Street food in South East Asia is probably one of our best discoveries in life. Our first Asian street food experience was the famous Banh Mi in Vietnam back in 2017. Since then we have munched our way around Asian street food vendors. Curries, stir-fries, dumplings, meat-skewers, noodle soup, we have dined at 100’s of food stalls all around Asia, but what do you need to know before you eat street food?
Street food is the best value for money
Street food in South East Asia is renowned for being super cheap. A meal can cost less that a euro, dollar (or what ever your currency is…). In Thailand (where we are currently living) 30 baht (less that 1euro and 1 US dollar) will get you a good meal. Stir-fries, curries and soups are common and you usually can choose your meat ie. prawns, beef, chicken, pork.
You need to be selective
You do need to be selective about the food vendor your choose. We recommend opting for the vendor actively cooking and preparing meals and not those who’s food is sitting out pre prepared. It is good to know how your food has been prepared and it is reassuring knowing that it has not been sitting around for too long exposed to insects.
Don’t drink the water
This is a general rule in many countries around the world. In South East Asia do not consume tap water. When in a restaurant or at a street food stall only consume bottled water! The tap water can carry many harmful bacterias that can make you very sick.
Only eat cooked food
Avoiding eating raw vegetables and salads is a good call if you want to avoid food poisoning. The raw vegetables, salad leaves and freshly chopped fruit has most likely been washed in tap water. Once food has been cooked the bacteria that may cause illness will have been killed and your risk of becoming sick be reduced.
Eat at your own risk
Upset stomachs and food position comes hand in hand with traveling in South East Asia. We are all to familiar with sleepless nights and churning tummies. When traveling you are exposed to new bacterias that your body will respond negatively too. In South East Asia they do not have the same regulations and guidelines in terms of food preparation as we do in the Western world.
Keep an Open Mind
Food is the best way to experience a new culture. When you are traveling you have to keep an open mind and this rule also applies when it comes to food. Food in South East Asia may be very different to what you are used to at home. Some food stalls look and smell amazing and others….well not so much. Try everything once!
Street food is the best food
Street food is truly the best food in South East Asia. It is at local food markets where you will find the best value for money and the most authentic local cuisine. Avoid those over priced tourist restaurants selling ‘authentic Pad Thai’ and head straight to the local market for the real thing!
Share you experience of Asian street food in the comments below. Do you love it or hate it? What is the weirdest or most unusual thing you have tried? Let us know!
4 thoughts on “Street Food in South East Asia – What You Need to Know”
I learned my lesson on avoiding food sitting out too long. I got really sick from huge shrimp in Thailand ..looked amazing…took me three days to recover from food poisoning.
We have been in the same situation too!! Lesson learned 😂
great tips. Never eat salad I say!
Super pics but you are right, you really have to be OVERLY cautious about what to eat for a myriad of reasons. Getting sick in another country in no fun, and can be very challenging to find proper care if needed.