Dining in the Dark is Awesome

July 26, 2015


So a little while back Greg and I decided to try a dining in the dark experience at ‘Dine in the Dark‘ in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  We absolutely loved it and I have not been able to stop talking about it.  I heard about the concept before stumbling upon the restaurant on Trip Advisor (an app I use almost as much as instagram or facebook) but when we found a location in Phnom Penh I knew we had to go.  It has been something I have wanted to do and I knew dining in Phnom Penh we would be able to have the incredible experience for a fraction of the price of Bangkok, London, New York, or {insert other huge city with huge price tags here}.  Dark dining started in Switzerland at a restaurant called Blinde Kuh and has since spread like wild-fire throughout the rest of the world.  It is easy to see why this is a unique experience and it brings an entirely new meaning to the term blind date.  The largest sell though is that dining without seeing your food heightens your other senses and allows you to really experience the food in a whole new way.

Guides at DID

The experience is incredible.   We started off by arriving at a dimly lit lobby area, greeted by a very friendly staff, amazing cold towels {this might be my favorite perk of traveling in SEA} and were shown a set menu.  Since you cannot see at your table your ordering happens before you are led upstairs to your dining experience.  I chose the vegetarian set menu, Greg chose the international menu and we ordered a bottle of wine.  We then gave up all light emitting devices and they were locked in a box for us to retrieve when our dinner was over.  Next we were led out of the lobby area and up stairs by our visually impaired waiter.  We passed through 3 blackout curtains and into what felt like a decently sized room but with no other diners on a Tuesday evening we had the entire place to ourselves and our 2 waiters.  We are shown our chairs, sat down and shown where our fork, knife and spoon are as well as our wine glasses. I immediately suspected  I would spill wine on myself somewhere at some point and regretted the decision for red over white.  The start of the experience is a very cool and fun to turn the tables a bit and have a sighted person be guided by a visually impaired person.  It really shows you what dining is like if you lost your sight.

Guide DID

Our wine was poured and we were left alone in a large dark room with just each other but can hear our waiters off in the distance.  As we fumbled through the table holding hands, knocking into a fork here and there we can smell our food arriving.  It really is true other senses are heightened when you cannot see.  I loved that we each got 2 different menus because we had fun guessing what the dishes were and what foods we were eating.  We fumbled around and decided that we wouldn’t even attempt eating with a fork and knife.  So there we were, like 2 kids eating out for the first time chatting about how the food tasted, what we suspected it was and, I have no doubt, making a huge mess of the beautifully prepared and plated meal.


Now you might have the same question we did but how do you tell someone you are finished with your meal without them being able to see your plate empty as well as making eye contact and smiling?   I felt rude asking for our waiter and telling him we were done but it’s actually not rude just the way life is if you are visually impaired.  We finished our appetizers and asked for another glass of wine.  I think the wine pouring might have been the most impressive to me.  Our waiter could tell how full our glasses were and knew how much he had in the bottle because both glasses were the same weight and he finished the bottle in exactly 4 equal glasses.  It really was amazing!

Next up was the main course and we practiced our sense of smell pretty heavily on this one to see how close we could get.  We quizzed each other and even started eating like real humans, with fork and knife.  Then my favorite course of all came and it was dessert, I have to say I nailed my raspberry cheesecake thanks to thousands of cheesecakes over the years but Greg’s flan was a bit harder to figure out.  Texture like flan but sweetness like creme brûlée, it was amazing but much harder to get correct.

After we finish our meals we are again led out of the darkness and into what I thought was a dimly lit lobby but now felt like an incredibly bright sunny day.  Just for measure it was a room with only purple lights.  We were shown what our meals looked like and told what each ingredient was.  Some we were correct on but quite a few we got wrong.  For example I do not like egg yolk, runny or hard, and I loved my appetizer of poached eggs and cleared my plate, eating up every bit of that runny yolk I hate in my everyday life.  I guess I need to open my palette a bit more and not be as hard on egg yolk, turns out I love it, but only when I can’t see it.  I was also very pleased with myself I managed to get out of the restaurant without any spilled wine on my white dress!

Not only was the food fantastic but the experience was second to none.  Our conversation flowed effortlessly due to no distractions like cell phones or other people and eating food with your hands really brings out the kid in you.  You can’t help but have a great time.  Added bonus, you don’t have to worry about that spinach between your teeth because no one can see it!

I would do this dining in the dark 100 more times and highly recommend the experience to anyone.  Especially if you are in Phnom Penh ‘Dining in the Dark‘ or ‘DID’ is a wonderful choice, staff are friendly and welcoming, they truly want you to have a great time and experience a whole new way of eating.  They also have a branch in Bangkok which I am sure is wonderful as well.

We still cannot stop talking about the food, conversation, really the entire evening.  If you have the opportunity definitely take it!  We want to go back and bring a big group next time!

As always get out there and experience new things!

Have fun do everything,


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