It may not be unusual to see Christmas trees outside of Thai restaurants in early January. However Christmas trees adorned profusely with dangling condoms is an eye-popping attention catcher. Welcome to Cabbages and Condoms Bangkok, a restaurant with an unorthodox name and a serious cause.
As Captain Condom, the first of mannequin condom covered characters greets visitors, the social good behind the quirky figures unfolds. With posters and pamphlets interspersed with the likes of jolly Santa’s white condom beard, the innovative approach to family planning in Thailand comes forth.
In 1974 the much loved public official Mechai Viravaidys founded the Population and Community Development Association (PDA). At the time the population growth of Thailand was 3.3%, an average of seven children per family!
Realizing the serious nature of the exploding population, PDA established a community based distribution service of contraception. With volunteers recruited from villages, the trained villagers then provided pills and condoms to their neighbours.
The Cabbages and Condoms restaurant was opened by PDA, one of Thailand’s most successful non profit, private development organizations. The name originates from Mechai’s belief that that birth control should be as easy to access as vegetables in the market.
Why would you want to eat at Cabbages and Condoms?
You mean besides having one of the most unique restaurant decors in the world? After all who who doesn’t want to dine near a bride with her skirt ruffling in white condoms?
Truthfully, the ambiance of the large outdoor terrace with thousands of twinkling lights and graceful trees is far from quirky. The condom clad characters wait patiently for attention at the perimeter of the massive dining area.
The food reviews, don’t just take our word for it, are extraordinary. With an extensive menu that arrives in a binder, there is a mind boggling variety of choices.
Some of the restaurant specialities include Massaman Curry, a sweet dish with potato, and Mieng Khum, an ancient Thai appetizer of lemon, dried shrimp and deep fried coconut. Many reviews rave about the green curry served with your choice of chicken, pork or beef.
Thankfully Cabbages and Condoms have none of the food selections found by Ryan Biddulph at Blogging From Paradise. You just have to see for yourself here.
Is Cabbages and Condoms only in Bangkok?
Although the Bangkok restaurant began as a vegetable stand, it has expanded to 400 seats both indoor and outdoor. As from Cabbages and Condoms humble beginnings, the chuckles and snickers are heard from passers by. And yet who can resist coming in to have a look at what all this condom business is about?
Now considered one of the best restaurants in Thailand if not south east Asia, Cabbages and Condoms can be found in other locations in Thailand as well as Japan and England.
Although the Bangkok restaurant has garnered world wide attention, the PDA’s work also includes community empowerment, water resource development, environmental sanitation, HIV/AIDS education and programs aimed at eradicating poverty. You can read more about the work being done here.
Shopping in Bangkok never felt so good
It took me a time to make my way to the handicraft shop on the way out of Cabbages and Condoms. After all I felt the need to chat up each of the assorted condom clad mannequins.
As you can imagine my husband made himself scarce and pretending to be looking for change, he slunk behind the waterfall. Not that I ever embarrass him.
In the Cabbages and Condoms gift shop, handicrafts made from villagers from all over Thailand are on sale. Both meal and souvenir purchases support the work of PDA.
Although some of the souvenirs may be a bit risque to take home to Grandma, there are also non-condom offerings for sale.
Oh and don’t think you will be getting a mint at the end of the meal when it is time to pay your bill. A condom will be your parting gift. Won’t do much for your breath but an interesting keepsake from dining in Bangkok.
Where is Cabbages and Condoms in Bangkok
The latex clad restaurant is found at Sukhumvit 12, less than a five minute walk from Sukhumvit Road. If you are not staying in the area, Cabbages and Condoms is easily accessible by public transit, within walking distance from Asok Skytrain Staion and Sukhumvit MRT.
What is the most interesting restaurant you have been to?