By now, news of the impending street food ban in Bangkok would probably have made its way across your Facebook news feeds.
Announced on April 18, 2017, the ban is supposedly dealing a blow to both tourists and Thai locals, as a quintessential facet of Bangkok would be stripped away.
But before you go on a frantic search for the next flight out, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, stated in a Facebook post on April 19 that street food vendors will still be allowed to operate — contrary to prevailing media reports — but under stricter regulations.
Here is the Facebook post in full:
We help parse the five main points he wrote in Thaiglish:
1. Hygienic standards must strictly be observed by vendors during food preparation and service.
2. Food stalls should maintain a uniform local identity.
3. Present food vendors will be allowed to continue their businesses as usual as long as they meet all those conditions aiming at sustainability.
4. All personnel dealing with the street food preparation and services will be required to attend the training programmes to be organised by the city. Moreover, they must pass the test before being allowed to operate their food stalls.
5. Particular attention will be paid to dish cleaning and waste management procedure, i.e. cleaning of dishes on the pavement would definitely be prohibited.
The minister even went on to urge people to help spread this latest news.
Many rejoiced at the positive turnaround.
According to conflicting media reports, news of the impending city-wide ban of street food appeared almost a done deal this time, as reported by Bangkok Post given failed attempts in the past.
The Guardian also confirmed as much, except that their report acknowledged it is not known how strict enforcement can be carried out. There was also mention that any ban would target more permanent food stalls that have set up shop on the walking pavements and become obstruction to pedestrians.
Mobile sellers might get away with operating their business as they can move about to prevent becoming an obstruction.
Other reports stated that only vendors in Khao San Road and Yaowarat Road will be allowed to remain.
The latest move to regulate street food looks as though it is aiming to introduce new operating hours besides higher hygiene standards, a move to prevent vendors from operating round the clock like they used to.
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Top image via Wattanavrangkul’s Facebook page and Getty Images