Mobile Food Vendors – ร้านรถเข็น-ริมทาง
Thai street food is famous around the world. But what attracts the most attention is that you can buy food almost anywhere and at anytime. Some street food is sold in three-walled shophouses, others on the footpath or in front of office buildings, while others are completely mobile and come and go as they please. This is how street food started in Thailand. The photos below show you examples of what is being sold in carts and in baskets carried on poles on the shoulders.
This is what you would call a traditional street hawker (หาบเร่). Carrying his wares in baskets hanging from a pole over his shoulder. Many walk far during the day. I met this one near Thonburi railway station. He had just come up from Ratchaburi province by train and he will spend the day walking around Bangkok Noi selling his wares. You don’t see this kind of dedication any longer. This tradition will die out along with this generation.
A hundred years ago or so, most people lived on or alongside waterways. There were hardly any roads like we have today. So, the only way people got around was on boats. Which means the very first mobile food vendors paddled up and down the canals. You can still see them in some areas today. I took this picture at a homestay in Amphawa. Instead of going out to eat, this boat food vendor paddled up to our front porch and cooked some Pad Thai for us.
This vendor is selling fruit in a glass showcase on wheels. Looks like he is selling pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon, mango and guava. The fruit on the left are sitting on blocks of ice to help keep them cool and fresh. If you are lazy like myself in preparing or peeling fruit, then these guys save you a lot of time. They usually have a set route with the same stops each day. Once they have sold all of their fruit, they will then push their mobile shop home.
This is the ice cream man. You will hear him coming as he rings his little bell. I am always tempted to buy from my local hawker. Particularly on a hot day. It’s coconut ice cream and in my opinion its far superior to what’s sold at 7-Eleven and of course a lot cheaper. You have a choice of having it in a plastic cup or in a bread roll. It’s often sold with sticky rice, peanuts and condensed milk. But that is up to you.
This vendor is selling Grilled Pork on Skewers (Moo Ping). It is being cooked on a charcoal grill. Note the fan above pointing directly down onto the grill. Looks like the spare charcoal is stored in those plastic bags. Moo Ping is often sold with a bag of sticky rice and a spicy dip,
This type of mobile vendor is selling Thai style sausages and meat balls. Notice the angle of the grill over the charcoal fire. It is different to the earlier one I showed you. She will serve these in a plastic bags together with a spicy sauce.
Another food vendor cooking meat over a charcoal fire. This one is cooking Satay Pork. However, this vendor isn’t as mobile as the previous one. They will push the cart to a food market or any spot where they have paid rent. Once they have finished selling, they will wheel it home. The charcoal grill on this one is longer and placed on a stand.
Again, this food vendor doesn’t sell along the way. She will push the cart to a pre-determined location where she will set up and start selling. Once finished, she will push the cart home or to a place where she stores it. This one is selling noodles. You can see ducks hanging up in the glass showcase on the right. On the shelf below are the different types of noodles. To the left is the soup. You can just see it has a separate section which she cooks the noodles in. This particular stall also sells duck on rice.
This vendor is popular on a hot day. As you can see, she squeezes fresh oranges. The glass showcase has bottles of orange juice surrounded by crushed ice. All looks good, doesn’t it? But there is a controversy on this one. Some vendors have been caught watering the juice down with tap water or only pretending to use real oranges, but used powered orange instead. I only buy at a trusted vendor these days.
Stay tuned as I will be adding more examples of food vendors soon…..