People seem to be afraid of street food, they mistrust it, it seems, yet for us it’s one of the best ways of really getting into local cuisine and one of the essentials of travel and of really experiencing a country. Remember, a large percentage of food poisoning comes from either the utensils or your own hands, rather than from the food itself, so restaurants where the kitchen is hidden can’t by definition be any safer than street food where everything is on view. And street food can be fabulous for several reasons: fresh food, genuinely indigenous cuisine, authentic recipes, the “real” food experience, plus of course, it’s cheap! Usually. So get over yourself and get brave, go and try it, and stay safe by following these basic rules.
Watch before you dive in. Avoid re-heated food or food being kept warm after cooking. Select a vendor cooking from fresh.
Aim for the exposed areas; sellers next to the market, or the mosque, or the main square, will turn over stock more quickly than a seller by a main road, for instance.
Always take your hand wipes; your hands might be your enemy, clean them before handling food.
Keep cutlery use to a minimum, it’s better to use clean hands if you can.
And best tip of all, join the longest queue. If it’s both authentic AND the locals love it, it’s going to be good.