Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Money | By Oscar Reynolds

The World's Street Food Capital is Banning Street Food

The World's Street Food Capital is Banning Street Food

"Yaowarat and Khao San Road will be our next goal in clearing out illegal vendors".

Richard Barrow, one of the longest running travel bloggers in Thailand, has claimed the report is "fake news". Boontham Huiprasert, the city's district chief, said that only semi-permanent stalls that include seating will be affected by the ban.

Tourism, which makes up an estimated 15 per cent of the economy, is buoyed by hundreds of street food tours through the subtropical city. "Chinatown and Khao San will stay the same".

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, which has been working on moving the street food stalls, is now working to remove street vendors from all 50 districts of the city, according to Wanlop Suwandee, who is the chief adviser to Bangkok's governor. Critics have mourned the crackdown, saying that the new rules will push vendors out of the city center, hinder Bangkok's poorest residents from eating downtown, and deter tourists, who will no longer be able to experience one of the city's biggest draws.

"I don't think its going to have the huge impact that it might sound like at the moment".

Thailand is a must-visit destination for the devoted foodie-a place where tiny food stalls can be found on seemingly every corner, filled with cheap and delicious street food for hungry passers-by.

The items were banned in 2014 in order to keep away the vendors that sell them but the crack-down ended up catching out ex-pats in the area who liked to bring their own umbrellas to the beach.

Chongtong said locals believe it is a matter of regulation rather than prohibition. Many, along with stalls selling clothes and other items, have simply relocated a few metres, to space rented in front of shophouses, which is technically not public space, even if it's part of a public walkway. Street vending must be completely banned on narrow sidewalks.

"If they go against the vendors, that will affect business and it will affect the charm of Khaosan", said Sanga Ruangwattanaku, the president of a business association on Khaosan Road, a major tourist area.

Holiday companies, meanwhile, are convinced that, ban or no ban, the capital will adapt and flourish.

He said Thailand was a changing place. People from every aspect of society, from high-flying business people to street cleaners, can be found in the capital enjoying dinner with friends and often befriending the strangers around them. Officials are hoping to eliminate all vendors by the end of the year.

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