Earlier this year, many were shocked when the government ordered street food stalls to be removed from the streets of the busy Sukhumvit Road which is one of the major contributors of traffic in the area. A few months after the initiative, which they dubbed as a measure that will make the city unrecognizable after, there is no visible evidence or major changes that will prove the impact of the said crackdown. The pavements are still lined with street food stalls and vendors are still doing the same thing they have been doing for decades. Even the VIP guests staying in executive suites in Sukhumvit hotels cannot escape from the temptation of the delicious street food in the city.
According to city authorities, the crackdown was ordered because of concerns regarding the order in the traffic and pavements as well as questions regarding the cleanliness of the street foods being sold to tourists. They also said that the measure is part of a campaign by the government to give back to the public the pedestrians that were meant for them. Due to the complaints from vendors and locals, they clarified that they are not banning street food stalls altogether. They are only implementing regulations to keep things under control. Many reports came out that evictions are already in place. These reports were fuelled by testimonies from locals that their favourite stalls were no longer operational 24 hours after their last visit.
According to Thai Leisure Group’s strategy director, James Hacon, the number of street food stalls has already declined now and out of all the night markets, only two were left. Bangkok’s street food stalls attract a lot of customers because it is open to anyone despite their status in life. RohitSachdev who owns a number of bars and restaurants in the city also admitted that many of their foreign customers are wishing that they would allow street food stalls in front of their establishment. He admitted that stalls are a big help to locals who are earning below the minimum wage. For tourists who are staying at executive suites in Sukhumvit, there are food cravings that only a street food stall can satisfy.