By Amanda Slavinsky
Food and the act of eating gives sustenance to the body, providing the means for people to survive. By eating at one particular restaurant in Phnom Penh, diners can give sustenance to not only themselves, but to the local community as well. Romdeng, part of the global Tree Alliance, opens its doors to underprivileged young adults, many of whom were street children, and provides them with the hospitality training and social support needed for them to find jobs.
Romdeng isn’t only a well-meaning NGO, it is also an upscale restaurant serving traditional Cambodian cuisine and modern takes on classics. Located in an old colonial villa, diners sit poolside and under palms while teams of waiters, one veteran and one trainee per table, provide attentive service. It’s easy to forget you’re dining at what is essentially a hospitality training school when these courteous young men and women are placing bowls of rich prawn curry and plates of taro and pork spring rolls in front of you. The quality of both the food and service speak volumes to the caliber of training provided by Tree Alliance.
The prices at Romdeng may be slightly higher than what many travelers are used to paying in Cambodia, but in a country where small children climb into tuk tuks begging for spare change, a few extra dollars can go a long way.
Romdeng is located at #74 Street 174 in Phnom Penh. They are open Monday to Saturday from 11am-9pm, except on Wednesday and Friday when they are closed from 1pm-5pm for student training.
About the Writer
Amanda Slavinsky is currently an MA Digital Journalism student at Goldsmiths, University of London. After graduating with a BA in History from the University of Michigan in 2009, she lived as an au pair in Rome, taught English in South Korea, and traveled around Southeast Asia. She loves food, craft beer, and street art. Amanda blogs about travel and food at Farsickness, curates a fast food blog, and tweets @amandaslav.