Is it safe to eat street food? (Overseas)

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Is it safe to eat Street Food?

The short answer is yes. If it wasn’t safe then people wouldn’t eat street food every day and night.

Of-course I cannot guarantee you won’t get sick from eating street food, but there are certainly tips I can provide to help you out.

For context; I eat street food every-day while travelling and have travelled the following destinations and never gotten sick from street food.

  • 3 months in South East Asia
  • 3 months in Central Asia
  • 3 months in Central America
  • 3 months in South America

Tips to eating street food:

  1. Clientele: Are others eating from this street food vendor particularly locals? Usually If others are eating from a vendor it means they are reputable.
  2. Cleanliness: Does the vendor look clean? Pretty easy, do they have clean utensils? Are they wiping down their stall regularly?
  3. Freshness: Do the ingredients look fresh?
  4. Meat: Meat needs to be refrigerated and kept at appropriate temperatures. Not knowing where meat has come from or where it has been stored, if flies and bugs have touched it means you don’t know how hygienic the meat may be. A good way to avoid this problem is to consider street food without meat
  5. Water: If local tap water is unsafe to drink then be mindful of if the street food vendor is washing vegetables in un-safe water. If the water being used by the vendor is drinkable you’ll be much better off.

It is always good to look after your stomach health while travelling. If certain foods like spices, meat, dairy or other ingredients upset you gut, don’t be afraid to ask first.

A lot of travellers who have travelled extensively at some point will get “travel diarrhoea”. It is almost normal if you are on the road long enough that at some point you will encounter a stomach bug. So getting sick is not uncommon overseas, but it bodes well to stay hydrated and try have someone you can rely on for help if you get ill.

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