A determined drive against food stalls

Bangkok to ban street food stalls in clean-up crusade

According to the Guardian, tourism comprises roughly 15 per cent of the economy, with food tours and culinary travel playing a significant role in the city's draw. "I am anxious about the footpath vendors - if they don't have a place to sell, how will they make money?" she said.

But for now the city hall edict has sent a shudder of dread through Bangkok's thousands of food vendors.

Wattanavrangkul gave a list of measures which are now under consideration, including the strict observance of hygiene standards by vendors, food stalls which are uniform and have a "local identity", mandatory training programs for all personnel dealing with street food, a mandatory test which vendors must pass, and special attention paid to dish cleaning and waste management.

The chief advisor to the city's governor, Wanlop Suwandee said: "Officials are now working to get rid of stalls from all 50 districts of Bangkok".

Vendors told AFP news agency they could not afford to pay Bangkok's rent prices if they're driven off the street. And officials told The Nation that popular street food areas including Chinatown and Khao San Road would be next on the hit list.

A Bangkok resident who agreed with Bangkok's Metropolitan Administration (BMA) that the streets needed cleaning up, added that she believed another zone could be set up for street stalls. Street vending must be completely banned on narrow sidewalks.

However, while the removal of street food vendors is sad for tourists who want to taste the curbside cuisine, it's tragic for the city's low-paid workers who depend on the THB30-60 meals to survive and have no idea how they will eat once the street food is gone.

Louise Nathan, product and innovation manager for Thailand specialist Selective Asia, told The Independent: "Everything changes so quickly in Bangkok, it's constantly evolving".

"Street food lies at the heart of this development". People from every aspect of society, from high-flying business people to street cleaners, can be found in the capital enjoying dinner with friends and often befriending the strangers around them.

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.

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