Thai food vendor sparks debate after giving free food to foreign backpacker (video)

Photo via TikTok/ @aeowxx

A Thai food vendor sparked a debate on social media after giving free food to a foreign backpacker in the southern province of Surat Thani. Many netizens hailed the vendor’s gesture while others said the foreign woman just took advantage of Thais’ kindness.

The food vendor shared a video of the foreign backpacker eating food at her restaurant on her TikTok account, @aeowxx, last week.

“Foreigner asked for food. She doesn’t have any money.”

The foreign woman was seen eating at a table in the restaurant with a backpack strapped on. A foreign man who was a customer at the shop also gave the woman a bottle of water before she left.

The vendor explained that she was preparing food on the table for her son. However, her son was too busy with customers and did not have time to eat. The foreign backpacker thought the food was leftover and asked if she could eat it, which the vendor allowed.

Many Thai TikTokers praised the vendor for her kindness and for creating a good image for Thai tourism.

“Thai people always have a kind heart.”

“I hope Thai people always have such kind hearts.”

“This seems like a small thing but the result was huge. Our kindness brings a good reputation to the country!”

“Thank you for sharing! It is small to Thais but important to foreigners. They appreciate it!”

“This is Thailand’s soft power! I wish your business every success.

Different perspective

Many other Thai netizens had a different view of the vendor’s actions. Some said the foreign woman might have money but wanted to save it for her next trips while others saw the foreign backpacker as taking advantage of Thais’ kind hearts.

A Thai travel blogger and YouTuber, Komkrit “Sunny” Machai, shared his opinion about the foreign backpacker on his Facebook page, Backpaeger แบกเป้เกอร์, yesterday, January 30. Sunny stated that the Thai vendor did not do anything wrong but believed the foreign backpacker was irresponsible.

“This backpacker has no responsibility for her financial management. If you have no money, go back home and earn more for your travels. I think the minimum wage per hour in her country is much higher than in Thailand. Backpackers are tourists travelling on a budget, not tourists looking for free stuff.

As many netizens mentioned that the foreign woman lost her wallet while travelling, Sunny said she could seek help from the embassy if that was the case. Sunny also asked his followers if he would be criticised for asking for free food like this foreign woman.

Most of Sunny’s followers agreed with him, while the others thought his complaint was too negative. Some netizens commented that the vendor might not do the same to Thais.



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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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