Celebrating street food with a ban
It's impossible to avoid street food in Bangkok, where sidewalk vendors in different parts of the city operate on a fixed rotation.
Some take care of the breakfast crowd with sweet soymilk and bean curd, others dish up fragrant rice and poached chicken for lunch.
The late-night crowd is offered everything from phad thai noodles to grilled satay.
Bangkok was named by CNN as one of the top street food cities in the world.
However, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is taking a fast and furious approach in its race to wipe street food vendors from Bangkok’s sidewalks by the end of the year.
The BMA plans to move toward making restrictions on street food vendors in the famed street-eating districts of Khaosan and Yaowarat. This follows a ban on street food in Thong Lor, Ekkamai, and Phra Khanong in a law that became official this month.
Most of the vendors are uncertain about what would happen. Some had been told their district would be excluded from the ban, others that they might be restricted to a certain section of the street, much like an outdoor food court.
Some of them had given up other jobs to run their own stalls in the backpacker mecca and did not relish the idea of having to job hunt again if they were kicked out.
But in a bizarre twist of circumstances, considering the ban, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and BMA plan to hold Bangkok Street Food Festival 2017 in June.
The event will present street food along major tourist streets in Bangkok, namely, Yaowarat, Khaosan and Pratunam areas, according to the National News Bureau. The exact location and the number of streets are yet to be determined. Also to be determined is how they plan to return vendors to Pratunam, an area where they fought long and hard to strip the streets of food.
The TAT chief said though street vendors must follow regulations laid out by the government, street food will be continually promoted.