Friday, 17 October 2014 22:53

The Kebab Man

Written by Glen Riley

In the first of a new series of articles exploring the lives of ordinary, everyday people, Glen Riley talks to anh Tuan, the owner of a Turkish-style kebab stand. Translation by Mi Nguyen and Le Thi Quynh Ngan


Owner: Tuan

Location: Corner of De Tham and Co Bac


How long have you been open? More than one year.


Why did you decide to serve kebabs? It’s a new cuisine to Vietnamese people and Vietnamese people like to try out new foods.


Why kebabs instead of banh mi? The meat is slow roasted so it’s always hot and fresh unlike banh mi sandwiches that use mostly processed meat. All my ingredients are purchased daily from the local market. The profits for kebabs and banh mi are the same, but I provide a better product.


What did you do before you opened your kebab stand? I worked for a petroleum company for several years. But, with the economic downturn, my company went bankrupt and I lost my job.


How does running a food stand compare with your previous position? Running a food stand is much better. The hours are longer, but the profits are much higher than my previous salary. Also when I sell out I can go home. I set my own hours.


Where did you get the idea for a kebab stand? My cousin is a resident in Germany and he told me about it. I was convinced this would be a successful business and invested in four carts. As soon as the economy improves I will bring the other carts out of storage.


Where did you get the equipment? The spit is made in Vietnam, but the heating element had to be imported from Turkey.


How many do you sell in a day? One average about 100. But on busy days I can sell up to 200.


What are your hours of operation? I start at 3pm and finish at 9pm, or when I run out of product.


Do you sell on rainy days? Of course. I’m under a canopy. Rain is not an issue for me.


What changes have you noticed about Vietnam in the last 10 years? You see a lot of change on the surface. But the cost of living is rising much faster than the average family income. The buying power of the average consumer has declined. Same as anywhere else in the world.


What is your opinion on the current economy? Compared with four years ago it’s slow. But, it’s stable at the moment.


What are your hopes for the future? I hope the overall global economy improves along with Vietnam. If it does, my revenue will increase and I can put my other carts on the street.

Last modified on Monday, 20 October 2014 16:54

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