Travel Questions: Should You Eat Street Food?
Why You Should Eat Street Food On Your Next Trip
One of the first things people ask a traveler is “Did you eat any good food!?” so you need to know: Should you eat street food?
Travelers want to experience every part of the culture as possible. However, it is true that in North America and other Western countries that our over sanitized culture has taught us that eating street food is bad. However, in other countries the food is often made with the freshest ingredients and even better- the food is made right in front of you! So if you observe and don’t feel safe there is probably another vendor right down the street. As our travel team hits the streets of any new city, we immediately look for the street food to fill our hungry stomachs. Here are some reasons why you should eat street food on your next trip.
Travel Answers: You Should Eat Street Food!
Its Inexpensive! (so you can spend your money on other things)
Street food is by far the cheapest option when traveling. Sure you can go to the grocery store, buy the ingredients, and recreate the food (in some cases), but you don’t always have that luxury when traveling. If you’re on a tight budget you can spend less than a few dollars on a whole meal. This means you can spend more when traveling! You also won’t have to worry about dirtying dishes and cleaning a kitchen. Just eat and keep seeing the sights!
Support Local Businesses
When you give your money to the local making and selling frites and moules in Brussels you are putting your money in the fresh ingredients that they had to get from the local farmers, that pay for their family to live in the place that you are taking a vacation in. Think about it that way! Selling street food for some people is what keeps them from being unemployed. There are millions of dollars each day being spent on street food, and continuing to do so will continue the local agricultural production. Local farmers can then sell their produce and their products to local people instead of pumping it with pesticides to allow for long international shipping.
Experience the Culture
It’s not like restaurant food that is dressed up and steered completely away from what the the original concept was. This is food that the local men and women eat too! There’s nothing that brings people together like food does, so allow the locals to show you this window into their culture! Be adventurous and strike up conversation with those eating around you. Many times the locals will be just as curious about you as you are about their cuisine.
It’s not ALL Unhealthy
Typically food stands are famous for their marinated chicken and fried concoctions, but there are healthy options as well! A lot of the time stands use the freshest vegetables (so you can always opt out for the meat). For example, in South India you can choose to have the Uthapas which is primarily made with rice and urad dal which is topped with veggies like onions and tomatoes! So making the choice for Uthapas instead of the infamous Pattice which is deep fried starch and carbs is possible. It’s all about your choices.
It is good to remember that eating street food, like trying many other foreign dishes can make you sick. The local people have built up a bacterial tolerance and immunity which prevents them from reacting the way some travelers stomach’s may react. So definitely be open to trying new dishes, but stay away from ice cubes you in drink seeing as they might be cheaply made with the tap water that your body cannot handle.
Passport & Visa Tips
Remember that all foreign nations require travelers to hold a valid passport and visa when applicable. A valid U.S. Passport is good for 10 years for adults 16 and older. A minor passport is issued to Americans 15 and younger and is only valid for 5 years. A visa is usually a stamp or sticker that a foreign nation issues to travelers. The visa will have terms of how long you are welcome to travel that country. Many countries have flexible visas-on-arrival for U.S. travelers. However, some may require a visa application in advance. Please make sure you contact the embassy or consulate before you travel to determine if a visa is required.