10 Great Places to Eat & Drink for a Cause in South East Asia!

1. New Leaf Book Café- Siem Reap, Cambodia

Where your money goes: Back into the companies internal English training program and service academy, which is offered free to all employees. New Leaf Book Café also supports local NGO’s located in Siem Reap. Order up: Mushroom soup, club sandwiches, and mango salad. Bonus: Plenty of awesome books for sale as well!

999610_210742152423814_211159793_nBooks and scrumptious food, you can’t go wrong- New Leaf Book Cafe! 

2. Koto-Hanoi and Saigon, Vietnam

Where your money goes: The slogan stands for “Know one. Teach on.” Having all ready trained over 600 students the company aims to provide real life hospitality training that can help elevate the financial situation of their students. Order up: Red beef curry, sautéed eggplant, and salad nicoise. Bonus: In addition to two restaurants Koto offers cooking classes, an online bakery, and a catering service.

230935_157195921013621_3065919_nKoto graduating class of 2014! 

3. Sister Srey Café-Siem Reap, Cambodia

Where your money goes: Helping each staff member earn a University degree. Currently there is a staff member pursuing banking, another interior design, and the third wants to be a lawyer. In addition all 6 children of the staff are being put through English classes. Order up: Carrot cake, fabulous coffee, and beef and chicken burgers. Bonus: The two Aussie owners are young (21 and 23), ambitious, and full of positive energy!

Sister Srey6The adorable Aussie owners of Sister Srey in Cambodia!

4. Cabbages and Condoms- Bangkok and Chiang Rai, Thailand

Where your money goes: To help slow the high natility rate in Thailand. Projects include providing free vasectomies, mobile health clinics, HIV awareness and prevention, and contraception distribution (hence the name). Order up: Panang curry, soft shell crab, and fish cakes. Bonus: Instead of chocolates expect condoms delivered with your bill.

IMG_0477Cabbages and Condoms: “Our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy!”

5. Pun Pun- Chiang Mai, Thailand

Where your money goes: Into promoting northern Thailand’s organic farmers. All ingredients are locally sourced thus creating a growing sustainable market for products indigenous to the area. Order up: Avocado salad, 5 grain black rice porridge, massaman curry. Bonus: Two locations in Chiang Mai- one entirely vegetarian. Plus you can organize trips to the farm where cooking courses are available.

40406_419496633532_5500821_nThe beautiful Pun Pun Organic Farm, the restaurants main source for it’s fresh veggies!

6. Lanterns- Nha Trang, Vietnam

Where your money goes: Back into supporting 12 local schools and orphanages, by providing support, scholarship programs, and an additional food supply. Order up: Lemon grass and chili chicken, lot leaf beef, and pasta- pesto and cashew nut. Bonus: Also offers cooking classes and local area tours.

7. Green Star- Siem Reap, Cambodia Green Gecko Project

Where your money goes: Into the “Green Gecko Project” which aims to empower and support ex-street begging children. Order up: Spicy duck, sweet corn, and frog with pepper sauce. Bonus: 100% of the profits go right back into the project!

8. Friends- Phnom Phen, Cambodia

Where your money goes: Friends aims to get homeless children off the streets by providing them valuable work related skills training. Children help in all aspects of the business; cooking, managing, and waitressing. Order up: Zucchini fritters, Burmese chicken curry, and chocolate cheese cake. Bonus: Food is served tapas style, meaning you get the chance to sample a plethora of tasty treats! Also, there is a nail spa and shop next store run by the same NGO!

IMG_5872A delicious feast of tapas at “Friends” restaurant, Phnom Phen. 

9. Makphet- Vientiene, Laos

Where your money goes: Run by the same NGO that started Friends Restaurant in Cambodia. The idea is the same: to provide valuable training skills to disadvantaged youth. Order up: Green mango chicken salad, beef larb, Mekong fish. Bonus: Great shop on site selling fair trade products.

10. The Starfish Bakery- Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Where your money goes: Funds help to support the “Starfish Project” which supports everything from health care, community development, and housing projects. Order up: Chocolate milkshake, grilled chicken panini, cookies, cakes, and brownies. Bonus: Gluten free options!
Tyler Protano Goodwin | The Thai Chronicles

Tyler, originally from Massachusetts, became familiar with SEA Backpacker Magazine whilst living and teaching in Chiang Mai. She travelled to South America with the owner of the company to help set up their second magazine, South America Backpacker. Currently back in the US, she continues to document her experiences on her blog, The Thai Chronicles.

9 thoughts on “10 Great Places to Eat & Drink for a Cause in South East Asia!”

  1. Another one to add to this list is Sala Bai in Siem Reap. it’s a free hotel school that trains 100 young disadvantaged cambodians to the four main professions of the hospitality industry: restaurant waiter/waitress, cook, receptionist & housekeeping attendants. They also help them find employment after the program.

  2. Mira Marzipan

    Koto in Vietnam is really great. And we also love the Green Star in Cambodia.

    But what we’re really missing here in your top ten list is the HAVEN Training Restaurant in Siem Reap, Cambodia – established by a Swiss couple to train disadvantaged kids. It’s such a great cause, serving delicious food and presenting big smiles and a great atmosphere! Don’t miss it!

  3. I love the starfish cafe in Sihanoukville, everyone working there is wonderful.
    And FYI to anyone planning to go to sister srey cafe it’s closed Mondays. I unfortunately just figured that out when I walked there and read the sign.

  4. Rebecca Mahmoud

    I would add Free Bird Cafe to this great list.
    Located in Chiang Mai, it benefits the Thai Freedom House.

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