Nothing beats a home cooked meal, but at Fika Swedish Café and Bistro they have added a little cherry on top of their Swedish food experience: you will be a part of their mission to make a difference. Can you imagine a better feeling than being full and helpful at the same time? Neither can we!
“We will strive our best to give back to society,” says owner Tasneem Noor-Smidhagen.
She and Joakim Smidhagen opened Fika Café in 2008, with the concept of making Swedish food available for everyone. When Tasneem backpacked in Sweden, she was curious to try out the Swedish cuisine, but since most of the dishes were made of pork or were non-halal, she was limited to taste the many exotic dishes. Joakim missed his Swedish food – and voila, Fika Café was born: a homely atmosphered café serving authentic Swedish dishes made halal.
“We aim to make it very traditionally Swedish. Most of the recipes are from my mother, and we have not changed the recipes nor added an Asian twist to them. It is important that the Swedes who visit us get a meal as they would if it was cooked by their mamma’s at home.” says Joakim.
The couple wants to serve their guests a truly Swedish experience, and this does not stop with food. According to the couple, it’s typical Scandinavian to give, and that is exactly what they want to do, too.
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity, but you are not sure you can do it, just go for it. Then learn how to do it later,” says Tasneem.
These words are from her favorite quote by Sir Richard Branson.
“And that’s how we did it!” she adds to the quote.
Tasneem and Joakim fell in love at the airport in Malmö. She was on her way back, but the couple were so fond of each other, that one year after, Joakim moved to Singapore because of love. None of them had ever worked within the restaurant field, nor had they set up a company themselves. But when the two former designers had the chance to open up a business together, they took it.
They now have three café outlets, two children, a marriage, and they’re about to open a new bakery. Is it possible to have more things to care about?
“It is important to us that we do our part to give back to the society. We are privileged in both Sweden and in Singapore, and we believe in helping each other. We care. And we will strive to make our community a better place.”
It has always been common to both Joakim and Tasneem to support an organization. But this year, Fika Café began a movement called #FIKACARES, where supporting others is the alpha and omega focus. Fika Café is now collaborating with five different support organizations; Hope Villages Fund, Singapore Children’s Society, Breast-feeding friends Singapore, Spirit of Enterprise Awards, and Muslim Kidney Action Association. Since Fika Café is a family restaurant owned by a family, children hold a very special place in their hearts, why most of their support organizations regard children and families. But it’s not all about giving out financial support.
“We want to be a part of the different organizations. We want to know them,” says Joakim and Tasneem.
And how to show you care? Tasneem finds this question very easy to answer.
“We show love by food,” she says. Tasneem and Joakim love feeding people, and when they began collaborating with Singapore Children’s Society, Fika hosted a big birthday party for the children. Here they children could join cooking classes, decorate cupcakes, sing birthday songs to each other, and of course, be spoiled with delicious food and birthday cake.
To Fika, it is important to see, meet, and get to know the real people behind the foundation, which is the reason why they invite real people to dinner, events, and workshops.
Since 2009, Fika has been supporting the Hope Villages Fund, and provided clean water to the people of the villages in Cambodia. We also make it a point to visit the villages yearly so as we are physically part of the lives of the villagers as well.
Fika Café is also proud to be the part of the 1000 Enterprises for children in need by the Singapore Children’s Association.
It warms their hearts to make others happy, and even if their lives are busy, Joakim and Tasneem will always find time to help others. Nothing is more important than caring about each other – and to show it!
“All these efforts stem from the belief that if we focus our hearts on genuinely helping those around us, we will find that the profits that we make become more easily attainable and ultimately much more rewarding.” They say.
“We are really excited about #FikaCares, and we hope our small efforts can be a change for somebody, or inspire others to do the same.”
Fika Café’s guests will automatically be a part of giving to others. Either by dining at Fika, since Fika donates money from the café, or by apply to become volunteers for the different events and seminars too. Fika Café hopes you will join them on their mission to make a difference, and as we mentioned in the beginning, is there a better feeling than knowing you are doing an effort and at the same time having a wonderful meal as a Swedish mother would have made it?