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Street Food Vendors

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Are they safe?
9 years ago, May 13th 2010 No: 1 Msg: #110751  
I am planning a trip to SE Asia and I was told the best food was from the street or market vendors.I have always been careful about where and what I eat and I'm doubtful about taking a chance of getting sick.Been there done that a few times it's no fun,so I'm a little gun shy.Any tips on how to judge a vendor would be appreciated. Reply to this

9 years ago, May 13th 2010 No: 2 Msg: #110759  
The thing about street vendors is that it's all on show. You can see the ingredients, you can tell if they are fresh and well cooled. You can see the cooking utensils and watch them cook the food in front of you. So you can make your own decision based on what you see.

With a restaurant, even an expensive restaurant, you don't see the kitchen. So you don't know what is going on behind the scenes. We have seen really nice looking restaurants, then you walk round the back past the kitchen and it's filthy inside.

That goes for Asia and your own country.

Sometimes in SE Asia you get sick. It might be because of the food or the water or you because you drink too much or you're not used to the heat or one of a great many reasons. You have to take the rough with the smooth!!



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9 years ago, May 13th 2010 No: 3 Msg: #110760  
To save myself from food poisoning when I travel, I always choose what is hot and safe, for example, rice, vegetables, meat, soup, bread and eggs, sometimes pizza. Because I travel alone, it will be a big problem if I am sick and it means I will miss my flights and other schedules. I still try some local food, but in general I miss the chance to taste various specialties. It is OK for me because I cannot eat spicy food in other parts of Vietnam and some other Asian countries. Even though I am a Vietnamese, I rarely eat street food in Vietnam. Reply to this

9 years ago, May 13th 2010 No: 4 Msg: #110762  
I go along with Chris above. Common sense and observation go a long way towards keeping you safe.

One basic rule is don't eat anything that needs to be washed unless it has also been well cooked.

Another is to clean your teeth with bottled water. It's amazing how many people are really strict about what they eat and drink but use tap water to clean their teeth. Having said that, most tap water in big cities is ok these days.

If you are really concerned, check out products such as Travelan which you take before you get sick to prevent it, not afterwards to get over it. There are other brands on the market. I used one while travelling in China and Mongolia and had no problems with what I ate. I forget the product name but generically they are made from colostrum, which assists in fighting off the gut bacteria which cause tummy upsets.

Whatever you do, have fun.

John
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9 years ago, May 13th 2010 No: 5 Msg: #110764  
Yeah, we always use the tap water to brush our teeth but I think in the big cities it's safer.

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9 years ago, May 13th 2010 No: 6 Msg: #110765  
B Posts: 11.5K
Where the locals eat is also a good guide. If a street vendor is popular, chances are the food is good - and you know it won't have been left sitting for a few hours :-) Reply to this

9 years ago, May 13th 2010 No: 7 Msg: #110771  
Street food in SE Asia is very popular. In my opinion, just observe first the food and make sure that it is served hot. Also, you might want to buy first distilled water for your . It is better to be safe than sorry.
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9 years ago, May 13th 2010 No: 8 Msg: #110775  
Yes, it is mostly safe, cheap and delicious! Stick with food that is freshly cooked in front of you and here's my best advice: eat raw garlic with every street meal. I live in a small Chinese town and there is raw garlic at every table. I don't know if the locals prefer the taste or if it is illness prevention, but I have been free of any tummy trouble since I started eating a few cloves with every meal. Garlic has been know for centuries for it's anti-bacterial properties. Bacterial cells die when they are saturated with garlic. So if you are like me and love the taste of garlic anyway, pop a few cloves and enjoy all the street food you want. If it is not on the table, ask for it or carry a head in your bag. Enjoy your trip! Reply to this

9 years ago, May 13th 2010 No: 9 Msg: #110791  
Be cautious and don't eat anything that has not been cooked over a high heat! Don't get comfortable and take any changes. When we were in Chaing Mai we ate in a Mediterrean restaurant 3 times. On the third ocassion I ordered tabouli and that was a big mistake. They had washed the parsley in the local water. Ugh!! lesson learned. Reply to this

9 years ago, May 17th 2010 No: 10 Msg: #111084  
N Posts: 1
Street foods are wonderful. I eat street food some days a week. They are safe because there are many people eating them. You should eat the hot and well-cooked food. In my experience, don't eat the uncooked food like vegetable, herbs because they might not be washed carefully. Another way to avoid the stomached is eating raw garlic, ginger. They can prevent you from bacterial. Reply to this

9 years ago, May 17th 2010 No: 11 Msg: #111096  
Thank all of you very much.I have been to India 3 times and have been very careful,the same in Nepal,in fact I have used alot of the adivce you all had given me.I got zapped real good in in Nepal and some advice for all of you Doxicylin can kill all that ails you,but it makes you sun sensitive. I heard the food from vendors was the best throughout SE Asia.I really didn't want miss it because of the fear factor,thats why I asked for some first hand opinions for about that part of the world.Thank you all again for your input,it puts mind at ease.Happy and Safe travels to all of you. Reply to this

9 years ago, May 23rd 2010 No: 12 Msg: #111582  
Street food provides cheap tasty food with endless variety. We've only got caught out once, when a fantastic sizzling stir fry was served up in rolled lettuce leaves. Doh!
Our biggest cause for concern anywhere is the dreaded buffet - be it breakfast or at one of the tourist trap restaurants. Street food is much safer! Reply to this

9 years ago, May 25th 2010 No: 13 Msg: #111702  
ohh the buffet's terrify me!! avoid avoid avoid!! the other thing that makes me nervous is empty resturants when there are resturants with people in the right next door, I always wonder why their empty..

I've never had a problem eating street food (best pad thai in Bangkok is from a little woman off a side street near Khao San! 25 baht, price hasn't changed in four years)

I think the worst thing with the local water isn't necessarily the bugs that give you upset stomachs, it's the bugs you don't know your picking up. I've heard of some people using tap water to brush their teeth right from the start so they get used to the local water faster, I'm a bottled water type of person though, especially in rural areas. You never know what your going to pick up. Reply to this

9 years ago, May 25th 2010 No: 14 Msg: #111763  

I think the worst thing with the local water isn't necessarily the bugs that give you upset stomachs, it's the bugs you don't know your picking up. I've heard of some people using tap water to brush their teeth right from the start so they get used to the local water faster.



Have you actually tried this? I use a steripen when I travel to cut down on bottled water use, but if I can start eating local produce washed with tap water, that would be awesome! Reply to this

9 years ago, May 26th 2010 No: 15 Msg: #111771  
haven't heard of the steripen.
I've never uused tap water overseas, (Mexico, Cuba and south east asia, all bottled water). Reply to this

9 years ago, May 26th 2010 No: 16 Msg: #111781  
The thing's pretty cool, it uses light to kill the bad stuff in the tap water in like a minute. Reply to this

9 years ago, May 26th 2010 No: 17 Msg: #111783  
Aha! I just found the website: www.steripen.com Reply to this

9 years ago, May 27th 2010 No: 18 Msg: #111886  
awesome I'll check it out! Thanks!! Reply to this

8 years ago, August 16th 2010 No: 19 Msg: #117628  
Yeah! I think so. I had a summer holiday in Vietnam and I chose the good restaurant. Oh in Da Nang city I came to Rosy'home to enjoy Vietnam dish. She has a tourist company and serve Vietnam dish at her home for tourist. That's so great.


If you need some help, you can contact Rosy Tam


Her website:

Her Email:
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