Free Press Journal

Bangkok to ban street food stalls in clean-up crusade

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Bangkok : Street food stalls will be banned from all of Bangkok’s main roads under a clean-up crusade, a city hall official said on Tuesday, prompting outcry and anguish in a food-obsessed capital famed for its spicy roadside cuisine.

For months city officials have hemmed in hawkers of all kinds across the metropolis, where hitting the pavement for everything from late-night noodles to fried insects is the closest Thailand has to a national pastime. “All types of stalls including clothes, counterfeit goods and food stalls will be banned from main city roads,” Wanlop Suwandee, a chief advisor to Bangkok’s governor said. “They will not be allowed for order and hygiene reasons,” he added. Officials insist the city’s street vendors clog the foot paths, leaving little space for pedestrians and littering the streets. But many Bangkokians say this chaos is part of the capital’s charm and an affordable option for all with a stick of grilled pork going for 10 baht (30 cents) while a bowl of chicken noodles costing as little as 35 baht.

 “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.