Cabbages and Condoms

When I first heard of Cabbages and Condoms, I thought that my friend was pulling my leg. Who would dare name his restaurant with something as vulgar as that, right? But because of its unique name, I wanted to try dining there but never really got the chance until my Tokyo-based friends, Kieron, Kaye, and Ethan, decided to check the place out. The experience at the restaurant was so exceptional that I went back there again last night to celebrate Schenn’s birthday and to formally bid Andrea farewell before she leaves Bangkok, Thailand.

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As one of the most interesting restaurants in the metro, Cabbages and Condoms has attracted international attention. It has been noted as the most popular among both local and foreign patrons not just because of its name, but also because of its cause to promote better understanding and acceptance of family planning. In addition, it continuously generates income to support various development activities of the non-profit organization – Population and Community Development Association (PDA) which was founded by Mechai Viravaidya.

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According to the C&C staff, Khun Mechai (as how they fondly called him) acknowledged the importance of family planning and realized that unless radical steps were taken to contain Thailand’s rapid population growth, the country will not live up to its development potential. At that time, the population growth was 3.3% and the average family sums up to 7 children. As a solution, an innovative approach was applied where community-based contraceptive distribution networks throughout the country were established which provided people access to pills and condoms, as well as, birth control information. To Khun Mechai, for family planning program to be successful, birth control should be as accepted and accessible as vegetables in the market; hence, explaining the restaurant’s name “Cabbages and Condoms” or C&C (cabbages – you’ll see in your food, condoms – you’ll see everywhere).

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C&C is located near one of Bangkok’s business district, specifically in Sukhumvit’s Soi 12, where PDA is also conveniently stationed. I know what you may be thinking, “Oh no, it’s right in the middle of Nana and Asok where parking spaces are non-existent!” Fret not, adequate parking space is available at all times for its customers.

The restaurant is quite spacious and guests have various rooms or zones to choose from as to where they want to be seated. There are 3 air-conditioned rooms that can accommodate groups of various sizes (Buri Ram – 15 persons, Phuket – 40 persons, Korat – 80 persons) and smoking corners are provided at Krabi  and Balcony zones. Other than this, it also boasts of a tree-canopied garden that can seat 40-50 people.

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As for our party, we were happily seated in the Balcony zone where we enjoyed the restaurant’s specialty dishes at a reasonable price. The food were exquisitely prepared and were delicious. In fact, not one tiny morsel was bagged to be taken home. Further, the waiter who was in charge of our table was very friendly and was quick to accommodate our needs prior to us making the request (now that’s what I call excellent customer service). We just didn’t like the restaurant hosts though. Restaurant hosts are different from the waiters; they are the ones who took charge in greeting the guests and finding the right seats. Our hosts had constipated looks and were quite curt when asked certain questions about the restaurant’s concept after he gave us our free condoms.

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In total, we had a pleasant experience at C&C and I would recommend that you check it out if you happened to visit Bangkok. Good food, good place, good cause!

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