Thai Street Food: Gorgeous or Gut rot? Culinary revelation or dysentry on a stick?

Those of you who have travelled in Asia will be aware of the vast array of "street food" that is on offer.

By "street food", I mean food that is served in a non-restaurant setting, normally from roadside stalls, people's homes, market-places, shacks and even from the back of motorcycles.

Street food usually appeals to locals because there is a huge range of food available and the prices are generally very reasonable.

Street dining is becoming increasingly popular, even amongst celebrity chefs, like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey, who have made TV programmes extolling the virtues of Asian street cuisine.


As a result, more and more foreign tourists are being seduced by the allure of eating exotic foreign fare for a fraction of the price that is charged in their home countries.

But be warned....... eating street food is a double-edged sword ...... you are playing Russian-roulette with your health....... as psychologists might say it's "risk and reward".

The reward being some of the most delicious food you have ever tasted....the risk being chronic delhi-belly and a trip to the local hospital or even death!!! And that's no exaggeration by the way.

For those coming from Western countries it is important to be aware that levels of hygiene (hand-washing, nose-picking, arse/hair-scratching, food storage and prepration etc) are well-below our own standards and health & safety regulations are virtually non-existant.

However, street food gives you a better understanding and appreciation of the country you are in and gives you an insight into the mindset and culture of the local popultion.

Whilst there is no guaranteed or foolproof way to avoid food poisoning, there are some practical, common sense tips that I can offer. Before choosing to eat at a particular location ask yourself the following questions...........

Is the stall and surrounding area clean and free from rubbish, stray animals etc?
Is the food covered or open to flies and other insects?
Are the vendors cooking utensils and implements clean?
Where are they washing their dishes?
What method are they using to cook the food?
Is the food prepared to order or has it been pre-cooked?
What about the vendors personal hygiene?
Are there lots of other customers? 

Once you have asked yourself these questions then it is up to you whether you want to take the risk. I bear no responsibility for the choices you make!!!

I have been living in Thailand  for over 7 years and only once have I experienced food poisoning, so I hope this post gives you all something to think about. 


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