One of the highlights of a visit to Bangkok, Thailand is to sample the street food. In fact, it is so popular that CNN ranked the city as having the world’s best street food two years in a row. But that may soon change as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) announced that it would shut down street vendors by the end of the year to promote order and hygiene.
Wanlop Suwandee, chief adviser to Bangkok’s governor, told the Nation that it aims to “return the pavements to pedestrians.”
The move is highly unusual as Thailand uses its street cuisine in its tourism campaigns. In 2015, a video called “Pray for Anna” was launched, which showcased the vibrant local cuisine.
Street food is available in Bangkok for 24 hours a day in 50 districts. In Khao San Road alone, there are more than 200 vendors selling all kinds of quick eats like sweet soymilk and bean curd, poached chicken, pad thai noodles, and grilled satay. CNN even said that “it’s impossible to avoid street food in Bangkok, where sidewalk vendors in different parts of the city operate on a fixed rotation.”
Local authorities have already started clearing sidewalks of vendors in Siam. They will then move to Chinatown and Khao San Road next.
Clearing street food won’t only affect tourism, but the livelihood of the vendors and the food options for locals.
However, there is still some confusion as one district official said that this won’t affect vendors who have pushcarts or who set up shop away from the sidewalks.
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