Safety of street vendors; cheap food in SE Asia?

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Safety of street vendors; cheap food in SE Asia?

Postby caitlinjn » Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:13 am

Hi,
I'm going on an Indochina Encompassed tour through Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in December/January. I don't have much spare money and it sounds like meals can be bought pretty cheaply throughout SE Asia (i.e. only a couple of dollars for a decent-sized meal).
Does anyone have any tips on how to tell which places are safe to buy from? I've heard that watching to see if locals are eating there is always a good indication.
Thanks,
Caitlin
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Re: Safety of street vendors; cheap food in SE Asia?

Postby desiree2 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:00 am

Hi
It can be really hard to tell - and let's face it, food poisoning can happen in any country. I'm not an 'adventurous' eater by any stretch, but I've also eaten in a few fairly dodgy places and managed to survive unscathed. :)
Nothing is foolproof, but if the place has lots of people, at least you can be assured that turnover should be pretty high, so nothing has been sitting there since last Tuesday. If you think the food looks OK, smells OK and tastes OK, then that's about all you can do.
I've often been surprised at what I've enjoyed while overseas. I don't enjoy curries and don't really eat seafood, but I had the most delicious fish curry in Myanmar. I'm also determined to try fried grasshoppers next time I'm in Thailand. :lol:
Enjoy your holiday, you're going to some amazing countries!
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Re: Safety of street vendors; cheap food in SE Asia?

Postby kateyb » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:52 am

I have eaten at street vendors in all those countries and never got sick. There were a few days in Vietnam that my stomach was a little upset but we were also really off the beaten track where there were no other tourists that we saw and I ate a lot of unknown foods. My upset stomach could have been from foreign food and not because it was unsanitary.

I also dont have a sensitive stomach, so what doesnt make me sick, may make you. Go where the carts seem busy. In Thailand, I loved the breakfasts on the street...I had no idea what I was ordering, I just pointed to things that looked good. It was delicious. Carry pepto bismal or any other stomach remedy with you just in case!
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Re: Safety of street vendors; cheap food in SE Asia?

Postby caitlinjn » Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:45 am

Thanks for the advice :)
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Re: Safety of street vendors; cheap food in SE Asia?

Postby sinecure » Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:01 pm

Another good source of information is the hotel front desk as that is most likely where they eat, since restaurants are expensive.

Sticking to foods that are hot like Pho or deep fried in front of you reduce your chances of getting sick.
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Re: Safety of street vendors; cheap food in SE Asia?

Postby tesla » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:54 pm

Hi Caitlin, just got curious since I'm doing the same trip. What is your 'starting date' in december? :)
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Re: Safety of street vendors; cheap food in SE Asia?

Postby Mikeyt » Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:28 pm

Ya, I've never had any issues with street food. Though, I do like to be a bit adventerous in my food choices. But, a guide once told me, "While the food may be safe to eat, your stomach may not be use to it. " Hence, I was gonna try some scorpion while in China but decided against it. Staying in the hotel with a sick stomach vs the Great wall. Well, easy choice. ;)
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