From Shanghai To Siem Reap: 14 Amazing Social Enterprise Restaurants From Across Asia

By:: 
Ruby Tan & Lesley Teoh

Whether you’re looking for an elegant farm-to-fork experience or authentic local food, discover the best social enterprise restaurants from across Asia that empower disadvantaged individuals and communities. Ready, get set, eat!

CAMBODIA

Friends the restaurant cambodia social enterprise

FRIENDS THE RESTAURANT – PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Located near the National Museum, Friends the Restaurant is a well-established social enterprise that provides on-the-job training and life skills education to at-risk youth and former street children. They offer a range of affordable creative dishes with influences from across the globe, as well as refreshing cocktails and juices.

#215 St 13, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Khmer Amok Fish Curry a classic Cambodian dish served at Haven, a social enterprise that trains and employs youth from impoverished areas.

HAVEN – SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

Enjoy flavourful Western, Asian and Swiss specialties at Haven – a social enterprise and training restaurant for young adults from safe shelters, impoverished rural areas, and those whose time has come to leave the orphanage they grew up in. Haven also provides shared housing, meals, medical care and a monthly training allowance. Your money enables the company to expand their operations and take in more youths under their training programme, helping more people break out of the poverty cycle. Bookings are recommended.

Chocolate Rd, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia.

CHINA

Cambio Cafe in Shanghai China buy beans direct from farmers in Bolivia and Yunnan

CAMBIO COFFEE – SHANGHAI, CHINA

Founder of Cambio Coffee, Sebastian Martin, saw the harsh reality of coffee farming when he visited the rural villages of Bolivia. These small-scale farmers face a lot of difficulty getting their product out to a market, and joining a fair-trade cooperative is often too expensive. Cambio Coffee serves direct trade coffee sourced directly from smallholder farmers in China and Bolivia, who are paid above market prices for their coffee. Cambio Coffee also donates five percent of its profits to development projects in coffee growing communities.

280 Aomen Road (on corner of Changhua), Shanghai, China.

HONG KONG

[Image Credit: Quandoo]

LA PAROLE –  SHEUNG WAN, HONG KONG

La Parole merges fine French cuisine with a good cause, with revenue going towards Benji’s Centre, a charitable organisation that provides speech therapy to youth from low-income families. You can expect a range of French classics like steak tartare with puffed quinoa (HKD 128) and duck confit (HKD 220).

3/F, The Pemberton, 22-26 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan.

HAPPY VEGGIES – WAN CHAI, HONG KONG

Happy Veggies is the first non-profit social enterprise vegetarian restaurant in Hong Kong. They offer traditional Chinese vegetarian fare like vegetarian dumplings and hearty fried taro cares at affordable prices. Their food is also all natural and MSG-free, a rarity when it comes to local restaurants. They employ hearing impaired individuals and the elderly.

1/F, Bayfield Building, 99 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai.

Cafe 8 in Hong Kong is a restaurant and social enterprise that trains adults with learning disabilities.

CAFE 8 – CENTRAL DISTRICT, HONG KONG

Experience panoramic views of Hong Kong harbour as you sip on a coffee and fill up on delicious café fare at Cafe 8, located on the top floor of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. It is a collaboration between the museum and The Nesbitt Centre, which provides educational and work training programmes for adults with learning disabilities. The cafe is fully run by folks with learning disabilities with a full-time staff only overseeing the closing of the cafe at the end of the day. All profits go back towards the organisation’s training programmes.

Central Ferry Pier No.8, Central District, Hong Kong.

INDIA

SHEROES HANGOUT – AGRA, INDIA

Sheroes Hangout is a vegetarian café run entirely by female acid attack survivors in India. Located a stone’s throw from the Taj Mahal, the café was opened by Stop Acid Attacks, a non-profit organisation that hopes to rebuild the lives of acid attack survivors. The cafe also sells art made by its staff and hosts a library, as well as performances.

