Cabbages and Condoms certainly tops the list of creatively named restaurants I have visited although it is not as frivolous (nor as risqué) as it might sound. The restaurant was actually set up 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 or PDA” (could there be a more suitable acronym?!)
The name came about (no pun intended) as they sought to make access to birth control as easy as it was to buy cabbages and they proudly proclaim on their menus that “our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy:” I chose to sit in the pretty open air garden, decorated with fairy lights and coloured lanterns however they have several air conditioned seating areas too as well as a bar and several private dining rooms for larger groups.
The menu is very reasonably priced I thought, most dishes were 120-300 baht with large beers at 130baht or 90 for a small bottle and glasses of wine at 220. The menu is huge and it took me quite some time to flick through everything and make my choice.
I was intrigued by the “Mineg Khum” which was described as being an “Ancient Thai Appetiser; Lemon, Dried Shrimp, Peanut, Ginger, Deep Fried Coconut, Chilli, Shallots and Special Sauce wrapped in Wild Betel Leaves.” And as it looked quite light I thought I would be able to enjoy this as an appetizer whilst I carried on looking through the menu for a suitable main course.
The Betel leaves came topped with a generous teaspoonful of the filling on top and you sort of fold them up into a little parcel in order to eat them. The differing textures of the chopped lemon peel and crispy, crunchy spices and dried shrimps were really enjoyable and of course I loaded them up with the fresh chillis they came served with for an extra kick! In the end I was particularly unadventurous for my main course – too many things to choose from had left me somewhat overwhelmed and I ended up ordering a tofu and mixed vegetable green curry with dark rice. I liked the fact that the tofu in the curry was the firm variety and not the silken (although I like both) and it was packed full of plenty of different vegetables from baby corn to broccoli, baby eggplants, mushrooms and of course some cabbage!
All in all dinner came to just under 500 baht or $20 sgd which is not bad at all, considering how full I was and that the profits go to charity and instead of mints you get a couple of condoms in with your bill!
Of course no trip to Cabbages and Condoms would be complete without the obligatory exit via the gift shop where all manner of different condom related gifts are available from condom flower buttonholes to condom “flowers” T-shirts, bags, postcards, posters and more. I bought a couple of “Break glass in case of emergency” condom key rings as gifts for friends and even found some natural mosquito repellent (I have been literally eaten alive by the damn things since moving here and am uncomfortable with the idea of coating my body in chemicals 24/7 to avoid being bitten)
Whilst Cabbages and Condoms certainly has a high novelty value, they are serious not only about de-stigmatising the use of birth control and ensuring easy access for those who need it but about serving great food as well and it is definitely worth a visit if you are holidaying in Bangkok . The restaurant is easily found, located on the right handside of the road, a couple of hundred metres down Soi 12 off Sukhumvit (the nearest BTS is Asok)