"Chula - Bantadthong - Sam Yan" - Foodies' Paradise A Hub of Hip Thai Street Food

BANGKOK, Dec. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The Property Management of Chulalongkorn University (PMCU) awakens the Thai soft power concept by transforming the Bantadthong – Samyan neighborhood into a Thai street food paradise combining popularity and the "it" factor in a variety of restaurants while emphasizing hygiene, quality, and taste. Conveniently located in the heart of the city, the area is believed to attract consumers, as well as Thai and foreign entrepreneurs.

Street food used to be considered unhygienic by many people who thought it might give you diarrhea. Hawker stalls clutter footpaths blocking people's traffic, polluting the streets, and ruining the city scenery.

That image is one of the past! Today, street food in Thailand is fast gaining international popularity. It is one of the soft powers that generates billions of baht market value per year. It attracts both Thai and foreign tourists to experience excellent and diverse food so much so that Bangkok is called "The City of Street Food" or "The Street Food Capital".

Bangkok has many street food districts.  One that is trending and popular among the younger generation is Chula-Bantadthong-Samyan.

"This is another neighborhood as popular as Siam Square, maybe even more," said Associate Professor Dr. Chittisak Thammapornpilas, Vice President of Property and Physical Management and Director of PMCU, referring to the goal of developing the Bantadthong – Sam Yan neighborhood into a foodie's paradise – a hub for a variety of delicacies including legendary Michelin Guide and trendy delicacies.

"In addition to a variety of great-tasting, hygienic food, they will also be able to experience the new Thai Street Food atmosphere with good utility systems. The restaurants are tidy, not blocking foot traffic, safe, accessible, and have convenient parking," Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak said, highlighting the highlights of the new street food district.

Streets – the Birthplace of Thai Street Food Culture

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak recalled the history of Thai street food culture that came about and thrived with the construction of new roads.

"In the past, Thai people (formerly Siamese) preferred to build their houses primarily by canals and traveled mainly by waterways.  Shopping for groceries and household goods was made from hawkers on boats until the reign of King Rama V when Western influence led to the construction of roads, with Charoen Krung, Bamrung Muang, and Fueng Nakhon roads as the first ones."

"When new streets were built, western-style shophouses started to come up alongside forming residential and commercial districts. More and more people started to build their homes facing the streets and travel on land. Then, sidewalk food stalls were born. As cities grew, residential and commercial districts expanded.  With more roads, hawker stalls grow."

Street Food – The Answers to Urban Lifestyle

Roadside food stalls may ruin the cityscape, but it also perfectly meets the needs of urban living, said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak.

First, street food offers a variety of cuisines.  Roadside food stalls resemble a food court located in an open area. Consumers can choose from a variety of foods as they prefer, including savory, sweet, snacks, and beverages.  

Second, street food answers the need for price. With free or affordable rent, roadside food stalls are the lifelines of the poor urban population and labor.

From a macroeconomic perspective, sidewalk food hawker stalls, and street food stalls are colorful cultural elements that meet the national economic needs. Kasikorn Research Center has estimated that the market value of the street food business in 2023 will reach 4.25 billion baht.

Street food, the original endowment of Bantadthong – Samyan Areas

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak discusses the efforts of many parties in the past to shape Silom Road into a pedestrian street.  There were already investments, designs, and guidelines, but the plan never came to fruition.  Another spot is Ong Ang Canal.  Various activities have been created for press coverage, but the results have not been as intended. 

"Developing an area into a "district" is not easy with many elements involved, the main one being the people who are going to use the area, the merchants and the vendors."

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak feels that the Chula-Bantadthong-Sam Yan district has a high potential with many factors that fit perfectly. First, PMCU already has a large land development project complete with zoning based on the uniqueness and clear concept — i.e. assigning the Bantadthong – Sam Yan area to be a hub of Thai Street Food.

"The Bantadthong – Samyan area already has great leverage.  It has always been known for a variety of restaurants — the ones that have been there for a long time and new ones that just moved from Little Talad Noi and Yaowarat (Chinatown) areas."

Based on such leverage, PMCU has upgraded the entire area to be a modern street food district, focusing on hygienic food preparation, tidy, clean, and modern design, while providing easy, convenient, and safe access, unlike the traditional street food image.

Apart from the advantages of existing street food entrepreneurs, Samyan-Bantadthong is also a prime location in the heart of the city with a large number of consumers, including students, office workers, and tourists who need food from breakfast to supper.

"When you come to eat at Bantadthong – Samyan, you will feel the lively atmosphere and energy of the young people, and maybe even reminisce about your teenage years, having fun and being lively."

However, despite several positive factors, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak said that for a "neighborhood" to prosper sustainably is not easy.

"It is not easy to satisfy visitors, and to accomplish this, PMCU needs to depend on team collaboration including management services of Chulalongkorn University as a whole as well."

The Charm of Thai Street Food at Chula – Bantadthong – Samyan

Chula-Bantadthong-Samyan street food is rapidly gaining popularity, in part because of the influence of social media to help generate awareness and popularity among consumers who come by because of the word-of-mouth influence of both friends and reviews from bloggers.

"Reviews from bloggers and customers are a major driver of the area's rise to fame, quickly becoming unexpectedly more popular.  When more customers come, more restaurants open."

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak summed up the vibrant Chula-Bantadthong-Samyan street food as follows:

  • The restaurants have permanent locations and are hygienic.
  • You can safely pick and choose the food you like along the sidewalk.
  • Looking for restaurants is very convenient as tons of restaurants line the whole Bantadthong road.
  • The neighborhood is conveniently located in the heart of the city, easy to reach by MRTBTS, or buses number 53, 67, 73
  • Several parking lots can accommodate a large number of vehicles. (See parking lots map click here)
  • Chula students can use Chula free air-conditioned buses Lines 2 and 5, or hail an electric tuk-tuk via the Muvmi application.

Nowadays, Chula-Bantadthong-Samyan Thai Street Food is ever more popular. Passersby, especially in the evening and evening, will see long lines at various restaurants, and riders with their motorcycles parked on the street waiting to pick up their online orders. This has started to cause traffic congestion. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak said that the PMCU is working on solving the problem and managing the space for all parties' benefits.

Roadmap for Chula-Bantadthong-Samyan Thai Street Food

Visitors can enjoy 3 groups of tasty food:  

  1. Legendary restaurants are traditional restaurants that have been in this area for generations — from father to son, such as Sam Yan Porridge, Jedang Restaurant, and Jewan Soy Milk. 
  2. Michelin Guides such as Gimpo Fish Porridge, Elvis Suki & Seafood, and Leng Leng Fish Balls.
  3. Trendy delicacies such as CQK Mala Hotpot, Nueng Nom Nua, Everyday Thai Tea, and Mae Duan Thai Dessert

Explore more Chula-Bantadthong-Samyan Thai Street Food, visit https://www.chula.ac.th/en/highlight/144471/

About Chulalongkorn University
Chulalongkorn University has made the world's top 50 university list for employment outcomes, which reflects both the high employment rate and work ability of Chula graduates. The university is also listed as the best in Thailand for the 15th Consecutive Year (since 2009), according to the newly released QS World University Rankings 2024, putting Chula at 211th in the world, up from 244th last year.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Miss Thanita Wangvanichapan at (+66) 2218 3280 or email thanita.w@chula.ac.th

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SOURCE Chulalongkorn University

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