One of a Thai food truck owner Sousanh Chanthalangsy-Bornilla is preparing for an unprecedented summer.

One of a Thai owner Sousanh Chanthalangsy-Bornilla posted on Facebook on May 21 that the food truck will be located at the Greenstone Building.
photo screenshot from Facebook

The business appeared in February 2011 and eight years later it has become a lunchtime staple for people who work downtown.

This year, customers can expect some changes due to the pandemic.

The food truck is usually operational by mid-May and normally operates until the end of October.
It is one of two food trucks – the other one being Booster Juice- that participated in the city’s 2020 Food Truck Lottery in May.

“Food truck operators will work closely with the Chief Public Health Officer to
ensure compliance with the Territorial Government’s Emerging Wisely plan and will
announce their opening dates once requirements are finalized,” Alison Harrower, corporate communications advisor with the City of Yellowknife stated in an email this week.

Sousanh Chanthalangsy-Bornilla has been working with the NWT and Nunavut Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission on safety precautions. Workers will be wearing fixed masks at all times and plexiglass has already been installed on the truck.

Customers will be expected to follow physical distancing guidelines.

“We are planning to make sure that we have pylons out for people so that they’re six feet away when they’re standing in line,” she said. “They will also just be able to text message and put their  orders in and they can just pick up and can be in and out, instead of waiting.”

Chanthalangsy-Bornilla said she and her team will have to take care of condiments and hand out utensils.

“So it will mean that it might take a little bit longer time, but we’re prepared to do that anyway,” she said.  “So I guess it will be a bit different than having everyone doing self-serve.”

Because it has been a cool spring, Chanthalangsy-Bornilla said her food truck crew were a bit late on early preparations.

“Usually when the weather gets a bit warmer, we strip down the truck, clean it all down, and then we get inspections in,” she said. “Because the weather was crappy this year, we weren’t able to do it, but once it happened we automatically made our emails and inspections came quickly. We have one more (inspection) to do and we will be able to start after that.”

RELATED COVERAGE: Food truck vendors finalize downtown locations (2019)

RELATED COVERAGE: Food truck owners pick theirs spots (2018)

The food truck counts on festivals such as Folk on the Rocks, which was cancelled as well as other major get-togethers. Revenue from such events are highly unlikely due to the GNWT’s physical distancing measures in place due to Covid.

“When we found out that all the major events were canceled, it was tough because those are our biggest money making times,” she said.

Sousanh Chanthalangsy-Bomilla of One of A Thai shows off a Combo #1 of Pad Thai, Coconut Curry and Spring rolls in 2018. The popular food truck is a bit late getting going this year and is expecting to see an uncertain season due to Covid-19.
NNSL file photo

Still, she was quite optimistic about the summer as it will mean a less hectic schedule. Typically festivals mean having to close down to the public for a week ahead of time just to prepare for the explosion of demand.

“But we realized even if they are being canceled we’re still not worried and we’re okay with it I guess,” she said. “Just to be open
for us is good enough.”

Government workers and an empty downtown

Many employees in downtown Yellowknife – including government workers from different levels – are still working from home, meaning that direct service to customers may be different than usual.

“We’re gonna see how it is for the first couple of weeks and see if downtown is busy enough and if not then we’ll look at relocating,” she said. “I’m pretty sure that wherever we go, people will still come and support us no matter what, even if downtown isn’t busy. So we’re not really too worried about that, either.”

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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