People can't believe Bangkok wants to ban its iconic street food vendors

by Frankie Norman April 20, 2017, 0:14
People can't believe Bangkok wants to ban its iconic street food vendors

After shuttering the famed street food districts of Silom, Siam Square, and Pratunam, Chinatown's Yaowarat Road and Khaosan Road are their next targets in the race to erase street food.

There is some confusion about the policy though, and push-cart vendors that can move around may still be allowed.

Just last week CNN wrote glowingly about the city's street food scene in its list of the 23 best cities for street food.

'If you want to clean out all the vendors it's like you are cleaning out our culture itself, ' said Chiwan Suwannapak, who works for a Bangkok tour agency. "Where will shop employees, construction workers and taxi drivers eat?" The street food there is one of tourists' favorite attractions. "All types of stalls including clothes, counterfeit goods, and food stalls will be banned from main city roads", a representative from city hall said, according to Thai news outlet the Nation. The military junta, which took over in a coup in 2014, has been widely criticized for censoring the press and doing things like removing a plaque that acknowledged the country's move to a democracy in the 1930s.

Critics say an attempt is underway to remodel Bangkok into a Singapore-lite, enforcing regulations that have always been abandoned or skirted around by a rampant culture of bribery and a laid back public used to picking its way through the city's messy pavements. Violators who continue to sell could be fined up to 2,000 baht (US$57), reports AFP-a steep price, considering most plates sell for between 30-50 baht ($.87-1.45).

Louise Nathan, product and innovation manager for Thailand specialist Selective Asia, told The Independent: "Everything changes so quickly in Bangkok, it's constantly evolving".

'Authorities won't listen to us.

Thanks to countless celebrity visitors and foreign YouTube bloggers with sizeable followings, Bangkok street food has been featured regularly and praised highly on the social media.

As far as the three districts where street food became banned yesterday, Thong Lor is to be the first area where the law will be enforced before officials crack down in Ekkamai and Phra Khanong.

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