Southeast Asia forum

Eating street food in South Asia.

  • Agee

    Joined Travelfish
    27th September, 2013
    Posts: 8

    Hi,

    What about food? Is it safe to eat street food in SouthAsia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam)? I'm asking in particular about allthose insects, spiders, snakes etc...after all most of them are friedwith guts eggs and excrement... We've heard that eating fishes in Bangkokis not such a good idea as some of them are caught in river channels andcan have various bacteria and parasites? We have following vaccines:HepatitisA and B, Typhoid fever, Polio, Tetanus
    What about fresh fruits? Is there anythingthat should be avoided by person from Europe?

    Thanks for help!
    Agee.

    #1 Posted: 24/10/2013 - 10:30

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  • Geer1

    Joined Travelfish
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    You probably shouldn't eat anything if you want to live a boring life and not have to worry about possibly getting sick.

    Or you can live a little and know there is a very small chance that you may get sick and that even if you do it will likely be minor and pass within a day or two.

    Imo and as Andrew Zimmern says, if it looks good eat it.

    #2 Posted: 24/10/2013 - 11:14

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    Eating street food in SE Asia doesn't have to equate to consuming spiders, snakes and the like. I have eaten a lot of street food in Asia and never once did I (knowingly) eat any of those items.

    From my experience, street food will typically consist of chicken skewers, fresh spring rolls, corn on the cob, noodles, meat and salad sandwiches and many more types of things. I guess street food is what you make it, a lot of people would never go near it - I personally thought it was the best way to eat over there - cheap, tasty and prepared by people who seemed in the know. Nor is there any reason to suspect that the food quality will be compromised, it is often quite the contrary as it is freshly prepared right in front of you so no funny business 'out back' and a high turnover of customers should further ensure freshness.

    I reckon you should only go to places that are busy and seem to be at least partially frequented by locals. Running water is probably also a good thing.

    #3 Posted: 24/10/2013 - 11:14

  • Agee

    Joined Travelfish
    27th September, 2013
    Posts: 8

    The thing is, that I really want to try a spider/insects.

    What's more, I'm wondering if any of you tried fruits and didn't end with diarrhea. If answer is yes, that's mean I'm safe.

    #4 Posted: 24/10/2013 - 12:46

  • antoniamitc-
    hell

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    Well, I never tried spiders but I figure it can't be too different from soft-shell crabs.

    You're doctor will probably drill into you the "don't eat any fruit you haven't peeled yourself" mantra, but for me? That rule went out the window the second I got on the plane. I ate fruit all over the place and never got sick.

    Sure, you could be unlucky.... but you hopefully won't.

    #5 Posted: 24/10/2013 - 12:54

  • Geer1

    Joined Travelfish
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    Seriously man... The chances of getting sick from eating a fruit anywhere in the world is like 1 in a million... Doesn't matter if you are in Thailand etc. If anything a lot of their fruit is healthier because they use less pesticides etc on them.

    Just relax, stop worrying and go have fun. If you really want to be on the safe side take some travellers diarrhoea pills with you just in case.

    #6 Posted: 24/10/2013 - 18:30

  • antoniamitc-
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    Click here to learn more about antoniamitchell
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    Sorry, that should be "your doctor" in my post above - so embarrassed!

    #7 Posted: 25/10/2013 - 00:47

  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 944
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    Just use a little common sense - would you eat from a dirty establishment at home? One cannot generalize about this subject. I have seen cleaner street stalls than some fancy/expensive restaurants, and you're not really experiencing Asia unless you try different things. If your attitude about Asia is just about the creepy crawlies, maybe you should stick to plane-jane and sterile environments instead?

    #8 Posted: 25/10/2013 - 11:09

  • Agee

    Joined Travelfish
    27th September, 2013
    Posts: 8

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for your ideas! We've met some problems in Egypt, especially with water fruits (watermelon, melon) that's why I'm asking for details.

    Cheers,
    Agee.

