The social enterprise industry is rapidly growing in Cambodia, as many NGO’s move to the hospitality industry to raise funds for the numerous community development and empowerment projects happening throughout the country. Phnom Penh, being the bustling capital that it is, has become a hub for many of these social enterprises, and you can find a range of training restaurants set up throughout the city that provide support to a variety of local projects.
I love food and I love a good cause, so I have compiled this list of ethical eateries in Phnom Penh. From cupcakes, to exquisite French dining, you’ll be sure to find something that waters the taste buds and supports a great cause at the same time.
I’ll start with this – The best cupcakes I’ve ever had!. I sat in this café on numerous occasions indulging in the large range of sweet, heavenly, chocolaty cupcakes they have on offer. Take your pick from Mint Oreo, Run’n’Raisin, Red Velvet, Black Forest and the list goes on. What’s better though, is that the organisation provides training, personal development and sustainable employment opportunities to vulnerable women of Cambodia. A highly recommended stop for the sweet tooths.
Address: #40 Street 222 (in between Street 63 and Street 55), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Opening times: Mon – Sat 11am - 5pm
Connecting Hands Café
I found this delightful cafe while wandering down 178 street and decided to stop in for some brunch. They have a range of delicious Western and Khmer meals and also do great coffee and muffins. The women that work here have been rescued from vulnerable backgrounds, such as human trafficking, and have gone through the Connecting Hands vocational training program, where they have been able to train as chefs, barista’s and customer service staff. Drop in to help the organisation continue it’s great work and expand their unused upstairs level.
Address: #42H, Street 178, Phnom Penh Cambodia
Opening times: Mon – Sat 9am – 6pm
Located in the popular BKK1 area, the Lotus Blanc restaurant provides working opportunities to students from the Hotel Training School at Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE). The school was first set up by partners in France as a way to get children out of poverty, by providing them with opportunities to learn new skills and use them in the workforce. The organisation expanded and has now helped more than 1000 Cambodians find work in the hotel and hospitality industry. They have also expanded to build the restaurant Lotus Blanc, where you can sit down in an immaculate setting and enjoy some traditional French cuisine while in Cambodia.
Address: Street 51 (Pasteur) with house number #152 in Boeung Keng Kang 1 Commune , Chamkar Mon District, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Opening times: Mon – Sun 7am – 10pm
The Restore One Café
The Restore One mission is to break the cycle of poverty in Cambodia, and one of their many projects to assist this mission is The Restore One Cafe and Training Centre for Young People. Known for some of the best burgers in Phnom Penh, this café provides a 12-month traineeship in hospitality to many young Cambodians and equips them for a successful career ahead. The food here is 5- star and they offer both meals and snacks. Try their famous burgers or indulge in a share plate for two. You won’t be disappointed!
Address: No 23, St 123, Toul Tom Pong, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Opening times: Mon – Fri 10:30am – 9:30pm, Sun 10:30am – 9:30pm
Daughters of Cambodia – Sugar & Spice Café
Daughter’s of Cambodia is an organisation that aims to free women from the grim, underground sex trafficking industry in Cambodia. The organisation runs a number of retail and service businesses in Phnom Penh, two of which are cafes. The Sugar and Spice cafes are located in separate areas of the city and both boast peaceful settings with a leafy green outlook. You can order from the variety of food options or just choose to have coffee and cake, the coffee is top quality as well! The cafes act as training centres for the women and are an alternative way for them to provide income to their families. Stop in and play a role in ending the cycle of human trafficking in Cambodia.
Sugar & Spice Café - 65, Street 178 | Upper Level of Visitor Centre, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Sugar & Spice Garden Café - #130A, Street 430, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Sugar & Spice Café – Mon – Sat 9am – 5:30pm
Sugar & Spice Garden Café – Mon – Sat 7:30am – 4pm
Romdeng & Friends Restaurant
Both these restaurants are social enterprises of the TREE alliance, a very reputable global alliance of training restaurants, supporting a number of NGO’s throughout Asia. They know how to make an impact using social business, and they know how to do it well. You’ll find prices to be a little higher than usual but the organisation has changed the lives of many people in Cambodia over the past decade, and continues to provide high quality food and service, as well as social impact, through their restaurants.
Romdeng - #74 Street 174, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Friends Restaurant - #215 Street 13, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Romdeng – Mon – Sun 11am – 22:30pm
Friends Restaurant - Mon – Sun 11am – 21pm
Other social enterprises to look out for
Open Arms Cambodia Beauty Salon
If you’re in need of a haircut, a nail makeover or just looking for a little pamper, head down to the Open Arms Cambodia Beauty Salon located near the Russian Market in Phnom Penh. The ladies that will work with you have been trained in the Open Arms training centre, their mission, to provide all Cambodian people with the opportunity to become all that they can be. For their salon menu click here.
Address: #87 St 155 Toul Tom Pong, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Opening times: Mon – Sun 8:am – 10:pm
Seeing Hands Massage
Why not try a massage that supports the blind community of Cambodia? The professional blind masseuses at Seeing Hands will provide you with the perfect massage. Skilled with their hands and world renown, there is barely a customer who leaves disappointed. Just read through the Trip Advisor reviews and you’ll see why. The massages are much cheaper than your average day spa and you still get the peaceful atmosphere and the great service. At just $9 for a one-hour oil massage, it’s hard to refuse.
Address: 12 Eo Street 13, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Krama Yoga is bringing yoga to life in Phnom Penh. They are a local NGO that is teaching yoga and life skills to the people of Cambodia, some of which are children and adolescents who have been affected by poverty, abuse or addiction. They offer a children’s yoga program, a yoga therapy program and every Sunday at 5pm you can join their community yoga class in the Nataraj Yoga studio, with all profits going directly towards funding their many community development programs.
Address: #52 302 Street, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Class Schedule: For class schedule click here.
If you're in Bangkok you can also check out my list of ethical eateries there.