A Hamburger Today

Is Street Food in Vietnam Endangered?

As part of a continuing campaign to make Hanoi "green, clean, and beautiful," the local Vietnamese government implemented a partial ban on street vending, effective July 1. But what is downtown Hanoi without the street food? According to blogger Graham Holliday of noodlepie, "you take the food off the street and you just have street." A potentially more sanitary, but way less delicious, very sad street.

Next to frenetic motorbike taxis, hawking pho and fruits gives Hanoi its heartbeat. Vending is also an important part of many Vietnamese livelihoods, but as Hanoi becomes increasingly built-up and developed, supermarkets will displace the traditional markets and street vendors as the city hopes to embrace a spic and span look.

This isn't the first time local politics has denied grubby delicacies. There was the taco truck tragedy in Los Angeles, the Red Hook ball field vendors in Brooklyn, and though Washington, D.C. has seen a slight spike in street eats recently, the city had a moratorium against vendors for many years.

Whenever street eating is in trouble, a part of every food lover dies. We hope Hanoi doesn't lose too much culinary soul.

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