Bangkok's displaced street-food vendors may have found their new home
Miss Soi 38?
Many people will tell you Bangkok hasn't been the same since the street-food ban. But now, some good news.
Taking over a two-rai plot of land on Soi Thonglor, ambitious new project Saphan 55 (www.saphan55.com) looks to rekindle the energy of Sukhumvit Soi 38 and other waning street-food hubs, only under cover amid the hygienic surrounds of a vast warehouse space.
Behind the so-called "street food shelter" is Chris Foo, the proprietor of Brew Beer & Ciders and The Commons' Beer Cap, as well as general man-about-Thonglor.
"I got the idea from my colleagues, actually," Foo said. "They complained that a lot of the affordable food around Thonglor is not up to scratch. It's not tasty or it's not available late at night when they knock off work. There's less of it now, too. These seem to be pretty common complaints nowadays."
On its ground floor, Saphan 55 will bring together 28 of the city's best street-food stalls, many of whom used to sell around the local neighborhood. The space will stay open from 10am until "very late" with parking for over 60 cars and 100 motorbikes.
Prices will be "street food prices" (B40-50) and Saphan 55 will also offer delivery, with diners able to place orders across multiple vendors via one centralized phone number.
"I hate the term 'food court' but the aim is to create something that's still very accessible but with much more atmosphere than a generic food court," Foo said. "This is definitely the biggest project I've ever been involved in."
The second floor will house Baan Saphan, a slightly more upscale Thai restaurant overlooking the hubbub of the street-food market below. There will be live music and sports screenings, as well as beer supplied by Foo himself.
Located at the back of Sukhumvit Soi 55, opposite Game Over Lounge, Saphan 55 is scheduled to open in September.