Despite being a modern and bustling like a capital city should be, Bangkok has managed to retain much of its traditional and rustic charm that defines Thai culture. Throughout the city’s streets, tall and contemporary architecture are interspersed between old-fashion buildings, classic side streets, and most of all, rows upon rows of street food vendors.
These street shops have become synonymous with the city itself, bringing in thousands of locals and tourists alike. Not to mention, they serve as a vital part of the low-income population, offering thousands of jobs.
Unfortunately, many of these street vendors are disappearing. Over the last few years, or the last few years, the future of the capital’s street eateries has become increasingly precarious after the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), with the endorsement of the government at that time, floated a campaign called “Returning Pavements to Pedestrians”. Part of the plan involved clearing these vendors from major areas across fifty districts.
While the removal of said street stalls have made some popular locations clean and spacious, many consumer, media, and academics have lamented that Bangkok has lost a bit of its charm. Furthermore, the disappearance of street food vendors is worrying some policymakers, economists and the tourism sector.
As previously mentioned, Bangkok’s street food vendors are a magnet for tourism to Thailand. Many publications have also noted the city as one of the best places of street food in the world. As part of the economy, street food provides jobs for low-income earners while also providing city residents an affordable source of delicious food.
Despite their charm and convenience, street food stalls do have a problem with regards to cleanliness and sustainability. As such, they need to adjust their hygiene and environmental practices if they are to survive in today’s business ecosystem.
The latest attempt to help street food vendors modernise is a pilot project being tested by King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL). Recently, KMITL held an event showcasing the university’s research into projects that might improve the standards of Bangkok’s street food vendors.
Some of the innovative new designs included a fruit selling cart designed to improve hygiene and a smoke-filter-fitted grilled pork cart with a smokeless grill roaster.
“KMITL is ready to offer itself as an institute for providing knowledge to help street food vendors. Indeed, we are opening an academy covering food vendor subjects as they form a valuable part of the Thai food industry,” KMITL’s president, Professor Suchatvee Suwansawat told the Bangkok Post.
Professor Suwansawat also said that the university will also arrange for operators who wish to upgrade their cart businesses by providing them with training in areas such as food hygiene, halal food standards, investment advice, and e-marketing.