Bangkok Set To Lose A Core Attraction - Street Food
Investvine, A Company of Inside Investor, Ltd.
Apr 22, 2017

In what has been labeled a cleanup of sidewalks for convenience and hygiene reasons, Thailand’s junta through the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration plans to eliminate the ubiquitous food stalls on the street of the Asian multi-million metropolis famous for its fabulous mix of tastes and odours out in the open.

The move comes a month after Bangkok was voted the world’s best destination for street food by CNN and, previously, “street food capital of the world” by Forbes and seems poorly coordinated with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and other respective institutions, let alone the street food vendors themselves.

Plans are that Bangkok food vendors would be banned from the city’s streets entirely by the end of the year. There have been sweeps at long-established street food destinations along Sukhumvit road such as in Thonglor and at several other places in downtown, many of them highly recommended by Bangkok travel guides.

The next famous street food areas targeted for the “cleanup” are the internationally renowned street food hot spots Yaowarat in Chinatown and the backpacker enclave of Khao San Road.

What seems to be an impulsive crackdown runs contrary to CNN’s glowing appraisal of Bangkok’s street food scene, which voted it the best in the world for a second year. It also contradicts a recent marketing campaign by the Tourism Authority of Thailand which highlights the virtues of Thailand’s street food. Representatives of the Khao San Business Council complained that a sweep would affect at least 200 street food vendors and also lead to fewer tourists coming to the popular destination. Yaowarat would also be seriously affected as visitor numbers would likely drop.

Critics say that the unpopular street food crackdown does not only tarnish Bangkok’s charm and attraction for tourists, but also disadvantages poorer people who are reliant on cheap street food and those who make a living from it.

It is not clear whether the administration is going to deliver as an alternative, e.g. organised food courts like in Singapore or dedicated pedestrian zones for hawkers like in Kuala Lumpur, if at all.

Company Investvine, A Company of Inside Investor, Ltd.
Contact Imran Saddique