Skip Navigation

street food worth the risk?

Travel Forums Asia street food worth the risk?

Page

Last Post

31. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member, 454 posts) 22 Dec '06 13:42

If you want to increase your risk of food poisoning or help to destroy local culture and put local buinesses out of work....McD....McD.....McD.....the (OBESE?)unthinking tourist strikes again

32. Posted by Budai (Respected Member, 506 posts) 24 Dec '06 03:24

personally i think street food is a key aspect of my experience of a country, and if the locals are eating it, there should not be too much of a probbie... Tried pig innards in Myanmar, roadside BBQ with a British couple, downing Myanmar beer, roasted crickets at the rickety bridge to Bogyoke Market, and did not come back with anything. Street fd also allows u to interact and eat with the locals, instead of at some FCC cafe or bar. The irony is tt i never got food poisoning on my travels, but quite a few times at home...

33. Posted by stevebk108 (Budding Member, 3 posts) 25 Dec '06 16:29

Quoting itenerant

personally i think street food is a key aspect of my experience of a country, and if the locals are eating it, there should not be too much of a probbie... Tried pig innards in Myanmar, roadside BBQ with a British couple, downing Myanmar beer, roasted crickets at the rickety bridge to Bogyoke Market, and did not come back with anything. Street fd also allows u to interact and eat with the locals, instead of at some FCC cafe or bar. The irony is tt i never got food poisoning on my travels, but quite a few times at home...

My experience has been in sub-saharan Africa, but I reflect this feeling as well. Getting sick is a risk inherent to traveling in any developing country, and sticking to "safe" restaurants is going to keep you away from the full experience.

34. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru, 1281 posts) 27 Dec '06 05:07

A thing I read in a travel book which was very true is use a bit of commonsense when purchasing from street stalls. If you have a lot of stalls selling the same or very similar food and one person hasn't got hardly any customers and yet the others have got a lot, well then that says that the locals who know best see something wrong with the food for the one that has little or no customers. If you see a mother with children buying stuff from a certain street food place, well you'll know that most likely it is safe as the mother isn't wanting to get the children sick. If you see flies going all over the food, well then clearly avoid it unless you feel like getting sick. Watching it being prepared is also a good thing, but seeing which type of person is buying it was usually a safer thing. If you get desperate in Thailand you could go to McDonalds, and unlike in America, Australia and UK you actually get good and quick service from them (30 seconds maximum wait once at the counter) in Bangkok.

35. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member, 454 posts) 28 Dec '06 18:08

I repeat...you eat at "international" fast food outlets at your peril.

36. Posted by Dezafinado (Respected Member, 177 posts) 29 Dec '06 09:34

I've never gotten sick from consumption of food or water in SE Asia. There've been times when I didn't like to eat/drink but had to as a matter of courtesy since the persons offering are relatives of mine. After the first visit, I learned that I have so many relatives (extending 3 generations), I decided to bring my own water everywhere I go. Screw politeness! I have my well being to think of!

One time I had a serious constipation due to a cider I drank and found out it was expired. It was a gift from my cousin... bastard!!!

It's important to keep in mind that SE Asians suffer high rates of colon cancer and liver diseases (Hepatitis A,B,C). C, which is incurable, is 10x higher in SE Asians than Americans. Liver diseases are usually due to poor (or lack of) sanitation systems and personal hygiene. It's not strange to see people urinating or taking a dump next to a river, stream or rice paddy in SE Asia. And most of the time liver problems are slow and dormant. You can live in SE Asia for years eating/drinking and have no problems whatsoever and still picked up Hepatitis A/B. Therefore, one shouldn't equate the lack of illness and stomach problems to not catching a virus in hibernation.

My personal practice is:

- drink sealed bottled water, boiled water or filter it yourself using a high quality filter and treat with chemical to eliminate viruses... or drink canned beverages (beer, soda)

- skip ice

- food: well cooked, if from the street make sure the vendor has a fast turnover. Don't eat raw vegies unless you washed it yourself.

- fruits: safe if they're clean and uncut.

37. Posted by funkfaerie (Full Member, 128 posts) 30 Dec '06 03:56

Vendor food is amazing. A lot of it is fairly safe... I tend to steer away from the meat if it looks too dodgy. But then i've never been sick from eating vendor food.

I'd much rather eat that than McDonalds anyway.

38. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member, 454 posts) 30 Dec '06 04:28

Constipation from Cider??????tha's a new one!

I think you should read up on Hepatitis........it is very prevalent in SEA,and can be caught in several avoidable ways.......Heb B is sexuallty transmitted amongst other ways

Hepetitis A is prevalent in place with poor standard of hygiene and sanitation. As the standard of living is improving in this country and less cases are reported, there is an increased pool of non-immune population who are at risk of contracting the disease if the disease if they are exposed to the virus.

Hepetitis B is a serious disease worldwide caused by the Hepetitis B virus (HBV). It can lead to complications including chronic Hepetitis (persistent liver inflammation), liver cirrhosis (hardening of the liver), liver failure and liver cancer.

39. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru, 1295 posts) 30 Dec '06 05:43

Quoting jennygro

how do you feel about eating street vendor bought food in south east asia? do you think its so cheap and delicious its worth the risk? and also there are plenty of restaurant kitchens that are filthy too! what do you think?

*************

Some travelers can eat cooked dog poop and not get sick! I have been in and out of Asia for over 20 years, I don't eat "street food!" It's hard to tell if a piece of chicken or beef has been out for 1 hour or 20 hours in the dirt, dust and fly poop.

From time to time I do eat some "really hot" noodle soup and after carefully choosing what I want thrown in the basket - but not with porous wooden chopsticks! Something about sticking a piece of wood that has been licked and chewed off of by hundreds of previous customers turns me off! Many of the noodle merchants have wrapped plastic disposable sporks anyway or carry your own fork and spoon.

I do eat the same items when sold in some restaurants or made in a friend's house. I kind of like my food handlers to have some running water to wash their hands off after they take a dump, take a whiz, scratch their butts or pick their noses!

I get a kick out of some posters saying they never get sick - good for you - there's always the first time! Tourists with a limited time frame would really screw up their vacations by spending time in hospitals with food poisoning.

The longer you live in a country the more immune you become to eating dirty food! When I used to assist in ESL programs back home, several of my students, on trips back home, would get sick eating "street food" and they were born in Asia! Their stomachs had become used to food that was a little "cleaner" and safer to eat. When they travelled back to Cambodia, Laos, or even Vietnam - they would get sick just like a "first timer!"

40. Posted by mcgrco (Budding Member, 16 posts) 30 Dec '06 06:44

Ive eaten street food all over Asia, Africa and South America. Yes, I have had the trots on a few occasions but thats par for the course. Ironically, the last time i got sick whilst travelling was when I ate burger king at bangkok airport.

As a rule of the tumb I only eat where there are loads of locals eating and only food thats fried or cooked very well. Another thing I look for is the amount (!) of dirt under the chefs nails.

As has be mentioned your ammune system builds up over time. I just arrived in Nairobi and the first meal I had was a chciken currey at a local eatery. So far so good!

In my opinion to avoid street food is to lose out on a truly genuine experience. Its cheap and bloody tasty. Have a look in any tourist resturants kitchen in Asia and you'll see that the street vendors set up is as clean and free from rats!