Asia’s changing street food scene: Thailand

Thailand’s military government carried out one of the most extreme anti-street food campaigns in the region. In 2017, there was a mass purge of street food stalls from Bangkok’s main roads.

Chawadee Nualkhair, a Bangkok food writer, shared, “The government has been pretty zealous in cleaning up the sidewalks and returning them to the average citizens and trying to paint street food vendors as someone from out of town. They’re basically throwing these vendors out of the street.”

Though there have been relocation efforts, many of these attempts have failed. When street food is moved out of context — like into an underground mall or into an abandoned parking lot — it loses its draw.

Nualkhair added, “The problem is that they put night markets in places where nobody wants that land. It’s in places that aren’t that easy to access and the night market inevitability fails. It doesn’t work. What they’re doing isn’t really helping anymore.”

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