Koh Seng Choon, right, talks to volunteers at Dignity Kitchen. (AP/Vincent Yu)

Koh Seng Choon, right, talks to volunteers at Dignity Kitchen. (AP/Vincent Yu)

Customers eat at Dignity Kitchen in Hong Kong. (AP/Vincent Yu)

Customers eat at Dignity Kitchen in Hong Kong. (AP/Vincent Yu)

A staff member gestures behind the counter with a board showing sign language instructions. (AP/Vincent Yu)

A staff member gestures behind the counter with a board showing sign language instructions. (AP/Vincent Yu)

Mr. Koh wants to train disabled people at the restaurant so that they can get jobs in the food and service industry. (AP/Vincent Yu)

Mr. Koh wants to train disabled people at the restaurant so that they can get jobs in the food and service industry. (AP/Vincent Yu)

Worker Carol Wong slices fish cake at Dignity Kitchen. (AP/Vincent Yu)

Worker Carol Wong slices fish cake at Dignity Kitchen. (AP/Vincent Yu)

A Kitchen for Human Dignity

Posted: March 1, 2021

Dignity Kitchen sits smack dab in the middle of Hong Kong’s busy Mong Kok neighborhood. It serves mouthwatering food. Spicy noodles. Sweet cakes. Warm rice. But the restaurant offers something more important than good food. It serves dignity to people with disabilities. Honor. Respect. Worth. Dignity Kitchen is almost completely staffed by employees with physical or mental disabilities.

The kitchen is huge. It’s designed like a food court with many different food stations. An employee with a disability mans each station.

A deaf employee runs the drink stall. Posters at the stall encourage customers to learn simple sign language to order drinks and say, “Thank you.”

An employee with autism operates the rice stall. At first, the employee could barely communicate with strangers. Now, he is excited to introduce the dish to customers. “We used to prepare a script for him,” says founder Koh Seng Choon, smiling proudly. “But now, eight months, nine months later, he can’t stop talking.”

At Dignity Kitchen, people learn useful skills. Most importantly, they know how valuable they are. Employees with disabilities CAN work hard and learn new things. Luke 12:7 says, “Why, even the hairs of your head are numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” 

“Director (Mr. Koh) told me that he doesn’t care about our disabilities. He only focuses on our abilities,” says Ming Chung. She’s a visually impaired administrative assistant at Dignity Kitchen.

Carol Wong also works at the restaurant. She is mildly intellectually disabled. The food preparation skills she has learned will help her work in other restaurants one day. “At first I was afraid, but since I started working in this restaurant, I’ve become unafraid of chopping food,” she says.

What do customers think about Dignity Kitchen? “I think this is very meaningful, so we’ve come to try,” says Lisa Gu. “The food is also delicious.” Diners are drawn to the restaurant by its mission––and its good food.