Chapter 9: From Uber Eats and DoorDash to Lineman, foodpanda and Grab
Too tired to cook? Too hot to cook? Don't feel like going out to get food? Why not order in?
It's easy in Thailand. Just give Grab, foodpanda, or Lineman a call. One of their drivers will be there in a jiffy. We know. We've seen these motorcycles whip in and out of traffic at sometimes questionable speeds. As far as I know, they always get to their destination.
Many Thai people don't prepare their own food but rather, they pick up street food and either eat it at tables set up along sidewalks, or they take it to go and eat it at home. There are a number of reasons for this:
It's cheaper and faster to buy it on the street than to buy the the ingredients and make it at home. In some countries, eating street food isn't safe but that isn't the case in Thailand. Street food is safe AND delicious!
Many Thais commute sometimes long distances to and from work so street food is practical.
Many Thai homes don't have what we as Westerners would consider traditional kitchens. Oh their kitchen will probably have a fridge, some counter space and, nowadays, a microwave, but often not a stove (though perhaps a hotplate) and definitely not an oven. Eating food prepared by vendors has been their way of life for centuries.
It used to be that people would stop in front of food stalls or shops, often blocking traffic, to order and wait for their take out meal. Nowadays (and partially thanks to Covid), it's less stressful and faster to just let a motorcycle driver deliver your food all for a minimal extra cost. And how do you pay? Well, just set up your bank account to use QR codes and you're ready for easy payment.
These drivers really are everywhere. You'll know them by their uniforms: green for Grab and Lineman, pink for foodpanda. They'll pick up food from the smallest of food stalls, as long as the eatery has a QR code and is connected to the app of choice. The driver then, just follows the pin on their phones as they maneuver through even the narrowest of streets to pick up and deliver.
Fast and efficient.
So, the next time you're in Thailand and have a craving for pad siew or yam khay daw, don't go out and fight traffic. Just find a food place in your vicinity that makes these dishes and connect to a delivery service. The motorcycle man will be there as fast as you can figure out how to say, "Thank you" in Thai.
Then relax, sit down, and enjoy one of many tasty and unique dishes that this country is known for.
And now I'm hungry. Hmmm. What will we order tonight?