Bangkok bans street food vendors

The World's Street Food Capital is Banning Street Food

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) said yesterday that it will continue to sweep street vendors off the city's main roads, with the exception of Yaowarat in Chinatown and backpackers' haven Khao San, as part of an effort to improve cleanliness.

Wanlop Suwandee, chief adviser to Bangkok's governor, was quoted as saying that the government's aim is to "return the pavements to the pedestrians". Violators who continue to sell could be fined up to 2,000 baht (US$57), reports AFP-a steep price, considering most plates sell for between 30-50 baht ($.87-1.45).

In recent months, authorities have been working on moving the street food stalls to some parts of the city.

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

"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.

She adds that her own experience in the city was made possible by affordable street eats: "The only way I could have afforded my year overseas, and eat and learn as much as I did, is because of street food".

But those planning to visit the city for the famous street food stalls will have to hurry because they will no longer exist by 2018. These streets also have plenty of people selling other products, such as clothes and souvenirs.

Bangkok, Thailand, has always been known as a foodie paradise: a place where adventurous eaters can find an array of delicious, cheap street food.

He said Thailand was a changing place.

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The rich variety of foods ladled out from the push carts is also a major draw for tourists, who power a vital sector of the kingdom's economy. 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.

Even with a potential regulatory crackdown on the horizon, there seems little danger that Bangkok's distinctive street food scene will disappear from the city.

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