旅行日期: 2016/06/08 18:00
Empowering the Youth – HAVEN Restaurant
On our last night we went to HAVEN for a delicious meal and insightful cultural exchange with their restaurant manager and employees. HAVEN is a non-religious social enterprise and a training restaurant for underprivileged young adults from orphanages and safe shelters. Apart from being one of the most successful social enterprise in Siem Reap, HAVEN is also one of the top-rated restaurants in Siem Reap on Tripadvisor.
The training programme at HAVEN typically lasts for around 15 months, where each trainee would receive training covering different aspect of the operation of a restaurant, as well as an internship at the HAVEN restaurant or other outside organisations. After they graduate, they are encouraged to seek other employment opportunities or even start their own business, thus increasing the social value created by HAVEN.
The food at HAVEN is of very wide variety, ranging from traditional Khmer specialties like amok and Khmer curry to Western dishes like schnitzel and fish and chips. This triggered our interest because we thought it may be easier to train chefs and appeal to foreign tourists if the restaurant specialises in traditional Khmer cuisine. However, the restaurant manager Steffi shared with us the mission of HAVEN, which is not to maximise profit or brand name, but to help its employees and trainees through offering trainings to cuisines of different kind and paying them a reasonable wage. By teaching the employees to cook wider variety of food, HAVEN increased their possibility of finding other employment opportunities after they graduate from HAVEN.
There’s a cute and friendly cat in HAVEN with whom we played for a while. Later we were told that it was in fact the cat of HAVEN’s neighbour but it keeps sneaking into the restaurant because they have better food, haha! Way to go, smart cat!
We shared with Steffi and other employees our postcard and the Hong Kong food we brought with us and they were very excited about the food because they have never been to Hong Kong. We explained to them the origin and legends related to milk tea (how it is best made with stockings), sweetheart cake (made by the wife of a chef in a famous restaurant in Guangzhou) and sachima (modified version of sweet snack in Manchu cuisine). In return, they shared with us how their food is sorted and prepared, as well as the major difficulties the team had faced when building the restaurant from scratch.
The yummy meal in the beautifully decorated and relaxing atmosphere at HAVEN has marked the end of our amazing journey in Siem Reap. We went back to the hotel for packing and preparing for the early flight on the next day (before sneaking out again for late-night food haha!) The past four days has been an invaluable experience and a trip that we will never forget. Now we know what you all have been wondering: why didn’t we offer any shopping tips or recommend any restaurants in Siem Reap? No worries! We are compiling the ultimate shopping and foodie guide just for you. Stay tuned!