Always worth it. The dirtier it is... the better it tastes.
Of course, use your common sense, but don't be afraid of every little thing. If locals are eating it, you can bet it's good. And the great thing about your immune system is that it trains itself and gets stronger. If you never eat anything even slightly risky, then one little thing is going to make you sick.
Remember that street vendors will generally use fresh ingredients. I tried food from street vendors in Thailand & Vietnam, some of the most delicious food I've tasted in Asia, it's so cheap as well.
I think I was very lucky I didn't get ill once! Either that or I have a strong stomach.
I ate from street vendors everyday while in asia - the food was delicious, cheap and I the only time I ever got sick while I was away was from the FCC club in Phnom Penh (a fairly posh expat type place). i drew the line at eating frogs on sticks tho.
I regret never eating the street food in India, it looked pretty good. I didn't see it all that often. Although i never got sick, not even once. I have a fairly strong stomach, some of my food preparation and hygeine standards are shocking, im surprised im not dead yet!
I think u are right. There are also plenty of kitchens, which are filthy.
I eat, from everywhere. Restaurants, cafes, and street stalls. I have not yet been food poisoned, or worse. Maybe i am just lucky.
I have eaten some great street food in my travels around Asia. The thing that caused me long and unwanted liasons with the nearest WC was buffet food! I advise steering clear of any buffet.
The quality and safety of street food depends upon the country, and even the city, where you are. Not all Asian street food is equal in terms of taste or hygiene. I live in Bangkok and have never had any problems eating the street food, but I do try and pick vendors that appear to be clean. When I lived in Cambodia, I tended to avoid most of the street vendors, simply because most of them appeared dirty, but even in that country there are safe places. I've also eaten street food in Laos and Myanmar and have never gotten sick. Maybe it's my iron stomach!
I've eaten street food in se asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos) regularly for the last 3 months and haven't been sick from it at all. I have however got sick from eating in some restaurants here. It's just common sense - if it looks fresh and clean, then give it a whirl, if it's covered in flies and looks a bit grotty, or the food isn't hot, give it a miss. Usually the busier stalls are the best as there is a faster turn around of food meaning it will be fresher and tastier. In my experience, street food is more traditional, fresher, cheaper and tastier than most standard restaurant food.
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 17, 2006, at 4:10 AM by claireh ]
In SE Asia I ate street food everywhere. HK was smelly (the food on the streets and very depressingly did what others suggested which was McD, which is wrong becuase I hadn't been in one for 4 years before and haven't since.
In Viet nam some chicken had blood in it when we bit into it.
I decided to leave my food however the other 2 ate it anyway saying thats normal.
Both were bery sick during the nighte an the next day.
Also in Tijuana Mexico, the bready cake food you buy onthe streets is yummy but I have a bad tummy for the next 2 weeks afterwards and was pretty much grounded in Vegas waiting for my gut to recover howver it meant I saw 21 of the 24 main casinos and won at everyone I played at!
Missed out on San Fran though so massive shame!