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Wet Fresh Food Markets in Thailand

Photographer: Barbara Walton


Thailand's 'wet' fresh food markets are part of a centuries-old tradition where the fresh product has been sold for cheap prices. With wet and grimy floors under the fresh meat, fish and vegetables, the markets are spiced by the heady smells of raw meat, fresh fish, vegetables and fresh made food. There is also a busy community feel in the markets, held in narrow streets or covered halls, where a bustling morning push for food supplies among vendors and shoppers mixes with the calls of vendors and smells of fresh goods.


Traditionally, Thai people came to buy their daily whole food needs every morning in wet markets, and the fresh food is brought into the communities often by boat, thus the first floating markets came about.


Now the number of fresh markets has reduced greatly, and others are trying to survive, changing to offer more ready-made foods for passing commuters, or market their attractions for group tourism, in order to survive. Buyers are instead drawn to doing their shopping in air-conditioned supermarkets, and in modern life facilities that has air conditioning. A technology that is not present in the fresh food markets, since the goods, are sold daily early morning and in fresh conditions, is not necessary.


But while much fresh food wet markets have disappeared, others have persisted, their advantage, to offer a traditional and cultural experience and the ability to offer cheaper prices than modern stores.