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street food worth the risk?

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61. Posted by cde3879 (Full Member 142 posts) 8y

Wow I didn't realise a discussion about street food could get so heated! And more heated than the food itself from what some of you are saying!

Sherbet I respect your opinion although it differs from mine - but you do tend to hear bad stories about everything rather than good stories. For example, you are more likely to hear if a person has eaten somewhere and been ill rather than if they ate somewhere and had no ill effects. People love controversy and if they can exaggerate something to make a story sound better they probably will.

I'm not saying that people don't get ill after eating street food. But I wouldn't base your opinion on what a handful of people have said about it when the vast majority of others have eaten it without any problems - especially if you haven't tried it for yourself. The only way to get a real opinion is to eat it yourself and see what happens. After all if the majority got ill after eating street food, word (and smells!) would soon spread and it would put all the street traders out of business. I don't see that happening any time soon, do you?

Cheers,

Chris

62. Posted by cde3879 (Full Member 142 posts) 8y

Quoting imoutahere

ate it, loved it, try it!!!!

Couldn't have put it better myself! :)

63. Posted by Sherbet185 (Budding Member 13 posts) 8y

Quoting emma1979

I don't think wildfk is fighting a losing battle at all, Sherbet. You're both stating your opinions. the danger with personal opinions is people may take them as gospel and lose out on many opportunities. to say you will definately get sick from eating from street vendors is misleading. i ate at street vendors as much as possible while in s.e asia and never once got sick. they're cheap, tasty and quick. i did get sick from eating at a restaurant though - the only time i ever got sick while away. i think one of the best ways to get to know any culture is to eat the food the locals eat. i'm a strict vegetarian at home but when we were invited to dinner or i was offered food while in s.e asia i never refused once - no harm done and now i have a better idea of the places we visited because i literally had a taste of the local cultures. people may get sick from street vendors - but food poisoning applies to any piece of food you stick in your mouth anywhere in the world. also, doesn't the meat and veg served up in restaurants come from the same source as the meat and veg served up by street vendors?

anyways, anyone make it to that food alley in luang prabang off the night market? if i could afford it, i'd fly over tomorrow for some of those veggie spring roles

If you actually read my posts you would see that i didn't say you would definatly get sick i said a lot of people i know got sick and you can get sick. I MYSELF am going to steer clear.

64. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 454 posts) 8y

A few thoughts on “food poisoning”....

Is it actually that serious or are you just referring to a bout of diarrhoea?
How did you REALLY get it?Food drink, a case of "gastric flu"?

FP can take up days before the effects are felt, so it’s not always right to blame the last thing you ate.

Street food versus restaurants....
In the west, most food poisoning comes from the home but we all know of small restaurants blamed for food poisoning and also the major chains...e.g. Tacobell in the US just recently.
The problem with chains of restaurants is that they share suppliers. So if a batch of food is contaminated, it is then distributed to several outlets. This is less likely with small independent businesses.
Hygiene is a problem but as was highlighted a few years ago in the UK the main problem is now storage and distribution.
All food has bacteria on it..........Modern western style food relies a lot on “chill serve” methods. Food is first prepared and then kept at just above freezing (+5C). It is then heated and served. This low temperature does not kill off bacteria; it just holds them in stasis, so they don’t multiply. The problems start when the food is allowed to get above the 5C temperature and the bacteria start to multiply. In hot climates with poorly trained or inexperienced staff, this is a particular problem. Food is removed from the fridge and returned again, left in 30C or over the bacteria have a field day.
From a personal perspective I know with reasonable certainty of 3 separate incidences where friends have got quite seriously ill (hospital in 2 cases) by eating at “western” restaurants...this includes a fast food burger chain on Samui.
It is the toxins produced by the bacteria that cause food poisoning, so they have to colonise your gut and then produce their toxins...this is why there can be a delay between eating and symptoms being felt.
Bacteria generally lie in wait on the surface of foods. If you eat a rare steak, so long as the outside is well and truly cooked, it is quite safe. However if you mince the meat...i.e. for a burger you are mixing the bacteria to the inside of the food....if this is not cooked through thoroughly there is a good chance that the bacteria will multiply to a dangerous level.
With street food in Thailand, you are dealing with quick-fire cooking methods that have been tried and tested for decades, food is killed, quickly cut up and fried at high temperatures...contrary to some peoples observations, it is not left out for hours...it is sold....having been cooked a lot of potential bacteria are dead, so the contamination process is set back. Mince in Thailand is cooked lose so it is cooked through properly. The vendors are dealing with kinds of foods that they are used to dealing with, refrigeration is not a part of the food preparation here, the process is therefore fast, and the chances of contamination reduced.
Westerners look at Thai food stalls and apply their own standards of hygiene to them, this is a mistake from the start as hygiene is not the only cause of food poisoning; it is preparation, storage that will cause the main problems.
There are other ways to get sick....hep A (shellfish), amoebic dysentery (water-borne) liver fluke (fish)....Google them up and see how to catch them......this has little to do with dirty hands and cloths....
Yes, anyone can get food poisoning, from anywhere, but the claims against street food stem largely from ignorance and prejudice.
As others have said, be “street-wise” use some common sense and you will be OK...eat enjoy....and carry a packet of tissues!

One other point...I wouldn’t think taking Imodium as a matter of course is such a good idea....if you DO have the runs, the best thing is usually to let it “run” its course and drink lots of (bottled) water; taking Imodium is only holding the bacteria in your system. Of course, there may well be circumstances where you have to shut down your bottom for a few hours (bus-ride?), but afterwards you should make every effort to flush yourself
BTW - Antibiotics should really only be used if prescribed by a doctor.

65. Posted by lilbeach (Budding Member 6 posts) 8y

Quoting moutallica

Always worth it. The dirtier it is... the better it tastes.

Awesome!!! I would agree:

The best food i ate during my 3-month trip in India was street food. There were a few times when I needed to spend a bit more time squatting in some shed than I would have liked, it was worth it for all the amazing tastes and smells!!!

But i've always been a supporter of fully immersing oneself into the culture (and I guess trying new things has occasionally ended up in slightly-less-than-positive situations... but hey, always makes for a good story!).

66. Posted by emma1979 (Full Member 126 posts) 8y

Quoting Sherbet185

Quoting emma1979

I don't think wildfk is fighting a losing battle at all, Sherbet. You're both stating your opinions. the danger with personal opinions is people may take them as gospel and lose out on many opportunities. to say you will definately get sick from eating from street vendors is misleading. i ate at street vendors as much as possible while in s.e asia and never once got sick. they're cheap, tasty and quick. i did get sick from eating at a restaurant though - the only time i ever got sick while away. i think one of the best ways to get to know any culture is to eat the food the locals eat. i'm a strict vegetarian at home but when we were invited to dinner or i was offered food while in s.e asia i never refused once - no harm done and now i have a better idea of the places we visited because i literally had a taste of the local cultures. people may get sick from street vendors - but food poisoning applies to any piece of food you stick in your mouth anywhere in the world. also, doesn't the meat and veg served up in restaurants come from the same source as the meat and veg served up by street vendors?

anyways, anyone make it to that food alley in luang prabang off the night market? if i could afford it, i'd fly over tomorrow for some of those veggie spring roles

If you actually read my posts you would see that i didn't say you would definatly get sick i said a lot of people i know got sick and you can get sick. I MYSELF am going to steer clear.

sherbet i didn't actually write that you said this - i was making a point about general sweeping opinions. sorry if this came across wrong - i should have been more clear. you should stay clear if that's what you want to do.

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