Vendors in Thailand’s north-eastern Buri Ram province gave away more than 500kg of meatballs to celebrate the birthday of Thai K-pop star, Lisa of Blackpink.
The giveaway on Monday took place at the Buri Ram railway station, where vendors in the vicinity have been doing brisk business because of the rapper, singer and dancer.
Lisa once revealed in an interview that her favourite childhood snack – grilled and deep-fried meatballs with Thai chilli paste – were from vendors behind the station.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand in Buri Ram posted on its Facebook page on Monday: “Thank you Lisa for making the meatball business in Buri Ram popular, it changed everyone’s life.”
It added: “We wish Lisa success, fame, good health, and to be loved by everyone in this world.”
While promoting her solo single Lalisa during a television interview in September 2021, Lisa said she missed the “yuen kin meatballs”.
“They’re really popular. People buy and eat them right away at Buri Ram train station,” she told Thai host Vuthithorn “Woody” Milintachinda.
She said what made the meatballs special was the sauce, a special Thai chilli paste that could be found only in the area.
“That place is so good. You can’t find it anywhere else,” she added.
Days after the interview was aired, the vendors saw an influx of customers, with sales reportedly going through the roof.
A meatball vendor, Mr Arunsri Kamnerdklang, told The Bangkok Post that sales had languished to only a few hundred baht a day because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the K-pop star’s interview caused earnings to skyrocket to more than 10,000 baht (S$387) a day, mostly from online orders.
According to Mr Bordin Ruengsuksriwong, the provincial Tourism Industry Council president, the vendors received about 2,000 orders a day as a result of Lisa’s plug.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had previously thanked Lisa for introducing Thai culture to the world, following the release of her single, which featured scenes from her home town as well as Thai culture.