Bangkok has banned its famous street food from its major roads, ordering vendors to leave the road sides by the end of the year.
Vendors by the thousands sell affordable meals in all 50 districts of Thailand's capital city, reported The Guardian. Earlier this month, CNN named Bangkok the city with the best street food in the world.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, though, has been rounding up food vendors in an attempt to keep them in certain areas of the city, Thailand's English newspaper The Nation reported.
"The BMA is now working to get rid of the street vendors from all 50 districts of Bangkok and return the pavements to the pedestrians," Wanlop Suwandee, chief adviser to Bangkok's governor, told The Nation.
"The street vendors have seized the pavement space for too long and we already provide them with space to sell food and other products legally in the market, so there will be no let-up in this operation. Every street vendor will have to move out," Suwandee added.
Piyabutr Jiuramonaikul, president of the Khao San Business Council, told The Nation that the food vendors are one of the major tourists attractions for Bangkok and he did not know about plans to manage them.
"There are more than 200 street food vendors in Khao San Road and they are the uniqueness of our district that attracts many tourists from around the world," Jiuramonaikul told the newspaper.
Nattapong Punnoi, business development director of the Urban Design & Development Center launched by Chulalongkorn University, told the BBC News last year that while food street vendors are a major tourists attraction, guidelines are needed for them to operate legally.
"Street food is Bangkok's treasure. We cannot lose it," Punnoi, told the BBC News, adding that vendors who block foot traffic and do not clean up litter create problems. "We need proper planning to implement sustainable changes."
Bangkok resident Romdheera Phruetchon told The Nation that Bangkok officials can clean up the streets and work with vendors so they can keep their businesses.
"The BMA should set up a zone for the street vendors, so they can keep their jobs and preserve the charm of Bangkok's street food," Romdheera told The Nation. "The people can benefit from selling goods, while the tourists can enjoy the unique street food of our city."
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