I was thoroughly confused. I had been doing my due diligence on the internet with regards to street food in Thailand and have come to no conclusive stance one way or there other as to whether eating it posed a threat to out lives or not.
I had heard and read many different opinions about whether eating street food in Thailand is safe, ranging from “yes, eat whatever floats your boat” to “do not eat street food for any reason for fear of threat to your life and wellbeing”. These were opinions both from internet sources and forums as well as friends who travel there frequently (they told me to stick to restaurants only.)
Being budget travelers who are not very good at following advice, we ate the street food anyway. We just couldn’t resist the plethora of yummy options available to us, especially at the street and night markets.
The result? Mixed…Aaron and I ate the exact same things. I was fine, he had a mild case of the runs for about 4 days. The good news for anyone planning a trip to Thailand was that after talking with many people who had been traveling around Thailand, Laos and Cambodia for a while, the mild to moderate diarrhea was the most severe symptom that anyone seemed able to report to having had.
Some tips for street food in Thailand if you are worried:
- Eat where you see other people eating. It will be obvious when you find a street cart that has other local people eating there. That is a safe place to eat.
- Trying street food in a busy market is a good idea, because of the high volume of people you can be assured that the food hasn’t been sitting for very long.
- Bring Imodium and Pepto Bismol tablets if you are worried. We took a Pepto tablet before eating (on the advice of Aaron’s mother who travels to Mexico a lot) and Aaron ended up dipping into the Imodium when he actually got sick. The active ingredient in Pepto Bismol can actually help to coat your stomach and kill the bacteria (if there are any) as they enter.Here is our Thailand Street Food Recap in photos: