Debate on street food continues
Hands down Bangkok is the street food capital of the world. Residents and expats alike went into a state of shock when an apparently misquoted Bangkok city government official set off a storm of protest when he was believed to have said that all street food would be banned in the capital.
Needless to say our red-faced government officials rushed to reassure roadside gourmands and foodies alike that this was in fact not true. While the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) came out to affirm that their measure is not meant to rid Bangkok of street food but instead clear pavements, the message that was also meant to be conveyed was that the Land of Smiles is planning an international street food festival and that food hawkers have been moved from city centre areas while authorities enforce stricter hygiene rules.
While concerns over the need to clear pavements and ascertain food safety are legitimate worries, what is worrying the public most at the moment is the BMA’s past record of being accommodating and culturally sensitive when it comes to implementing its edicts. Conflicts also have arisen over just what defines “street food”. As most know, some of the best street food is produced in shop houses, where the premises spill out onto the street.
To know more about the fate of food hawkers in Bangkok, don’t miss the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand latest panel discussion, aptly titled “Bangkok’s Street Food Future”, next Wednesday at 7pm, now that city authorities have begun moving it out in some parts of the city.
It promises to be an invigorating discussion with some of the city’s greatest street food aficionados.
Speakers will include the likes of Chawadee Nualkhair, author of Thailand’s Best Street Food and blog writer of Bangkok Glutton. Joining her will be Piyaluck Nakayodhin, publisher of Street Food: 39 Great Places Under 100 Baht.
Also on the panel is Philip Cornwel-Smith, a freelance writer and editor specialising in culture and travel. He is the author of Very Thai: Every Day Popular Culture.
To top it off, David Thompson, a celebrity chef who has run several successful restaurants in Australia, the UK and Thailand, including the Nahm restaurant in Bangkok, and who is the author of Thai Street Food, will be there to share his bit on the issue.