Bangkok bans street food stalls

A vendor cooks crepes on a hotplate at a food stall in Phaya Thai Bangkok

Street food vendors will disappear from Bangkok by the end of the year in the interests of cleanliness, safety and order, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) says.

BANGKOK'S world-famous culinary experience looks set to change dramatically today as Thailand's ruling junta placed a complete ban on street food stalls along all of the capital's main roads as part of their crackdown of street side dining.

Dr Vallop said they will meet the business associations in Yaowarat and Khao San to discuss the issue, and will need to consult the traffic department before imposing a zoning scheme in these areas.

"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, told AFP.

The move appears to fly in the face of CNN's glowing appraisal of Bangkok's street food scene, which voted it the best in the world for a second year.

Bangkok is famous for its street food stalls that are visited by hundreds of residents and tourists every day.

Many locals and tourists alike consider Bangkok's vibrant street food culture an indispensable asset ― the food is often far tastier and always cheaper than dishes served in restaurants. In recent months, authorities have been working on moving the street food stalls to some parts of the city.

Officials say thousands of street stalls litter the streets, create chaos and block pedestrian paths. He explained that the stalls will not be allowed for order and hygiene reasons. The law targets all 50 of Bangkok's districts, including the famed areas of Yaowarat (Chinatown) and Khaosan, where alone there are 200 street stalls.

'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.

But he said the vendors will have to follow zoning and scheduling regulations imposed by BMA.

She said, "Street food was still too popular with the locals".

While the city's administration will make "no exception" for vendors who take up public space along roads, Boontham Huiprasert, a city district chief, explains to Khaosod English that those with pushcarts and others who can find space under awnings or on private property where they rent "would be OK".

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