“Moo Krata” by the sea
With Thais craving a return to the moo krata feasts they so enjoyed before COVID-19 sent us all into quasi solitary confinement, sellers of this popular food have been finding ways to get it delivered to customers, even when they are on the beach.
While consumers in Bangkok and big cities enjoy moo krata home delivery by motorcycle or pickup truck, visitors to Pranburi, a popular seaside resort city south of Bangkok, can sit back, relax and wait for their moo krata by the sea.
Moo krata is a Thai eating culture associated with friendship, fun, sharing, and the sense of getting together. A tasty combination of Asian barbecue and Chinese hotpot, a moo krata dinner is a fun activity where a group of friends or family members enjoy grilling meat, boiling vegetables, sharing food, and chatting over the moo krata pan. This makes moo krata a preferred meal choice for any occasion, whether people are happy or sad, relaxed or stressed.
Moo krata is available everywhere – big cities, small towns, shopping plazas, fresh markets, remote villages, on the road, and even beachside, as a recent visit to Pranburi revealed.
As the sun started to set and a sea breeze blew in the promise of a pleasantly cool evening, street vendors pushed their carts out along the coastal road in Pak Nam Pran. Before long, the stalls selling food had grown into a long and lively line with those offering moo krata doing a particularly roaring trade.
On the carts were plates of assorted sliced meat and seafood – chicken, pork, pork belly, prawns, squid, pork liver and fish balls. Prices ranged from 250-400 baht depending on the types of meat and quantity with a small set more than adequate to feed 2 or 3 people. Behind the sellers, assistants could be seen lighting several charcoal stoves at a time to get them ready for hungry customers.
Here, customers only need to tell the sellers whether they want a big or small set, then pick up a colorful mat, find a place to sit down by the sea, spread the mat on the ground, and hold their chopsticks at the ready. It doesn’t take long for the earthen stoves filled with burning charcoal to be carried to the mat and placed in the center surrounded by the plates of food. Now it’s time to dig in.
During the peak hours on any evening, it’s not unusual to see one or more groups of customers enjoying moo krata every five meters along this coastal road.
In cities, a moo krata shop delivers the pan and the ingredients to a customer’s home and comes back the next day or sometimes a few hours later to pick up the pan. In Pranburi, customers only collect the food waste and put it in the provided bins, walking back to their hotels or homes, leaving the stove, pan and bowls on the mat for the sellers to pick up before going home. What better way to spend an evening?