Bangkok's street vendor ban: 5 other places around the world famous for street food

A man carries a dish at his street food stall the Pratunam district of Bangkok on April 18, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

Bangkok is known as one of the best cities in the world for delicious street food, but this reputation will soon be gone, as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) attempts to rid the city's sidewalks of street vendors, who sell anything from pad thai noodles to clothes.

By the end of this year, hawkers plying their trade on the streets of the city will be forced to pack up for good, with the exception of those in two locations - Khao San Road and Yaowarat in Chinatown. Even those at the Siam Square and Pratunam shopping districts, which attract throngs of tourists all year long, have not been spared.

But for those keen on a taste of local flavours, here are five other places around the world famous for street food:

1. Central Market, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Vendors prepare fried food for sale along a street in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on April 10, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Constructed from 1935 to 1937, the Central Market is divided into four wings that house numerous stalls selling goods such as jewellery, cloth, and souvenirs.

Visitors can also fill their tummies with typical Cambodian fare like fish amok, a curry-based dish usually steamed and served in a banana leaf, or more exotic dishes including deep fried worms.

2. Muslim Quarter, Xi'an, China

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Located north of the city's iconic Drum Tower, the Muslim Quarter is a 500m-long street lined with temporary stalls selling food and souvenirs.

During the evenings, it is not uncommon to see butchers publicly carving meat from an animal carcass. Visitors can expect to find grilled lamb skewers, steamed stuffed buns, and pomegranate juice among other local delicacies.

3. New York City, US

Food vendors can be found operating in their food trucks all around New York City, selling a wide variety of dishes, including Muslim delicacies. PHOTO: NYTIMES

While the number of permits for food vendors to operate has remained stagnant at around 4,200 since the 1980s, causing many to operate illegally at the risk of being fined, street food is still taken seriously by people in New York City.

Awards like Rookie of the Year and Vendy Cup - named after street vendors - are given out annually to food truck owners. They feature a huge range of sweet and savoury dishes, such as grilled sausages and seafood, shaved ice and crepes.

But catching these vendors might be tough as they rarely stay put at a fixed location.

4. Night markets across Taiwan

A worker preparing the popular "pepper biscuit" at the Fuzhou Shizu Pepper Biscuit food-stall at the Raohe Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan. PHOTO: ST FILE

The sheer number of night markets in Taiwan make it an ideal destination for serious eaters. From iconic streets in Ximending to popular places like Raohe Night Market, visitors can embark on a gastronomic adventure involving huge Taiwanese fried chicken cutlets, smelly tofu, and a copious amount of bubble tea.

At some night markets, vendors selling grilled seafood will also set up makeshift tables and chairs for an open-air dining experience.

5. Mexico City, Mexico

A vendor sells chapulines or fried grasshoppers at Oaxaca, Mexico. PHOTO: EMBASSY OF MEXICO, SINGAPORE

With Lebanese and indigenous influences, Mexico City's bustling street food scene is on par with those in Thailand and Taiwan. Tacos, quesadillas, fruit cocktails, and even insects can be found hawked from pushcarts or bicycles throughout the city.

It is claimed that more than three quarters of Mexico City's population eat street food weekly, according to food news site Eater.

Sources: CNN, Tourism Cambodia, Travel China Guide, The Guardian, Eater, Vendy Awards, The New York Times

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