Eating Well in Vietnam

Luckily guide books are tuned into the restaurants and local shops that are trying to provide a grassroots response to some of Vietnam’s social problems. Visiting these cafés is a great way to support their efforts – and grab a great meal! 

Check out my 3 recommendations on restaurants that provide good food and good works in Vietnam:

  • Nha Trang – Crazy Kim’s. Crazy Kim’s is a bar and restaurant (and a gym and spa) that supports a free school and helps fight pedophilia – a growing problem in Vietnam. Kim’s volunteer staff educates vulnerable children about the dangers of child sex trafficking and works to expose known pedophiles.

At Crazy Kim’s you can buy a cup of coffee (a pretty good latte too) and a t-shirt that says “Hands off the Kids.” Check out this re-cap of the morning I spent at Crazy Kim’s school.

  • Hue – The French Bakery (la Boulangerie Francaise). This is an adorable little café situated on a side street, just off one of Hue’s main junctions.

The young women working in the bakery wore cute pink tops and were cheery — even at 7:00 am and despite the Supertramp track that was looping. I went 2 mornings in a row for chocolate croissants and real Vietnamese coffee, and spent one sunny afternoon on their terrace with fresh-squeezed lemon juice. A very nice hde-away.

Since 1999, The French Bakery has helped nearly 50 youngsters from poor families to start their professional life as bakers and pastry chefs. All products sold in their bakery are baked by apprentices and profits help finance their daily life with in the Thuy Xuan Orphanage in Hue. At the end of 20 months of training, the pupils are placed in high-end hotels across Vietnam.

p.s. The jam served at the bakery is made by the charity Eurasia which helps disabled Vietnamese children.

  • Hanoi – KOTO (Know One, Teach One). KOTO is located across the street and overlooking Hanoi’s Temple of Literature. It is also a beautifully decorated, multi-storied restaurant that provides a great street-side vantage from high above the crowds and chaos below. Most importantly, it’s a nonprofit organization providing opportunities for former street kids.

It was after 4:00 in the afternoon when I strode in and I was famished. I was rewarded after my long walk and day of sight-seeing with some of the best pasta I’ve ever had.

Seriously, I had to put down my utensils after the first bite to stop myself from devouring my plate of pasta in about 30 seconds flat. I then contemplated ordering the dish again. It was that good.

Do you have a fav cafe that supports a good cause? Write it in!

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This entry was posted on Saturday, May 28th, 2011 and is filed under Food & Drink.

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