A provider of street food tours in Bangkok wants to bring holidaymakers and locals together for dining. Food stalls are part of the culture of the city.
Achiraya Thamparipattra manages the company Hivesters together with her younger sister Mint. The tour operator from Bangkok brings holidaymakers and locals together – for example, to leaf-weaving with “Aunt Mali” or pad-Thai cooking with Ms. Orapun, a street cook in Nang Loeng district, which has the oldest food market in Bangkok. Street food is an inseparable part of Thailand’s metropolis, says managing director Achi – and worries about the people who have to live on it.
SZ: How many of your guests want Streetjoin food tours?
Thamparipattra: About 60 percent of the people who come to us want to do anything with food in Bangkok. Cook yourself, let yourself be guided, discover the local.
So food is not just for the Thaicountries an important thing, but also for visitors to the country?
Definitely, food is a big part of our Thai culture. It conveys our way of life and how we grow up. Apart from my mother and grandma’s kitchen, street food is the best for me, very authentic and delicious, and you can find it around the clock here in Bangkok. You are never hungry when you are in Thailand.
The original kitchen is surprisingly diverse. But often also very sharp.
You just get all the ingredients fresh here. You really can not compare that.
How did your guests respond to the city council’s announcement that they would tolerate fewer food stalls on Bangkok’s streets?
Everyone asked us! The theme touches people’s hearts because it is part of our culture. And we tour operators talk about it too. What happens when it disappears? Without street food, Bangkok would be unthinkable.
How is the current situation?
There are some areas where street vendors are no longer allowed to sell. They had to move to other areas that might not attract as many customers, and they earn less. But the street stalls come back partly due to the international outcry in the media.
They talk about Supinya Junsuta, the streetfood chef, the got a Michelin star,
Yes, we are all excited and it is a big topic in Bangkok. Your food is very good.
Street food is not only important for tourists. Many ThaiCountries that live in expensive Bangkok do not have their own kitchen in their mini-apartment.
Yes, it means a lot to us. Many of us live in a one-room apartment. Some do not have a built-in kitchen. If you cook there, everything smells like food. Many of us can not afford to eat in the restaurant every day. If you earn 300 baht a day, and a court in the nightlife district of Sukhumvit costs 80, 100 baht in the restaurant, this can be a big problem. An affordable and delicious street food that costs 30 to 50 baht per dish keeps us alive.
The chefs are expelled but still harder than the customers.
Most street vendors are self-employed. They have no secured income every month, so they rely on being able to sell every day. A large number are women who have to care for their families, children and grandparents. It is difficult for them to afford the rent of the room for the opening of a restaurant, as the rents in Bangkok are very high.
The city administration has justified the pushing back of the food stalls yes so that the pedestrian paths are too narrow in many places. And the plastic waste clog the sewers. Do you understand these arguments?
Partly. In some places, the passes are really very close. But traffic generally increases in the city more and more. If they can not sell, many sellers could become unemployed. That would not be good for the country. I think if we were able to set the rules for the street vendors regarding hygiene and cleaning of the land, that would solve the problems.