Bangkok plans to ban all street food by year's end

Bangkok had last year already started on its plan to clean up its streets - evicting some 15,000 vendors from 39 public areas across the city last year.

Read pretty much any travel guide about Thailand, and food will be right at the top of the attractions - especially street food.

"The street vendors have seized the pavement space for too long and we already provide them with space to sell food and other products legally in the market, so there will be no let-up in this operation", Suwandee told the Nation newspaper.

Obviously, this sudden crusade has struck locals and those who know anything about the city's vibrant food scene as absurd.

Chongtong said locals believe it is a matter of regulation rather than prohibition. A lot of streets in Bangkok have had this rule for over a year. Now they're taking thigs a step further, moved vendors out of the city entirely. But she is anxious for some of her friends who are vendors should there really be a blanket ban on the practice.

Holiday companies, meanwhile, are convinced that, ban or no ban, the capital will adapt and flourish.

"Since the May 2014 military coup, Bangkok has been gradually changing from a chaotic, bustling happy-go-lucky south-east Asian capital with a hedonistic bent into an increasingly drab and orderly bargain basement version of Singapore", said Tom Vater, our Bangkok expert. Perhaps there's a glimmer of hope for foodies and hungry locals after all-but next time you're in the city and you see someone selling food, you might want to buy an extra skewer or two for good measure. Also, licences must be required to run roadside food stalls, as they are in other street-food havens like Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul. The decision could end up putting thousands of vendors out of business. There are, however, a lot of pavements in the city that are spacious enough for both foot traffic and food stalls.

The news - which has upset both locals who depend on the low-priced meals and tourists who enjoy adventurous eating - comes just after Bangkok was awarded the title of city with the best street food in the world by CNN.

  • Todd Kelly