Thai Vendor Has Been Roasting Chicken Using Sunlight For 20 Years


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You must have heard of some DIY ways of cooking things with sunlight or seen some solar cooker type gadgets, but a man in Thailand has been doing it for over two decades.

Sila Sutharat from Phetchaburi, Thailand was an ordinary street vendor who cooked chicken over a charcoal fire, but now he uses 300 degrees Celsius of natural sunlight to do the same. In 1997, it all changed when the window of a passing bus reflected sunlight on to him, and he felt its heat. That is when he decided to use this sunlight to cook his chicken by building a contraption that captures sunlight.

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Talking about people’s reaction to his idea, he commented, “They said that I’d gone mad, that cooking chicken like this was impossible.” The jokes and insults did not stop Sila and he built his invention of a panel with 1,000 small movable mirrors, working just the way he had expected them to. His solar cooker took only 10 to 15 minutes to cook a 1.5 kg chicken leaving the people awestruck.

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He first built a curved metal frame onto which the small mirrors were attached that concentrated the sunlight on a row of marinated chicken, which was cooked in just a few minutes. According to Suthart, the solar roaster can generate temperatures of up to 312 degrees Celsius, which requires him to wear a welder’s mask at all times.

Mali Pansari, the wife of food vendor Sila Sutharat, removing chicken from the grill. (Source: The Straits Times)

Suthart’s unusual way of cooking chicken has attracted many visitors who were curious to taste the sun-cooked chicken over the past couple of decades. The method is much better than the traditional cooking methods, saving fuel costs, cooks the chicken very evenly and is completely clean.

Acknowledging his genius, the Phetchaburi Rajabhat University has awarded Sila with an honorary science degree.

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