Khanun offers vocational restaurant training for marginalized youth
Hidden away in a quiet alley, only a short walk away from Khao San Road, the recently opened Khanun restaurant makes a welcome break from the crazy jostling that takes over Bangkok’s backpacker haven at night. Sitting in a restored 1950s house, complete with a relaxed outdoor area, the intimate eatery can accommodate about 30 persons. Its small, but thoughtfully created menu offers what is termed ‘Creative Local Cuisine’—a mix of Thai-inspired dishes with a twist, using locally sourced ingredients. One such example is the Crispy mixed mushroom salad (B220), contrasted by the Mediterranean touches of soft zucchini slices and creamy pesto—and further illustrated by the refreshing addition of lime juice to the traditional Thai red ice tea shake (B90).
While the delicious food itself is certainly a good enough reason to visit, another is the fact that by dining here you’ll also support Bangkok’s marginalized youth. By providing vocational training in cooking and services, the restaurant aims to help kids out of poverty and build a better future for themselves.
Khanun is a project of Peuan Peuan, the Thailand arm of the organization Friends-International. This NGO, active in several countries, has been developing social business models and child protection elements to change lives and build a future for children, families, and communities. A testament for their success—among many others—are their other vocational training restaurants in Cambodia, Laos, and Ethiopia that have been successfully running for several years.
Peuan Peuan (which means “friends” in Thai) are making their mark in Thailand, extending their range of programs that address the obstacles affecting youth unemployment, unsafe migration, child abuse, and lack of access to services in Bangkok and at the Thai-Cambodian border.
While there are no strict age requirements to receive the training, the kids are usually aged between 16 and 24 and are trained in the numerous processes involved in kitchen and restaurant service—from food preparation, hygiene, stocking,and labelling, to customer service and communication, English skills, and working the cash machine. After 12-18 months of both classroom based and hands-on training (the duration really depends on the individual student’s interest and background), the students are then further supported in finding a job in the hospitality industry.
Currently there are six students at Khanun working six days a week—from 2pm to 9pm, including one-hour break. While they receive two meals a day, money for transport, health check-ups, uniforms, and tips, any profits of the restaurant are reinvested into Peuan Peuan’s programs of helping children in Thailand.
NOTE: The restaurant is also home to a small Friends ‘N’ Stuff fair trade gift shop, giving parents the opportunity to earn fair wages and health benefits by making creative products out of everyday material.
53 Trok Rong Mai, Chao Fa Rd.
Open: Mon-Sat, 5pm-10pm | Tel: 094 690 3832