Reasons to Avoid Street Foods

Food Truck Fried Chicken
Baskets of chicken tenders. (Image: tigerrulezzz/iStock/Getty Images)

Street foods from carts or trucks can be found in many urban areas all over the world. People who eat street food are often drawn to the low price, the short wait for food and the sheer variety of food available from different vendors. Eating street food is also a way to support small business, as many vendors are individuals, families or small companies. However, there are some drawbacks to eating street food.

Food May Sit Around

Depending on how busy a street food vendor is, food may be sitting around for a while before you come along and buy it. This may mean that food that is supposed to be either hot or cold is not at the proper temperature and could attract flies and other pests. When choosing street food, look for carts that are busy, as this likely means that the food is good and that there is high food turnover.

Gastrointestinal Infection

You may be exposed to the germs that causes gastrointestinal infections by eating street food. This type of infection causes diarrhea or vomiting. Although gastrointestinal infections are usually not serious in healthy adults, young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems may face more serious problems.

Hard to Eat on the Go

While some standard street-food fare is easily portable, like hot dogs, pretzels or nuts, some foods are better eaten sitting down. In some urban areas, ambitious food vendors sell steaks, quiche or crepes from their carts or trucks. While these foods may be tasty, they aren't necessarily easy to walk and eat at the same time, which is one of the benefits of this style of eating.

Expensive

The cost of street food can vary widely. If you enjoy a slice of quiche, you may end up paying nearly the same as you would in a restaurant. Beverages may also be much more expensive from a street vendor. If you can wait, it will probably cost less at a supermarket or convenience store to grab a can of soda.

Staying Safe

Before buying street food, take the time to check out the sanitary conditions of vending site. For example, does the vendor wears gloves or have someplace to wash his hands and utensils? Notice whether food is sitting out and if it is kept at an appropriate temperature. For example, if egg salad sandwiches are sitting out on a counter, unrefrigerated, pass that vendor by. If you are traveling in a foreign country and are unsure about the rules governing street food or the safety of the water, don't buy fruit juice or water that is not in a can or sealed bottle.

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