Bangkok’s first free street-food space welcomes hawkers, street vendors

The food is not free, only the space

Bangkok opened its first free street-food space in the city for hawkers and street vendors yesterday, in an attempt to keep cluttered pavements free from obstruction.

City governor Chadchart Sittipunt launched of the “Hello Hab-Re” (Hello Hawkers) project outside Samyan Mitrtown on Rama IV Road yesterday.

Street food is a quintessential part of the Bangkok experience. Wherever you go in the city, food stalls are plentiful and you will find a high concentration of them in busy areas. At peak times, especially around MRT stations and bus terminals, the streets are clogged with vendors causing delays and inconvenience to Bangkok’s homeward-bound commuters. Bangkok’s first free food space will help solve the problem.

Some street vendors operate in groups, especially in local markets, which means you can go to the same place every night and have a different choice of meal. Some even open around the clock.

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Chadchart headed an August meeting to discuss the quality and safety of street food in the capital. Now that almost all home working has stopped and most people are back in the office Chadchart believes it is important safety standards are met for those buying food from street stalls and markets

The project will reorganise locations for hawkers and street vendors across the city by locating suitable areas that do not block public footpaths and assigning space to local vendors. Samyan Mitrtown, for example, a mixed-use shopping complex, has agreed to provide Bangkok’s first free food space next to its building in Soi Chula 42 for vendors to use for free from Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm.

Chadchart said…

“The project does not require the city to invest in building more space for street vendors but instead promotes the use of existing space to the fullest.

“If all parties work together, I believe Bangkok has enough space for everyone. We must learn to share to make the city more liveable.”

Chadchart is popular with a high approval rating. Over 80% of Bangkok residents say they are satisfied with the governor’s performance so far. Chadchart was elected governor in May in a landslide victory.

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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