ASK ME! Food safety Street food Travel

ASK ME! street food safety

• I traveled to Southeast Asia for the first time, and was tempted to buy food from the ubiquitous streetside vendors, but didn’t know if it would be safe. How safe is the noodle soup and satay at the side of the road? – Jenny, Morgan Hill, CA

Well, here in Thailand we can tell the best food stalls by the little “clean food” signs the government gives to those that pass inspection. HA! What a joke! We’ve had a lot of “Chiang Mai gut” after eating at those restaurants. We stopped going to such a place up the road called “Good Food” after I found a layer of blue-green mold in the communal chili-paste bowl (put on every table in Thailand).

Jerry and I get these sorts of questions all the time. Almost everyone gets sick to some extent on an initial trip to Asia, and a grumpy gut is always a risk to people living here. But over time, the stomach grows stronger and the immune system builds itself up so the body can fight off all the nasties. I say: Suck it up. Prepare to get sick once or twice, and live to enjoy the food around you. If you travel to Asia and don’t eat street food, you haven’t really traveled to Asia. You haven’t experienced food the way locals do.

You can also take advantage of the natural remedies available to you in tropical countries. Ginger is fantastic for relieving stomach aches and pains, and so is chili (though many people think the opposite). Other foods that are good on the gut: cumin, garlic, galangal, shallots, lemongrass, basil and turmeric. Among the numerous benefits of sesame, the seeds are used to get rid of intestinal worms.

2 replies on “ASK ME! street food safety”

Hello! I will be travelling to Chiang Mai for the first time next week and I am so excited to see a bit of northern Thailand. I was wondering if you could recommend any restaurants in the city. I am all about the street food and I usually go for it when I travel, but it is nice to sit down and enjoy a good, home-made kind of meal that locals appreciate. Any suggestions would be really appreciated. On another note, I really enjoy reading your entries. I think it’s great that you take the time out to try and make others aware about situations that are going on in SE Asia, especially when they are related to food. Thanks.

Hi Maria,
Thanks for the comments, and for reading. Check back in awhile  and I should have some Chiang Mai recommendations posted. Enjoy your travels.

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