BANGKOK — The man behind Bangkok’s epic makeover campaign – whose comments this week spawned alarmed headlines worldwide about a complete ban on its street food – said vendors in the iconic areas of Khaosan Road and Chinatown can remain – under one condition.
The driving force behind efforts to clear the streets of stalls and return sidewalks to pedestrians since 2014, a chief City Hall adviser said exceptions made last month for the two tourist-dense sites remain in place, but every worker must register and undergo health training as part of a strong health-and-safety push.
“The cooks and the waiters to those who clean the tables will have to attend training at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s health department,” Vallop Suwandee said. “They will all be barcoded. We will inspect them every day.”
The training will cover topics such as hygienic food preparation, appropriate attire and waste management.
While the aggressive campaign that began after the coup d’etat has swept away street vendors across town, most recently in the Thonglor and Ekkamai areas, city officials made a rare concession to its appeal early in March when they said vendors on Khaosan and Yaowarat roads would be left in place.
Wallop himself who was quoted Tuesday in The Nation saying Khaosan Road and Chinatown, also known as Yaowarat, would be the next targets. The Nation story also declared a complete and total ban on street food would be put in place this year.
“Garküchen, ade!: Bangkok verbannt Strassenhändler,” a German news site declared in one of hundreds of stories to appear worldwide in the past 24 hours.
Wallop today said the two famed areas were up for “reorganization,” not an outright ban. He cited Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s satisfaction that CNN named Thai street food No. 1 in the world, and his desire it be better managed.
Wallop said the new health policies will go into effect after gaining the approval of Bangkok Gov. Aswin Kwanmuang.
Vendors in the two areas will soon be called in for a meeting, Wallop added.