Bangkok's Getting Rid Of Its Street Food

City officials say it is time to 'clean up' the city

Get off a plane in Bangkok, even in the middle of the night, and start walking or hop in a cab. Within minutes, you will pass countless carts, stands and mini kitchens selling noodles, sweets, fruits and curries in little plastic bags to go or to be eaten roadside on small plastic stools with friends.

The streets double as the city's kitchen and dining room, where the sounds and smells of cooking are inescapable—as is exceptional food at very affordable prices.

But by the end of this year, all of those stands, numbering in the thousands, will be forced to close or find new homes. Wanlop Suwandee, the chief advisor to the governor of Bangkok, explains to The Nation, "The [Bangkok Metropolitan Authority] is now working to get rid of the street vendors from all 50 districts of Bangkok." Adding, "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."

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."