What's better than a meal? A meal that creates social impact. Never thought your choice of a snack, lunch or dinner can be for a good cause? You just haven't looked hard enough, dear readers.
This week, we've scoured the city for a few restaurants and cafes where they employ people with disabilities or people who are challenged so you can help make a difference with every bite.
DINE IN THE DARK
Candle-lit dinners are great. Dinners under the stars are awesome. But if you want to kick it up a notch, pitch dark dinners are your best bet. This is what Dine In The Dark at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit does. It has been around for a number of years, having started in 1999 in Zurich and has since popped up in cities like Paris and London. You, your special someone or your friends will be able to choose a four-course dinner (Asian or Western) but each dish will be a surprise so you're figuratively and literally kept in the dark until the end of the dinner where you're shown samples of the food you ate. Also, since it's in the dark, this is probably one of those rare dinners where you're not going to be checking your phone because surprise, phones have to be "surrendered" before going into the pitch dark dining room. Wine and cocktail pairings are also available. More than the heightened experience of dining in the dark, the resto also serves as a way to help the visually impaired and raise awareness for them. The role-reversal gives you the chance to be in their shoes for a short while.
The experience is priced at B1,450++ with the hotel making a donation for each diner to the Foundation For The Blind.
60+ BAKERY & CAFE
To commemorate Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's 60th birthday and in partnership with Japan, 60+ Bakery and Cafe was set up to help those with various disabilities. From the outset, it seems like your everyday bakery. They're stocked with fresh bread and pastries from Big Mango favourite, Yamazaki. However, behind the counter and in the kitchen, the staff comprises of people with various disabilities. 60+ Bakery and Cafe is all about promoting inclusiveness and giving people a chance to be able to be employed. So whether it's taking your payment or making and baking the pastries, all of it is made possible because of the staff that society may label as limited but have proven otherwise.
STEPS WITH THEERA
Steps With Theera is a vocational training centre that helps people with learning challenges like autism gain skills. Aside from their vocational school, which is UK accredited and covers courses ranging from IT to hospitality and catering, they also have a coffee shop staffed by their trainees. Their coffee is from well-known local coffee brewer, Roots, and they sell other drinks like smoothies and zero-calorie beverages. They've also got some appetising dishes like poached egg on salmon, chicken pesto and mozzarella sandwich, and lentil soup. Not only are you sure to enjoy the food and drinks, but you'll also be supporting their cause.
You've probably used GrabFood at least once in Bangkok and it is a service that is ridiculously helpful to satiate your cravings. There's a pretty wide selection available right at your fingertips and with a few button presses, you've got food delivered to your doorstep. It's a lazy person's dream, but GrabFood is giving lazy people a chance to do good. GrabFood has just announced "GrabFood for Good: Every Dish Makes a Difference", where they donate 10 baht for every order to a lunch fund for three children's foundations: Baan Nokkamin Foundation, the Camillian Home for Children Living with Disabilities and The Foundation for Slum Child Care. Most of these underprivileged kids come from poor families that can't afford to feed them properly so you ordering food is going to help feed them. What better cause to eat and order in?
1st branch at Arun Amarin Soi 39: 7:30am-6pm, 2nd branch at Faculty of Law, Thammasart University, Tha Phrachan campus : 7.30am-8.30pm from Mon-Fri, 7.30am-6pm on Sat and Sun www.Yimsoo.org, www.fb.com/YimsooCafe 02-055-1901
Yimsoo Cafe's name is derived from two Thai words: yim meaning "to smile" and soo "to keep fighting" or "to empower", an apt name for a cafe that's part of the Universal Foundation for Persons with Disabilities. The foundation was established by Professor Wiriya Namsiripongpun, he himself blind since he was fifteen after an accident but was able to go on to study in Harvard and is a professor at the Faculty of Law at Thammasart University. Yimsoo Cafe is just one part of the foundation and is staffed wholly by deaf people. You'll be able to communicate and order your coffee by simply pointing at the menu. Aside from supporting a cause in providing employment for people with disabilities, the atmosphere and decor of Yimsoo Coffee makes it a great place to chill with friends. The first branch serves simple dishes such as Rice with chicken in gravy (B50) and Spaghetti with khee mao sauce (B60).
Food4Good isn't necessarily a specific restaurant or a café but it's a programme that a number of restaurants all around the Big Mango take part in. Some of their partners include well-known and widely available restos like S&P, Sizzlers, and dessert favourite After You among a bunch of others. Food4Good allows these restaurants to be able to donate a part of their profits to helping the cause of providing food for underprivileged kids. In the past four years, they've been helping more than a thousand kids and are focusing on seven schools in Mae Hong Son province which is the poorest province in Thailand. But it's not just about sending money over. They also teach the teachers and kids about nutrition and cooking as well as sustainable school farming. You can see a full list of the project's partners on their site and it's good to know that even buying something as simple as a steak from Sizzlers goes a long way in helping malnourished children. g