One less choice for Bangkok street food lovers

One less choice for Bangkok street food lovers

Bangkok's famous Sukhumvit Soi 38 street food market will soon be gone, replaced by – you guessed it – a luxury condominum. The land owner has given vendors until February, but city officials want them out by next month.

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Do a Google image search on the Sukhumvit Soi 38 night market and you'll find dozens of photos taken by tourists from all over the world. It will gone as early as next month. BANGKOK POST

Popular Soi 38 food stalls face developer's axe

Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai

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One of Bangkok's most iconic street food venues, Sukhumvit Soi 38, is the latest city institution to be targeted by the developers' wrecking ball.

Renowned for more than 40 years as a food hub for tourists and people living and working in the Thong Lor area, the buildings that house the street food eateries on the northern side of the soi are due to be demolished early next year.

The tenants, who declined to be named, said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration district office had told them to move out, but the owners had agreed to let them stay for another nine months.

One restaurant owner said she was told by the owner of the 836 square wah of land that at least 20 restaurants and food carts will be demolished and replaced with a high-rise condominium.

“The owner of the land passed away at the end of last year and his family want to sell this whole area to a property developer to build a condominium,” she said.

The mouth of Sukhumvit Soi 38, just down from the BTS Thong Lor station, is not much to look at during the day, but as evening falls it becomes one of Bangkok's best-known and popular street food markets. GOOGLE STREET VIEW

The woman said the late land owner had been kind to the tenants and not raised rents in four decades. “We all understand and respect the family decision,” she said. “They gave us time to be here and the rental leases will end at the end of February 2016.”

But locals are angry that BMA officers and authorities are already putting pressure on street food stalls and carts to leave the soi. The restaurant owner said BMA officials accompanied by police and soldiers visited the soi on Thursday and told the vendors they could not encroach on the public sidewalk. If they could not be relocated inside a premises they were to leave.

“We told them that we all will move together next year," said the owner of a cart selling chicken rice. "But one army officer said that he raided Khlong Thom which has more than 2,000 shops before, so the 40 shops here are really nothing compared with that.

“Don’t they have anything better to do than make poor people's lives even more difficult than they already are?” the cart owner complained. “They are such dictators.”

The BMA officials have given them until June 21 to vacate the sidewalk, warning anyone still operating their food business in a non-permitted area will be removed.

BMA chief adviser Vallop Suwandee refused to discuss the details of the eviction order, but said in principle the vendors had no right to trade on public roads.

He said the BMA officials' visit to the area must have resulted from complaints made by residents.

A noodle shop owner begged for leniency from the Bangkok governor and the prime minister, asking to be allowed to stay until February to earn enough money to relocate.

“We understand that what we are doing is not right," he said "But since we are moving away permanently from this area by the beginning of next year anyway, can't we just remain here and find extra money to move?”

Sukhumvit Soi 38 is popular among locals and tourists alike. BANGKOK POST

One of the noodle shop customers told Bangkok Post Sunday it was sad that the only reasonably priced food hub in the area would soon be gone.

“For a middle-class person like me, I can’t afford to dine at fancy restaurants in Soi Thong Lor,” said Toon. “This seems to be the perfect choice for me and many people since it is cheap and delicious.”

Many of the vendors are trying to stay together. They are looking at moving to somewhere near their original spot to try and maintain the identity of Soi 38.

