Thailand’s tourism minister has brought hope to those who found themselves distraught over a recently reported decision to ban street food in Bangkok, stating that vendors will be able to remain as long as they adhere to stricter safety and hygiene requirements.
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s minister of tourism and sports, announced on Facebook on Wednesday that media reports which said that street food was being banned in the capital city were false.
Instead, she said the city is simply “striving for the sustainability of this significant feature of tourist attraction.” She specifically mentioned street food sales on the famous roads of Yaowaraj and Khao San, popular areas for both tourists and locals.
She went on to state that the governor of Bangkok has instructed “all relating departments” to discuss feasible solutions with the Metropolitan Police Bureau and its Traffic Division.
Wattanavrangkul gave a list of measures which are currently under consideration, including the strict observance of hygiene standards by vendors, food stalls which are uniform and have a “local identity,” mandatory training programs for all personnel dealing with street food, a mandatory test which vendors must pass, and special attention paid to dish cleaning and waste management.
“In short, street food vendors would not banned,” Wattanavrangkul wrote.
“On the contrary, they would be supported and facilitated adhering to the features of tourist attractions as well as universal hygienic standards,” she added. Media outlets first reported on the planned street food ban on Tuesday, citing officials from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).
The news sparked confusion and anger among locals and tourists alike, especially after the city had just been named the world’s best street food destination by CNN.
Many took to social media to lament about their “aching hearts” and the reality of a “less meaningful life” in the Thai capital, which is known for its delicious – and incredibly cheap – street food.