Located opposite The Gateway Hotel (Taj View) Fatehabad Road, Agra, Uttar Pradesh.

bombay to barcelona cafe

BOMBAY TO BARCELONA CAFÉ – MUMBAI, INDIA

Enjoy a quiet coffee and a good book at this library café is run by street children from the Snehasadan orphanage in Mumbai.  The café was opened by Amin Sheikh, a former street child who has saw a lack of employment opportunities for homeless youth.

3 & 4 Golden Nest Co-Op. Hsg. Soc, Mapkhan Nager, Marol Naka Andheri East, Mumbai, India.

INDONESIA

Burgreens is an Indonesian social enterprise restaurant that employs advantaged women

BURGREENS – JAKARTA, INDONESIA

This hip joint serves up nutritious vegetarian and vegan fare with ingredients sourced from community farms in West Java and South Bandung, while its staff are women from disadvantaged backgrounds. They also organise a regular charity event, Pasar Ragam, an indie marketplace with craft and food products made by locals, and workshops about sustainable living – proceeds go to the Yayasan Usaha Mulia community farm and victims of the Kalimantan haze crisis.

Pacific Place, LG #18, Jl. end. Sudirman Kav 52 – 53, Jakarta.

fair warung bale social enterprise restaurant in bali

[Image Credit: Wira Watersports Bali]

FAIR WARUNG BALE – BALI, INDONESIA

Run by the Fair Future Foundation, is a cosy candlelit restaurant that serves rustic Balinese food, as well as café fare.  Each meal helps fund two medical consultations including medical treatments for those in need. All of the restaurants profits are reinvested into their medical centre, allowing them to provide free healthcare to 80 percent of patients. Bookings are recommended.

Jalan Sriwedari 6, Taman Kaja, Ubud, Bali 80517, Indonesia.

SINGAPORE

Chai Tow Kway at New Rasa Singapura, a restaurant and social enterprise that employs people with physical disabilities. The dish is also known as carrot cake - a well-loved savoury Singaporean dish.

NEW RASA SINGAPURA – SINGAPORE

New Rasa Singapura pays tribute to the old Rasa Singapura Food Centre – a favourite hawker haunt of the yesteryears – dishing out local favourites (think laksa and char kway teow) but with a social twist. New Rasa Singapura is an inclusive workplace for people with physical disabilities, recovering stroke or depression patients and the elderly. Make this place your next Happy Hour joint – a pint of Asahi is SGD 12 all night.

56 Tanglin Road, B1-02 Tanglin Post Office, Singapore 247964.

 Soon huat bak kut teh dining house chinatown

SOON HUAT DINING HOUSE – SINGAPORE

Soon Huat Dining House is a causal restaurant that offers wallet-friendly, home-style local cuisine. Standout dishes include the seafood with white mee hoon (braised rice vermicelli) and of course, their signature dry claypot bak kut teh featuring braised slow-cooked pork ribs in a peppery gravy. They offer meaningful employment, as well as training in culinary and management skills to ex-offenders and recovering drug addicts.

133 New Bridge Road, Chinatown Point #02-38, Singapore.

TAIWAN

7C KITCHEN – TAICHUNG CITY, TAIWAN

7C Kitchen believes that food should never be wasted. To that end, they work with local produce vendors to solve the problem of food waste. Surplus vegetables or fruit deemed too ‘ugly’ to be eaten is collected and cooked at their local community kitchen.

No. 40, Huamei Street, West District, Taichung City, Taiwan 403.

1982 DE GLACÉE – TAINAN, TAIWAN

Beat the heat with artisanal French-style ice cream in traditional Taiwanese flavours like Yu Shan oolong tea, as well as seasonal flavours featuring locally-grown produce such as plums and dragon fruit. This café believes in eco-friendly practices and uses sustainably sourced ingredients that are free of chemicals and pesticides. 

1/F, Lane 9, Lane 68, Yongfu Road, Central & Western District, Tainan City.

Check out our conscious foodie’s guide to Singapore or explore more sustainable travel experiences across Asia.

Want to find more about socially conscious living in Asia? Check out Asia For Good's social enterprise directory.

FEATURED SOCIAL ENTERPRISES

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