Before Covid-19 came to Thailand, it seemed very street in Pattaya had at least a couple food carts selling shish kebab.
From Beach Road to Soi Photisan to all the small sois in between, hundreds of modified sidecar carts sold grilled chicken, pork, hot dogs, sticky rice, liver and meatballs. These days, a good food cart is hard to find.
Boon Sanguan has been grilling shish kebab for 30 years, most recently on Soi Photisan in Naklua. He said most of his friends and competitors have quit and even sold their carts, unable to make a living after two rounds of coronavirus shutdowns.
For months, chicken grillers have raced all over town, but found more vendors than customers. The combination of no foreign tourists, bar closures and more people working from home has wiped out the customer base, even though a barbecue skewer sells for as little as 10 baht.
Boon said he is doing better than most, as he put money away during good times, bought his own home and didn’t take out expensive loans. He also has cut back on the amount of raw food he buys, leaving him more cash on hand.
So, even earning 500 baht a day or less, Boon said he can survive, for now.