Jul 05, 2012|
What were you doing before this job?
I worked as a traffic conductor and tuk tuk driver in Udon Thani before my brother suggested I join him in selling pla grim kai tao. He taught me all about dessert-making. The first place I worked as a vendor was in Lopburi province. I carried the dessert around on a shoulder pole while shouting down each lane. I sold it for about B2 per cup. I moved around a lot before settling in this part of Bangkok because my pla grim is really popular here.
Where did you get your pla grim kai tao recipe from?
Back in my home community in Udon Thani, everyone makes this dessert. It’s all about getting the pla grim soft and sticky, but not too much. It’s just not tasty if it’s too hard.
What’s your regular day like?
I get up at 3am to prepare the dessert. I separate the pla grim into two portions: one for me to sell and the other for my granddaughter to sell elsewhere. We sell out every day. I’ve never had any dessert left to take home at the end of the day, even though I start with more than 500 cups worth. We have a lot of regular customers.
What’s your income?
It’s not too bad. I earn more than B5,000 a day but have to spend B2,000 on daily supplies, so my profit is around B3,000. The secret to making more profit is being economical and reducing expenses. I always stock up on ingredients from the market, like flour and sugar, and store them at my house. I rent two rooms: one for my family and the other for storage. It’s cheaper to buy in bulk.
Has the job changed?
Nowadays I use tons of sugar. In the past, coconut was five or six baht per kilo, so earning around B400 a day was enough to cover expenses and make a living. But now coconut costs more than B100 per kilo.
How do customers react to your outfit?
They often say I look clean and smart, and that this makes my dessert even more appetizing. Some customers drive up to me and ask whether I get hot dressing this way, but the truth is I’m used to this style. It’s almost to the point where I couldn’t go to work if I wasn’t dressed like this.
Do you get tired walking around in the middle of the day?
It’s tiring, but when I get home and count my earnings, I’m extremely proud of my efforts. I’m proud of being a vendor. But when I get really tired, I take a break, and just send my granddaughter out. That way we can still make a profit of about B400.
Do you have any advice for other vendors?
All vendors have different ways of selling their goods. But I think it’s a waste of time trying to think up marketing gimmicks. I just try to make my pla grim kai tao full-flavored and delicious—and that’s why my customers love it.