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Bangkok’s famed street food will soon cease to exist as a local government body of the Thai capital has announced an initiative to clear all food stalls in the city.
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has recently ordered all food vendors to shut down their operations by the end of the year. According to The Guardian, the agency said it aims to promote citywide “order and hygiene”
But while a deadline has been set, many vendors have already been forced to close their stalls, The Nation reports. Local authorities have reportedly begun clearing the streets of vendors in Siam district. It is expected that the demolition of the popular San Road and Chinatown’s Yaowarat will soon follow.
Chief adviser to Bangkok’s governor, Wanlop Suwandee, told the Nation that the move aims to get “rid of stalls from all 50 districts of Bangkok” and “return the pavements to pedestrians.”
“There will be no let-up in this operation. Every street vendor will have to move out,” he was quoted as saying.
The industry has existed for decades, earning recognition as being among the world’s best. Earlier this year, CNN named Bangkok as the city “with the best street food” for the second year running in its annual ranking. Tourists have been known to flock to the city for its street food alone, adding to the phenomenon that made Bangkok the most visited city in the world.
With over 20,000 vendors serving meals to citizens and foreigners throughout the 50 districts in the city, street food has been an integral part of the city’s ecosystem. Some heartbroken netizens have expressed sadness over the initiative.
Goodbye street food of Bangkok. Though they are really pretty unclean to begin with. 😛 https://t.co/OHPJgQZaj2
— Gyro (@Gyrowoof) April 18, 2017
— Marky G (@Mafesto) April 18, 2017
— Soe Aung (@soeaung) April 18, 2017
Oh no! Bangkok will not be the same without the cheap street food! https://t.co/NeUp4jYP5D
— roel_v_paulme (@roel_v_paulme) April 18, 2017
I think my heart actually started to ache reading this. Street food is the soul of Bangkok. And I felt hungry 😋 https://t.co/4NR7G6F6LB
— Karen Tumlin (@KarenTumlin) April 18, 2017
Bangkok food tour after the street stall ban. My favourite chicken noodle soup spot: pic.twitter.com/Lb7jP07oIl
— Oliver Holmes (@olireports) April 18, 2017
The street-clearing effort is the latest controversial project from the ruling military government in the country which, in recent years, also banned umbrellas and sunbeds from beaches in Phuket.