Street carts and food trucks may be universal cultural phenomena, but few places in the world are as synonymous with street food as Bangkok. However, the Thai capital has just outlawed street food vendors and stalls as part of a “clean-up effort” meant to target air pollutants, as well as sanitation and food safety concerns.
Many vendors have insisted that because of sky-high rents, they would never be able to sell the same fare (often for the low price of $1 or less per plate of food) indoors. City officials also cited a need to reduce pedestrian traffic and decrease black market activity like prostitution.
“There will be no let-up in this operation. Every street vendor will have to move out,” the chief advisor to Bangkok’s governor said in a press statement. The BMA [Bangkok Metropolitan Administration] is now working to get rid of the street vendors from all 50 districts of Bangkok and return the pavements to the pedestrians. ... No exceptions.”
The newly announced measure has caused outrage all over the world:
— Matt Hays (@mhays17) April 18, 2017
@tossedsallard Exactly! Bangkok without its street food just wouldn't be the same city
— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) April 18, 2017
Noooo!! Getting rid of street food in Bangkok is like... getting rid of the Eiffel Tower in Paris! https://t.co/2bFXRaMbHr
— Claire J Furey (@clairejfurey) April 18, 2017