Street Food is a must try whenever and wherever you travel overseas. Find the best eats on the streets. You will experience these kind of food tasting commonly in Asia. Watch the vendors cook and grill the food on sticks and you can eat these with savory sauces and spices. Unfortunately, some travelers are used in eating dirty foods served by fast food restaurants and they get sick if they eat street foods.
Some are even asking if they should eat street foods or not because some travel agencies advise them not to buy street foods. Honestly speaking, you should eat street foods because you will not understand the culture very well if you don’t do this unless if you have complicated medical conditions.
All you have to do is know the safety tips, buy and then eat street foods and that’s it. It’s like eating a hot barbecue from the grill! For food adventurers, kindly read this article for a good and safe food adventure.
#1 Look if there are many buyers
If it’s before noon or afternoon already, look if there are many buyers because chances are the food is delicious and is always served fresh not days old. It may be a sign of cleanliness since locals and tourists did not complain any ailments.
#2 Observe if they use tongs or plastic
Every time you buy street foods, observe if the vendor uses a tong or puts a plastic on his or her hand to pick the foods. It will be better if they use paper as the serving plate so you will know that they do not try to reuse and rewash plastic cups and containers.
#3 Do not try raw foods yet
In some countries, street food stalls and restaurants serve raw foods. If you have sensitive stomach, don’t attempt to try raw foods because you may end up getting sick.
#4 Check the environment
If the food stall is inside the food market or park, chances are the served foods are clean but if it is beside the dump site or highways, avoid this because the food may be contaminated already by polluted water and air.
#5 Do the cleaning like a local
Do as the locals do such as rubbing each chopstick or using a paper napkin to wipe spoon and fork or any eating utensils. Whether you believe that doing this really helps to clean the utensils or not, just do it so you can feel how to be a local.
#6 Look if they have glass containers
See if they have glass (may be also plastic) containers where they store cooked foods. Vendors having these regard their customers’ food safety. They make sure that flies don’t land on the foods.
#7 As possible, buy street foods on high quality carts
Some street food stalls are owned by big time sole proprietorships or companies. Their foods were served in high quality carts with nicely designed sign boards, lights and glass containers. Even vendors there are wearing uniforms. If you are eager to try street foods, go to this route first and then if you don’t experience stomach ache, headache, nausea, etc., you are now welcome to try the most popular street foods where locals keep coming back.
Depending on the culture, some vendors are okay with you taking pictures of their foods while some might get angry if you do the same. To be sure, ask permission first if you are planning to take food pics. Follow this street food safety guide and you will surely have a wonderful food tasting experience. You will get a glimpse on how locals live and love their own snacks.
How Do Street Food Vendors Take Payment?
There are 2 main ways you can pay for your food. Most vendors will happily take cash for payment. More established vendors can take your credit card using a credit card machine. It has a contactless POS system and a card reader. There are many POS systems out there, Clover Flex is one of them. Many restaurants use it too.