Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Blind dining comes to Siem Reap

Blind dining comes to Siem Reap

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Upon arrival at Dine in the Dark restaurant, guests are greeted by the visually impaired team members who comprise the entire dining room service staff . Photo supplied

Blind dining comes to Siem Reap

Picture the scenario – you’re seated at a dining table in a room so dark you can’t see the cutlery and a plate inches before you. A server enters the room; the tantalising smell of your freshly prepared meal fills the air.

Placed in front of you, your senses heightened with your vision eliminated, the source of the aroma remains a tantalising mystery to you as you place the food in your mouth.

This is the experience offered at restaurant Dine in the Dark (DID), which after a successful opening in Phnom Penh three years ago has now arrived in Siem Reap town.

“Complete darkness is very hard to find on Earth. It can only be found in deep underground caves, where not everyone has the chance to go. Being in total 100 per cent darkness is already an experience in itself as you lose one of the senses you are used to rely on the most. You then have to rely on all your other senses,” said DID’s public relations manager Sophie Clemenson.

“The taste of ingredients are really different when you don’t see them. It is very fun for the guests to try to guess, make their assumptions, and then discover what they have eaten,” she added.

Upon arrival, guests are greeted by the visually impaired team members, or “guides”, who comprise the entire dining room service staff. The guides manage the entire dining room operation, including leading guests into the pitch black dining room, serving them their meals and clearing tables.

In doing so, the visually impaired members of staff – two of whom, impressively, are able to wait on 30 patrons at once – not only raise awareness about the complexity of navigating life blind, but also demonstrate their skills in a demanding customer-facing role to which they would normally not have access.

“The interaction with the visually impaired is one of the most lauded aspects of all DID locations, as guests routinely commend their guides not only for their engaging and friendly nature, but also their professionalism and quality of service,” said Clemenson.

DID’s premise is that with your vision eliminated, you will heighten your non-visual senses, thus enjoying stronger flavours, scents, and textures of the food. The five-course Khmer menu is $27, with a vegetarian option also available.

“The Kimsan twins [the restaurant’s chefs] have designed a Khmer menu and a vegetarian menu. They are both composed of five dishes, and sold at $27. Surprise menus make the experience more enjoyable for guests. Diners can let their non-visual senses take over and guess what’s on their plates. The menu is only revealed to the guests at the end of the dinner,” Clemenson said.

Replying to concern about harmful food, Sophie said that special care is put on safety. All dishes and drinks are served at a safe temperature, so there is no risk for the diners.

DID launched on December 12 at their new location on Makara Street, Siem Reap town. For more information, contact Sophie Clemenson via [email protected].


  • Sihanoukville building collapse death toll rises to 19

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Sunday that the government will act against those responsible for the collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville on Saturday, which resulted in 19 dead and 24 injured as of Sunday evening. Sar Kheng said three Chinese nationals and one

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials

  • Funcinpec ‘set to sell their headquarters’, says source

    An anonymous source from Funcinpec said acting president Prince Norodom Chakravuth had held a meeting with other officials to discuss selling several of the party headquarters across the country while the party president Prince Norodom Ranariddh receives medical treatment at the Royal Phnom Penh Hospital