Selling Ice Cream on Bangkok’s Weekend Market

On Bangkok’s famous weekend market (ตลาดจตุจักร) there are about a dozen people, mostly women, who earn their living by selling ice cream.

The ice cream is produced on the spot. Each seller has a kind of kettle, full of ice cubes swimming in water. The “kettle“ is covered by a lid, which has many holes. In these holes test tube-like vessels are inserted. After pouring Coca Cola, Fanta, Sprite, or juices into the tubes and after inserting a wooden stick, the liquid freezes and is soon ready to be sold. Usually up to seven different kinds of ice cream are offered.

When a customer wants to buy an ice cream the vendor puts a tube in warm water for a moment, so that the ice cream can easily be taken out of the tube.

Several interviews with the vendors revealed that by selling ice cream it is not easy to make money on the weekend market. The market is only open on Saturday and Sunday, each day about 200 to 250 pieces are sold, at 4 Baht each. So the vendor’s income is about 800 to 1000 Baht per day. But naturally she has to invest some money: she has to rent the place (300 Baht), she has to buy ice-cubes (100 Baht), several liquids and the wooden sticks (100 Baht). Thus her profit is about 300-500 Baht a day, which is about 6 to 10 Euros only.

Market Singer

Another way how to make one’s living: this lady with her striking make up and her rather fancy dress was sitting outside the weekend market (ตลาดจตุจักร) in Bangkok (so she need not pay any rent for the place). She was singing modern Thai songs (love songs). Thai people passing by usually did not give her any money, but I saw westeners (“farangs” / ฝรั่ง) listening to her and putting 50 or even 100 Baht (1 or 2 Euros) in her bowl… I spoke to the lady and asked her about her “income”, she told me she would get about 1000 Baht (50 Euro) per day, but to judge from what I saw it could easily be the double amount…


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