    #9 Posted: 25/10/2013 - 14:33

  • amnicoll

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
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    I have eat street food all over SE Asia and still do. Generally it is safe (and indeed safer than eating western food) but there is always the chance you may be unlucky. Avoid things like oysters and mussels (especially inland) and raw meat but generally anything that is being cooked in front of you should be OK.

    have eaten dog, snakes and spiders many times knowingly with no ill effects but often I have no idea what I am eating at the time but so what

    #10 Posted: 26/10/2013 - 05:54

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  • christa213

    Joined Travelfish
    19th August, 2014
    Posts: 4

    hello! don't try eating this kind of street food since it is unsafe to it plus you don't know where it came from. That's my best advice for you

    #11 Posted: 8/9/2014 - 10:53

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6349
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    I don't have the fascination with street food that a lot of tourists do, but God knows I've eaten enough of it - it's cheap. I've gotten sick a bit a few times from it, but no biggy. I'm not eating the insects, which I consider revolting, but my daughter loves 'em, and they don't seem to make her sick.

    #12 Posted: 8/9/2014 - 12:57

  • nikitushu

    Joined Travelfish
    29th September, 2014
    Posts: 3

    It's quite dangerous to eat food in street of these countries. I would go to the cafe or maybe to the cheap restaurant)

    #13 Posted: 29/9/2014 - 12:26

  • amnicoll

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
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    sorry Niktushu I disagree with you especially for Thailand but also the other countries

    #14 Posted: 30/9/2014 - 05:37

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "Quite dangerous"???? You must have a very low bar for the definition of dangerous.

    #15 Posted: 1/10/2014 - 04:18

  • stockbrokers

    Joined Travelfish
    30th September, 2014
    Posts: 7

    spiders are delicious, dont eat scorpion, it tastes like plastic toys

    #16 Posted: 2/10/2014 - 22:49

  • amnicoll

    Joined Travelfish
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    In my experience the things they add to the oil that they are fried in makes a difference - esp garlic and chilli

    #17 Posted: 3/10/2014 - 06:28

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "In my experience the things they add to the oil that they are fried in makes a difference - esp garlic and chilli"


    My daughter: "Papa, you want some fried bugs?"


    Me: "No baby. I don't eat insects. They're dirty."


    Daughter: "But Papa, grass hoppers taste good. Spiders taste good."


    Me: "Hey sewer rat might taste like pumpkin pie, but I wouldn't know because I won't eat the filthy ************."

    #18 Posted: 3/10/2014 - 11:49

  • antoniamitc-
    hell

    Click here to learn more about antoniamitchell
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    Thank you, Jules.

    #19 Posted: 3/10/2014 - 12:19

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6349
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    Your welcome Vincent.

    #20 Posted: 3/10/2014 - 12:38

  • amnicoll

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
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    madmac - Perhaps I should lunch with your daughter!!

    #21 Posted: 4/10/2014 - 04:51

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6349
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    She might look like a little white girl, but her palate is Thai / issan. She'll eat things that would make a billy goat puke.

    #22 Posted: 4/10/2014 - 23:32

  • amnicoll

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
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    Sounds like the ideal dining companion especially if she speaks Thai and can order for me. Would the billy goat be on the menu as well?

    #23 Posted: 5/10/2014 - 07:01

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6349
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    She is fun to travel with actually. She loves to ride with me. Thai is her first language, but she's fluent in English as that is the language we speak at home (most of the time). And of course she speaks Lao... not surprising given where we live. It's funny when we go to a restaurant where we are not known.

    #24 Posted: 5/10/2014 - 07:33

  • amnicoll

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 263
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    Children who love their food are always a delight especially if you are catering for them when they visit or eating out with them

    #25 Posted: 5/10/2014 - 07:44

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6349
    Total reviews: 10

    We were riding to my father in laws one time and the place we usually stop at in Laung Nok Tha was closed. It was a hot day and we were both thirsty and hungry, in that order. So we drove on a little ways and finally just decided to stop at the first road side place we saw. It was just a shack with an old lady cooking. We got off the bike and I could see it in her eyes - this look like "Oh God, how do i talk to these people?" She says tentatively in Thai "Do you speak Thai?" And my daughter answers in Thai: I can speak Thai. I can speak Laos. I can speak English. I can speak German." The lady says "OK, OK". She was a sweet lady. She didn't have what I wanted and hoped on her motorcycle and went to a place that did and brought it back for me. I gave her a 50 baht tip on top of the charge for the effort.

    #26 Posted: 5/10/2014 - 13:34

  • amnicoll

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 263
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    Lovely

    Even the minimal Thai I speak brings great rewards but I can just imagine the reaction of the old woman to a "farang" little girl speaking Thai (and other languages)

    #27 Posted: 6/10/2014 - 05:05

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6349
    Total reviews: 10

    Yeah, it can be funny.

    #28 Posted: 6/10/2014 - 09:50

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