republican sizes on offer. Make sure you visit the onsite shop which sells a range of rubber related goods, some funny, some a little risqué but certainly a more unusual souvenir to take home. A humorous and unusual way of focusing on a very serious social problem has been the hallmark of Cabbages and Condoms and it is highly recommended for first time guests to Bangkok – it’s an institution!
Cabbages and Condoms
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 22:00
- MRT: Sukhumvit
- BTS: Asok
- Address: Sukhumvit Rd, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)2 229 4610