Bangkok Street Food Ban

Ugh this is really not good news. My hopes are that most of the vendors are relocated to hawker centers or that the ruling really isn’t enforced.

What an interesting situation for the city of Bangkok: do you strive to turn yourself into a high-end metropolis like Singapore or do you embrace your heritage and incredible food culture… Je ne sais pas

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Original article from The Guardian here.

Guarded optimism on my part. Why? Years ago, Singapore had TEMPORARILY outlawed all unsanctioned street food / hawker stalls (which comprised the majority if S’pore’s food stalls at that time). This was done so that vendors who persisted could all take hygiene/food safety classes and apply for official vendor licenses to re-open at then-newly organized hawker stalls. The whole ploy was to bring order to the street vendors and upgrade the hygiene. And it has made a positive difference in the S’pore food scene since.

I’m hoping the Thai gov’t is employing the same stratagem here, and not just doing away with street food forever (which would be tourism suicide on their part)…

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Same in Hong Kong. There are very few actual dai pai dong’s left in Hong Kong. The street food scene is still very much alive and vibrant.

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The problem with dai pai dong’s are a bit different and a bit more complex. First there are the inconsistent rules where the original license holder of the DPD can pass it on to the next generation for the ones located in Central (Stanley Street) but the rules don’t seem to apply as much to those operating DPD in other parts like Sham Shui Po. Second the HK government isn’t exactly making an effort to preserve this part of HK grassroots food culture overall, yet is wasting taxpayer’s money to send their reps overseas to observe and study the food truck culture in the USA, bringing the ideas to figure out how to enable this solution and sad movement in HK. I could go on…sigh.

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That makes sense, I know that to some extent the Thai street food scene is regulated, in that some of the more permanent places had regulation stickers, etc. But that doesn’t mean that for every one place that was sanitary that there wasn’t fifty more who were storing food unsafely.

Having recently enjoyed the Singapore hawker stalls, I’d be thrilled if Bangkok went in a similar direction…

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Here’s a great dish eaten on the sidewalk - well, actually on a table on the sidewalk! - along with a beer poured over ice.

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