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Vocabulary

  • accompanied by: to happen or exist while something else is happening -
  • adviser (noun): a person who gives advice, especially somebody who knows a lot about a particular subject - ที่ปรึกษา
  • afford: to have enough money to be able to pay for something - มีเงิน/ทุนพอ
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • axe: a tool with a wooden handle and a heavy metal blade, used for chopping wood, cutting down trees, etc. - ขวาน
  • Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA): the local government of Bangkok - กรุงเทพมหานคร
  • beg: to ask somebody for something especially in an anxious way because you want or need it very much - อ้อนวอน, ขอร้อง
  • cart (noun): a small vehicle with two or four wheels that you push or pull to transport large or heavy objects on - เกวียน, รถเข็นหรือรถลาก
  • chief: main; most important - หลัก,สำคัญ
  • complain: to say that you are annoyed, unhappy or not satisfied about somebody/something - บ่น, ร้องทุกข์
  • decade: a period of ten years - ทศวรรษ
  • decline (verb): to say politely that you will not accept something, do something, or say something - ปฏิเสธ, ปฏิเสธที่จะทำ 
  • delicious: having a very good taste - อร่อย
  • demolish: to completely destroy a building, especially in order to use the land for something else - รื้อ (สิ่งก่อสร้าง), ทำลาย
  • details: small facts or pieces of information relating to a situation - รายละเอียด
  • developer (noun): real estate developer, a person or company that builds new "real estate developments" including buildings, houses, shopping centers, etc - นักพัฒนาที่ดิน
  • dictator: someone who uses force to take and keep power in a country - จอมเผด็จการ
  • dine (verb): to eat, esp. dinner - รับประทาน, ทาน, กิน
  • discuss (verb): to talk about something with somebody, especially in order to decide something - สนทนา, โต้ตอบ
  • due to: scheduled to - มีกำหนด
  • eatery: a restaurant - ภัตตาคาร
  • encroach: to gradually enter, cover or take control of more and more of an area of land or sea - บุกรุก, ล่วงล้ำ
  • eviction: the process of forcing someone to leave a building or place where they have been living or working - การขับไล่ออกจากพื้นที่   การไล่ที่
  • governor: a person who is chosen to be in charge of the government of a state or province or a government agency - ผู้ว่าการรัฐ, ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด
  • high-rise: a building is very tall with many floors or levels - อาคาร ซึ่งมีหลายชั้น
  • hub: the central and most important part of a particular place or activity - จุดศูนย์กลาง, จุดรวม
  • iconic: well known and acting as a sign or symbol of something - มีชื่อเสียงและเป็นสัญลักษณ์แทนบาง
  • identity: who or what somebody/something is - ชื่อ เอกลักษณ์
  • institution: an important tradition or system upon which society is based - สถาบัน
  • late: dead - ที่ล่วงลับไปแล้ว
  • lease: a legal agreement in which you pay money in order to use a building, piece of land, vehicle, etc. for a period of time - สัญญาเช่า
  • leniency (noun): a situation where someone is not as strict as expected when punishing somebody or when making sure that rules are obeyed - ความผ่อนผัน,ความกรุณาปรานี,ความโอนอ่อน
  • locals: people who live in a particular place - ชาวบ้าน
  • maintain: to keep - รักษา
  • middle-class (noun): families that are not poor or rich but have incomes in the middle, sometimes thought of as educated people with professional jobs - ฐานะปานกลาง, ชนชั้นกลาง
  • operate: to carry out an activity like running a business - ดำเนินการ
  • order (noun): something that somebody is told to do by somebody in authority - คำสั่ง
  • original: the first of something - เดิม, แบบฉบับ
  • passed away (verb): died - จากไป (ตาย),เสียชีวิต, มรณภาพ
  • perfect (noun): having everything that is necessary; complete and without faults or weaknesses - สมบูรณ์แบบ
  • permanently: for all time in the future - อย่างเป็นการถาวร
  • permit (verb): to allow someone to do something - อนุญาต, อนุมัติ, ยินยอม
  • premises: the buildings and land that a business or organisation uses - ที่ดินและสิ่งปลูกสร้าง
  • pressure (noun): trying to make someone do something by forcing, threatening, or persuading them in a determined way - ความกดดัน, แรงกระตุ้น, การบีบบังคับ
  • property: a building or buildings and the surrounding land - อสังหาริมทรัพย์
  • public: open to people in general - สาธารณะ
  • raid (verb): to use force to suddenly enter a place - บุกเข้า
  • reasonable: fair, practical and sensible - มีเหตุผล
  • refuse (verb): to say or show that you will not do something; to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ
  • relocate: to move something to a new place - ย้ายที่ใหม่
  • remain (verb): to stay in the same place; to not leave - ยังอยู่, พักอยู่, รออยู่
  • remove (verb): to take something away - เอาออก
  • renowned (adj): famous and admired for a special quality, skill or achievement - ที่มีชื่อเสียง
  • rent: paying money for the use of something for a period of time - ค่าเช่า
  • replace: to put something new in place of something old - นำสิ่งใหม่มาใช้แทน
  • resident: a person who lives in a particular area - ผู้ที่อาศัยในท้องที่
  • respect: to accept the importance of someone's rights or customs - เคารพ
  • sidewalk (noun): a flat part at the side of a road for people to walk on - ทางเดิน, ฟุตบาท
  • spot: the particular place where someone or something is - ที่, สถานที่
  • stalls: large tables or small shops with an open front from which goods are sold in a public place - แผงขายของ
  • target: to direct something at someone or something - ตั้งเป้าหมาย
  • tenant: a person who pays rent for the use of a room, building, land, etc. to the person who owns it - ผู้เช่า
  • vacate: to leave a place - ออกจาก, ออกไปจาก, ย้ายออก
  • vendors: people who sell things, e.g., food or newspapers, usually outside on the street - พ่อค้าแม่่ค้าหาบแร่แผงลอย
  • venue: the place where an activity or event happens - สถานที่
  • wah (noun): a Thai unit of length, equal to 2 metres - วา
  • warn: to make someone aware of a possible problem or danger - เตือน
  • wrecking ball (noun): a heavy metal ball that swings from a crane and is used to hit a building to make it fall down -

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