Travelers wonder if street food is safe.
Travelers and locals alike are often lined up for good, cheap food from the many carts that line the streets of Asia despite some guidebooks warning against it.
If you want to find the cheapest meals and the most interesting cultural experiences, skip the tourist restaurants and go to the street food carts.
What Is Street Food?
Street food is usually served from simple carts that specialize in one dish or a small number of offerings.
The cook only prepares the same dish each night.
Eating street food in Asia isn’t a restaurant experience.
You can find yourself sitting on a plastic stool or sitting on the dirty curb with the exception of food courts.
Without the need to pay rent or hire staff, street food vendors can offer quality food at a better price.
The cook focuses on serving great food for the lowest price possible, instead of wasting time and energy on the atmosphere.
Asian street food is often cheaper than similar offerings in restaurants, even if you don’t have a comfortable place to sit.
If you don’t want to spend a lot on a single dish, you can try several local specialties without breaking your budget.
Is Asian Street Food Safe?
Don’t fear Asian street food if you haven’t eaten it before.
The sight of raw meat by the side of the road can seem daunting to the uninitiated, but sholders often feed their friends, family and themselves from the same cart, they don’t want to make anyone sick.
Unlike the food cooked in dirty restaurant kitchens, your cook prepares the meal in front of you.
In places like Penang, Malaysia, bad or dangerous food would not last long.
Competition is fierce.
The best way to ensure a safe street food experience in Asia is to choose carts that have a high turnover.
Tips for Enjoying Street Food of Asia
- This is a good sign that the food is fresh and that the carts are busy.
- No one knows better where to get good food than the local residents.
- If you want to get away from the tourist strip, you should. If you go a street or two away from the main tourist drag, you can get better food from more experienced cooks who care more about their customers.
- The best place to break a big banknote is in a hialer cart.
- Leave the can or bottle in the cart if you buy a drink. Lots of street food vendors take advantage of the return on bottles and cans in Asia. Responsible travel is something to learn.
- Cooks will often leave out an ingredient that they do not like in order to increase their profit margin.