Pattaya street vendors are a staple of Pattaya’s food scene – but will it fall victim to the tidying up of Pattaya’s streets? Although street food has long been part of the culture in Pattaya, the city is steadily clearing the pavements clean of its food stall vendors. This is surprising though as the food is so closely woven into the fabric of Thai living that any threat to it normally produces powerful emotional responses but not so far…
The decline of Pattaya’s street vendors isn’t unique. In fact, over the past 12 months, the Administration in Bangkok has evicted nearly 20,000 street vendors from over 30 public places. This is all part of a campaign to tidy up the streets and pavements a direct result of unfolding social, economic, and environmental issues.
Cleaning up Pattaya the city seems to be suddenly on the agenda and a hot topic just now with recent actions surrounding Baht buses this clearing of the streets is done to help Pattaya’s choked traffic by removing illegal non-tax-paying vendors from the streets. The issue of illegal street food vendors has long been on the political agenda with politicians long claiming a will to clean up the streets. Until martial law, no politicians had made good on their pre-election promises. Now the army has substantial policing power which slowly is beginning to be enforced.
Having lesser food retailers not only means reduced choices for the working class, who eat out more often than they cook at home, but it also means that less common dishes will simply fade away as the food stalls pack up for good under instruction from enforced evictions.
But, maybe the biggest loss to Pattaya if this continues is its uniqueness of coming together of different cultures and classes of people. The street stall eatery is one of the very few places where business people can mix with the people who have a lesser standing in the employment world and social structure of Thailand. Everyone sits on the same bright plastic stools, everyone enjoys the same noodle soup with well-used kitchen utensils. However, if the food court meals become the cheapest food available at around 100 baht then the already large divide that exists between the white and blue-collar workers becomes even greater.
Street food is quite simply Thailand’s treasure it cannot be lost along with the diverse group of street chefs who make often delicious cheap food. Perhaps the route to take is as they have done in Singapore and implement Urban Design & Development that has space within it to accommodate these street stalls, sustainable well thought out city planning may well be the answer and savior to the declining number of street vendors in Pattaya.
Pattaya street vendors removed – read more