If you’re in Siem Reap, Cambodia, definitely check out HAVEN, a social enterprise and training restaurant for disadvantaged young adults. The restaurant is beautiful, the food delicious, and the cause absolutely worthwhile.
Located a short way outside the old market, HAVEN is on a pretty dark (if it’s nighttime), not very touristy street. But don’t let that deter you! I went for dinner and when I turned off the main road I reconsidered my decision for a moment, but could see the bright lights of Haven just a block away and forged ahead. I’m so glad I did!
The restaurant is very clean and fresh-looking (they have recently relocated, so everything is new and beautiful). There’s a covered outdoor seating area, as well as an indoor area with a full view of the kitchen.
Consider making reservations! I just showed up and was only able to eat because I was alone and could squeeze in at the bar. They were completely booked for the evening.
There is both Asian and Western food on the menu, with plenty of well-marked vegetarian and vegan options. I had the Vegetable-Ginger-Tofu stir-fry and fresh Pineapple-Apple-Ginger juice, which were both incredible. This was the best meal I had in Cambodia by far.
More About the Program
HAVEN provides a free 15-month training program for disadvantaged young adults. The trainees live in provided housing (with a housemum) and receive food, medical care, hygiene products, shoes, clothing, and bicycles at no cost. The trainees work at the restaurant, where they receive vocational training from industry professionals; HAVEN actively assists the students in finding meaningful employment after graduation.
Tipping: Tips are shared by the whole Khmer team. The staff are paid in cash; the trainees’ portions are saved until their training is finished, when they receive a lump sum payout. Although tipping is not common in Cambodia, consider leaving a bit more generously here, as the money is going to a great cause.