One evening in Bangkok, my friends from SAIS Johns Hopkins University who are spending summer time in Thailand got together for dinner. One who recently graduated from MIPP program, Matthias, recommend that we should go to this restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms. I never heard anything about that place until recently. For a restaurant, Cabbages make a lot of senses, but Condoms? And why would those two nouns next to each other for a restaurant’s name?
Apparently, the owner is more of visionaire than I thought he was. The reason he named the restaurant Cabbages and Condoms is to suppport campaign for safe sex and anti-HIV in Thailand. As quoted from their website, Cabbages and Condoms defines itself as:
“Our restaurant was conceptualized in part to promote better understanding and acceptance of family planning and to generate income to support various development activities of the Population and Community Development Association (PDA)
We also provide catering services to meet all requirements. And remember, our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy.”
The menus are regular Thai dishes. You can find tom yam kung, papaya salad, tofu and mushrooms, mangos and others. What captured my attention, in addition to the small christmassy lights decoration, was several wall lamps that are placed well above our heads. What’s special about those lamps? Well, while it fulfills the illumination function, some people would be either excited and disgusted at the same time because of those lamps were heavily decorated with layers upon layers of condoms. One of the condom-lamp is look like this:
But, we were not disturbed by these decorations. Our conversation evolved around SAIS, DC, and our activities in Bangkok. There are two UN interns (Juni and Sohee), US Embassy intern (Anne), Newly graduate who join Rotary Conflict and Resolution Program (Matthias), future diplomat for Thailand’s Foreign Ministry (Koi), ISIS Chulalongkorn intern (myself), and Sohee’s friend (Ton). Once we obliterated the foods, we try our luck in the condoms-sex spinning wheel. But before we left the table, and the manager made sure that we paid our foods first, each and every one of us were given a pack of condom. Goes who brought three back home? lol
(Better be protected, right?)
The restaurant also provided souvenirs for those willing to contribute to the campaign. The kind of souvenirs, you asked? Varies. If you are around Bangkok, you better check the restaurant. Cabbages and Condoms is located just few hundred meters from Asok BTS station in Sukhumvit Road soi 12. Approximately 10-12 minutes by BTS from Siam area.