5 Reasons Why Eating Street Food is a Must!
We know that some of you imagine eating international street food as partaking in a Russian roulette game of hep and dysentery, but honestly this is the best way to try great local favorites. This doesn’t mean that all street food is created equal or that you shouldn’t be cautious about your tum-fillery.
If you use some common sense, you may just find the best eats you’ve ever had! If we had been too wary, we never would have had fresh fruit smoothies and deep fried chicken skin (OK that is not for everyone) in Thailand, amazing tacos, homemade tamales and pozole soup sold on a front porch in Mexico, papa rellenos in Colombia….we could literally go on and on for pages here.
Below are the 5 reasons why we feel that everyone travelling should consider street food as a viable option.
Street food easy on the budget:
Not only is street food taste-bud friendly, but it can be really budget friendly too. In much of the world a person can spend $3-$5 US per day eating only street food. We aren’t extreme budgeters but depending on the location we tend to indulge once or twice per day.
You get to eat with and meet locals
Why travel if you are going to hang out with other tourists in a restaurant eating the same food you would eat at home? Sharing a plastic table on the side of the road with a local family or chatting with the food vendor are amazing ways to meet local folks. These have truly been some of our best travel moments in which we have met the coolest people. Bonus point: you get to support the local economy and families rather than big chains and hotel conglomerate restaurants.
You can watch your food being prepared
When you eat at a restaurant it can look clean and inviting but there is no telling what kind of shit show exists beyond those kitchen doors. By choosing street food you get the added benefit of watching your food being prepared right in front of your salivating face. You will see how the ingredients are being stored and how it is cooked. If something is looking too dodgy just say no thanks and head to the next stall. FYI- don’t expect gloved hands!
You get variety
Often street food vendors are found in groups either in a market setting or on a particular block of a city. If you are traveling with multiple people there will inevitably be a mix of vegans, vegetarians, carnivores and “whateveratarians” all trying to eat together. Anyone that has tried this knows that the struggle is real. Why not divide and conquer the stalls and meet back at a plastic table to devour your fares?
You are getting freshly prepared food
As discussed above, often street food is prepared for you fresh as you wait. Obviously this is a great way to ensure that your food hasn’t been sitting under a heat lamp for hours. There are times when the food is already prepared (especially baked items). In that case a good rule of thumb is to purchase from a busy vendor with a high turnover. On that note, if a vendor is busy, it’s probably for a reason, so get in line and see what’s cooking, on the contrary, wait around to see if a stall with no customers sees any action (avoid if locals opt for other vendors).
In case you’re wondering, neither of us has gotten really sick from eating street food and we eat it a LOT! By really sick we mean food poisoning, though we may have had some “I need a bathroom STAT!” moments. We have however had food poisoning from restaurants in our home country so is it all that risky?
We hope that some of this insight has you reconsidering the street food option. Chances are you’ll love it as much as we do.
If you have any questions or want to comment on anything about this post, please do so below. Thanks for checking us out. Ciao for now!