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Dine in the Dark in Bangkok: An eye-opening experience

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Dine in the Dark in Bangkok: An eye-opening experience

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This is how it went for us at Dine in the Dark Bangkok…

I stabbed my cheek with my fork!

Well, I just put my fingers in my wine.

Oh, I’ve lost a pea. Or maybe it was a piece of potato.

I think I buttered my plate, not my bread.

Just as well we’re wearing the big black aprons handed to us before we entered!

Dine in the Dark Bangkok – it’s pitch black in here!

Dine in the Dark Bangkok is a private dining room (the DID restaurant) in Bangkok’s Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit hotel.

We knew we’d be dining in the dark, getting a teeny taste of of how it feels to be blind. But we hadn’t really comprehended what it would be like to eat in such absolute blackness.

We’re so used to seeing what we put in our mouths that the experience is completely unnerving!

And kinda fun too.

Dine in the dark Bangkok
All the servers are blind

At this dark dining restaurant, the servers are all visually impaired. And, here, the tables are turned.

Instead of sighted people guiding the blind, sight-impaired servers are guiding the sighted throughout the four courses served in the evening.

We get touchy-feely dining in the dark

We first sip a cocktail in the Sheraton’s BarSu lounge.

Dining in the dark - Bangkok - BarSu
It’s cocktails first at BarSu before our blind taste testing
Dining in the Dark Bangkok - cocktail
The “last cocktail” (yes, it’s really called this!)

Then we surrender our cell phones and watches (anything that could shine light), put on our aprons and are led into the dining room.

Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you,” says our server-guide DiDi as we shuffle in a line, arms on the shoulders of the person in front, through heavy black curtains into the pitch-black restaurant and down some steps.

We’re seated side-by-side at our own table. DiDi suggests we get comfortable with our immediate surroundings by feeling around for the cutlery on the table in front of us. (We also reach out for each other – needing to know that our spouse is right there beside us!)

Dining in the Dark menu

All we know is that our food is a “surprise.”

When booking, you have the choice of Asian, Western, vegetarian or the “surprise” Dining in the Dark menu (mix of Asian and Western food).

If you have any allergies or food dislikes, you can specify this and adaptations will be made for you.

What’s this?

Without the ability to see, our other senses are heightened. We can hear more clearly – in fact, the room seems almost loud with the sounds of other people talking.

But it’s a challenge relying on our sense of taste and texture to identify what we’re eating.

Is this shrimp?

No. I think it’s chicken.

But isn’t chicken more rubbery and flavorful than shrimp?

And here we think we have sophisticated palates that can make fine taste distinctions!

After poking an empty fork into our mouths too many times, it’s just easier to get touchy-feely with our food.

More often than not we use our fingers to eat.

Besides, nobody can see us.

Dining in the dark in Bangkok
Without sight, we have to rely on our senses of smell, taste and touch

After, back in BarSu (in what seems like blaring sunlight, even though it’s dimly lit), we’re shown photos of our meal. That gets a few laughs – especially since we’re wrong in what we guessed.

(And because we don’t want to spoil the surprise, we’re going to leave you guessing what’s on the menu.)

Eyes wide open

The concept of dining in the dark originated in Switzerland when a blind pastor, Jorge Spielmann, started blindfolding his dinner guests so they could experience what eating is like for a blind person. He then opened a restaurant based on his idea.

Other dining in the dark restaurants soon followed in New York, London and Paris. Here in Canada, there are blind dining restaurants in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

For us, though, this was our first dark dinner. And it gave us a new appreciation for the obstacles the visually impaired have to overcome in a sighted world.

In more ways than one, it was an eye-opening experience.

Want to Dine in the Dark in Bangkok?

The DID Bangkok restaurant (located in the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit) only holds 24 diners, and it’s popular. Make reservations in advance.

The price (food cost) is cost is 1,450 baht p.p. (about $45 USD).

50 baht from each diner is donated to a foundation for the blind in Thailand.

See the Dine in the Dark Bangkok website for more information.

Thailand Travel Guide

Chiang Mai. Phuket. Koh Samui. Where else would you like to go besides Bangkok?

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Have you dined in the dark? Did you chow down on more air than food?


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Artwin

Tuesday 12th of January 2016

We have a similar restaurant here in Latvia, and now I really want to travel to Thailand to compare them! My friends who went there last year said that Bangkok is an awesome place, so gotta pack my bags :D

Janice and George

Tuesday 12th of January 2016

It's great to know about these dining-in-the-dark restaurants around the world... And, yes, you should go to Thailand for a warm-weather trip - very exotic place, and you'll love it :-).

Becky Padmore

Monday 10th of August 2015

Would love to try this although I'm pretty sure it would end up all over me instead!

Debbie

Saturday 1st of August 2015

We did dining in the dark when we were in NYC. It was an awesome experience and it was interesting to find out, afterwards, what you had eaten. Darcy and I were trying to share some food - they sit you across from who you came with - and he poked me in the eye a couple times. You really can't see in front of you, at all!

Janice and George

Saturday 1st of August 2015

Thankfully we were seated beside each other, instead of opposite like you :-). We didn't poke each other in the eye, but we did butter each other's hands at one point searching for the butter dish with our fingers.

Camille

Friday 24th of July 2015

I have been wanting to try this for a long time, but I'm a bit worried as I can be pretty picky with certain foods... I think there are quite a few of those restaurants around the world, and I heard about one where they actually serve you really unusual dishes, haha!

Nancie

Sunday 19th of July 2015

This is at the top of my list for the next time I'm in BKK> I love the idea.

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