Arm-chair epidemiologist and so-called Pok Pok kingpin Andy Ricker, paraphrased in The Braiser, says don’t dismiss tasty street food in strange and foreign lands just because you’re afraid you might get sick.
His main tip, when traveling and wanting to try out local fare, is to stick to places where there are more locals than tourists, and to look for places that stay busy. “When a spot is busy, the food doesn’t sit around as much,” he told Fodor’s.
Ricker also says it’s just as easy to get sick from eating in sit-down establishments as it is to contract a nasty stomach bug from street food:
“…There is no way to tell how you got food poisoning unless you don’t eat anything for 24 hours and then eat something and then don’t eat anything for another 24 hours and then get a test. Because you can get gastroenteritis (or whatever) by touching something and then touching your upper lip without even knowing about it…and then you blame whatever you ate earlier that day. But you really don’t know. I believe that it is probable that I have gotten as sick from eating in a hotel as I have from eating in the street.”