Cabbages and Condoms (Pattaya) is a restaurant as unique and memorable as its name: the secluded beachfront location is stunning, the menu is a comprehensive mix of Western and Thai dishes, and the social project is inspiring and irreverent. Set on an open-air deck, the first thing you notice is the great view of the open ocean that is perfect for lunch, dinner, or even a sunset cocktail. The second thing is the thousands of condoms used as decoration throughout the restaurant, especially the three mannequins covered head-to-toe in rubber standing in the doorway. A significant component of the restaurant is the promotion of HIV awareness and prevention in Thailand, but it’s done in a fun and entertaining way, suitable for the whole family and the food tastes great.
Cabbages and Condoms Pattaya is part of the Birds and Bees Resort at the foot of Pratumnak Hill in South Pattaya. It was started in the 1980s by Mechai Viravaidya, a former politician and activist, who is so widely known in Thailand ‘Mechai’ is now a slang word for condoms. The restaurant is part of a wider social initiative to help educate Thai people on a range of issues, such as sustainability, sexual health awareness and anti-corruption.
The menu is a real page turner; page after page, each one packed with pictures and options ranging from seafood, through all regional dishes of Thailand, to typical Western fare like pastas and burgers. Just like the décor, the food served is not haute cuisine – expect deep-fried shrimp cakes (180 baht), fried rice (120 baht), chicken with basil (140 baht), and many other classic dishes popular with Thai people and foreigners. Flavours and spices are toned down at Cabbages and Condoms to suit the typical tourist palate, so you might find their curry dishes a little bland, but if this is your first trip to Thailand, or you find most Thai food knocks your socks off with spice, then this menu is just what you’re looking for. A particular favourite of mine is the deep-fried crab balls which are crispy and packed full of crab meat, and at 180 baht are great value.
Some diners will think the proliferation of condoms too in-your-face, whereas others will find it hilarious and a worthwhile social project to promote sexual health awareness in Thailand. It is a serious message delivered in a lighthearted way that is suitable for children and adults. In fact, both the restaurant and the resort seem very popular with families due to unique touches like power-generating bicycles, a micro-farm behind the resort and charitable campaigns to help build schools for communities in rural Thailand. The garden path that leads to the restaurant is full of witty slogans and things of interest with two paths to choose from – the Communist Walk or the Capitalist Walk – and in front of the restaurant there is even a bunny garden, with cute bunny rabbits hopping around, nibbling on plant leaves, much to the delight of children.
All tables on the multi-leveled decking have sea views with smoking and non-smoking sections but, because of the natural setting, mosquitoes are a fairly common sight. Staff will light a coil when asked; however, it’s a good idea to bring mosquito spray just in case – your ankles will thank you. The restaurant is located a few hundred metres down Soi 4 Pratumnak Hill, in between South Pattaya and Jomtien Beach. For most restaurants the aim is to serve tasty food in a pleasant environment, but Cabbages and Condoms goes way beyond this and offers the most memorable meal you are likely to have this year.
Cabbages and Condoms Restaurant
- Opening Hours: 11:00 to 22:00
- Location: 366/ Moo 12, Soi 4 Pratamnak Hill, Pattaya
- Tel: +66 (0) 38 250557