Pros and Cons of Street Food

Pros and Cons of Street Food

Street food, especially Indian street food, has it’s own pros and cons and whether or not it benefits or harms you depends on the frequency or manner in which you consume it. While an occasional treat of street food could do a lot to satisfy your food cravings, constant gorging can lead to potential health issues. Apart from the direct or indirect health risks it can pose at times, street food carts, trucks and stalls can contribute pre-existing issues in the area of their business. We point out the various pros and cons of eating street food.

Pros or advantages of eating Street Food

1. Street food is readily available food to satisfy your hunger.

In this fast paced and busy corporate life, many suffer from hunger (not able to eat breakfast or lunch) owing to lack of time or a helping hand to prepare food. Many rush off to their offices without breakfast and there is no need telling what an empty stomach can do to your day. Street food comes as a savior for all such hungry people by providing them with ready to eat morning snacks or breakfast to start their day with a calm mind.

2. Street food is easy on the pockets

Street food is cheap and hence, easy on the pocket in regular markets. It doesn’t cost much to have enough on your plate to satiate your hunger. Most of the street food offerings are cheap compared to anywhere in the food industry. It is even cheaper than fast food that is so much a choice of many junk foodies around the world. So, you can fully satiate your taste buds and hunger at throwaway prices.

3. You can see what is being cooked at street food carts or trucks

Eating at a street food cart or truck allows you to see what you are about to eat, something you can’t always do at restaurants. You get to see the ingredients, the surroundings and conditions the food is being cooked in, the hygiene and expertise of the cook or chef and the overall cleanliness. So you get to decide whether or not you would like eating at such a place. That allows you to whether eat at a particular street food cart or skip it completely.

4. Waiting time at street food carts is less as compared to restaurants

In a majority of cases, street food doesn’t take long to be served as it gets cooked on a continuous basis and prepared well in advance. The thing is that street food vendors know their daily outgo and the number and kind of people or foodies who throng their food carts. Also, there are a number of food carts or stalls in such places distributing the number of hungry people evenly.

Also read: Street food: 8 Things to take care of

5. A sense of pride in helping local businesses

Eating at street food stalls is a very effective way to help locals sustain in the market, feed their families and return helo others like them. When you eat at a street food stall, you are filled up with a sense of pride for having helped and individual and a family in an honorable way.

6. Street food is a style and life statement

You many not be aware but street food is a style statement of many, young and old, who express their their freedom by eating what they like and where they like. They bluntly favour street food irrespective of their financial backgrounds to pass on a simple message to those who present an unrealitic picture of what a good life and good foos is all about. To be frank, they are food revolutionaries who, in their small ways, impress the thought that there is pure joy in eating food prepared by common people on the street, and in the company of like minded people, who care less about the grades and ‘so-called’ quality of life. For them, street food is the life they live together with people like them who are in the same facing the same struggles in life.

Cons or disadvantages of eating Street Food

1. Street food quality can be questionable

The quality of food available at street food carts or trucks may not necessarily be always be bad but little below average quality norms. Why? Well, in a bid to keep the costs and the selling prices low, street food vendors tend to compromise on the quality of the ingredients they use for cooking that can include vegetable and groceries and even the oil being used.

2. Street food can be related to health issues in many cases

Many researches and case studies have linked street food to health issues. It is proved that the impact of eating street food on a regular basis and sometimes even once in a week, can have a significant impact on your health. The level of sugar, fat and salt found in most of the street food items are more dangerous than those found anywhere else. So apart from bouts of food poisoning and other gastric issues, street food can lead to severe health complications if they become a daily habit accompanied by a lack of exercise.

3. Street food vendors end up spreading garbage and filth increasing the risk of germs and bacteria

You must be well aware that street food vendors don’t have a proper garbage disposal system and in most of the cases, the waste is collected and thrown away in close distances like pavements or street corners. While some of them get cleared up by the civic administration, some spots get neglected and over time, become major diseases spreading spots of the area. As a result these spots get infested with pests and flies that further increase the chances of infecting the very food that these vendors sell and people eat.

4. Street food carts and stalls may lead to traffic issues in already crowded places

Now this may not be directly related to people eating at street food joints but nevertheless a point worth mentioning. As street food carts or stalls are mostly located in business centric areas, being thronged by office or college goers or simply foodies, they tend to increase the crowd around them further adding to the traffic problems in the area. The more people eat at such food joints, the more crowded the places get and the more traffic snarls the area faces. So eating at street food joints also contributes to the traffic problems of places.

5. Street food could become a daily habit

It would sound funny, but many street food lovers develop a strange obsession with it and end up avoiding home made food completely. Though it many not harm them if they have the money and the appetite but in cases where they lack both, it can have a negative impact. Also, like pointed out earlier, the quality of street food can be questionable at times and people may end up ruining their health over time.

6. Some people may get addicted to some street food

Street food can be addictive sometimes and people may get really addicted to one or more types of street food items that they have been eating for a long time. While this addiction to street food may not sound alarming, it may turn into a depressing event if any particular favourite street food items is not available at times.

Advantages and Disadvantages of eating Street Food in short

Advantages of eating street food

  • Street food is readily available food to satisfy your hunger.
  • Street food is easy on the pockets
  • You can see what is being cooked at street food carts or trucks
  • Waiting time at street food carts is less as compared to restaurants

Disadvantages of eating Street Food

  • Street food quality can be questionable
  • Street food can be related to health issues in many cases
  • Street food vendors end up spreading garbage and filth increasing the risk of germs and bacteria
  • Street food carts and stalls may lead to traffic issues in already crowded places

So should we eat street food and is street food healthy?

We can and should eat Street food cooked using quality food materials, in hygienic conditions and in good surroundings as it is as good as home cooked food at times. The ‘health’ factor in street food is again dependent on the quality of materials used and the overall hygiene maintained at the stall and also the personal hygiene of the street food vendor. To be precise, street food is healty when it is cooked healthy with healthy ingredients and materials and by a healthy cook.

How frequently should we eat street food?

Street food should be eaten less frequently and in lesser quantities. Avoid over eating street food items or getting addicted to them.

Eating street food however, may differ from person to person as some people eat for the love of street food while others eat beacuse they have to.

Many office goers and collegians (youngsters) eat street food on a daily basis as they have no options to satisfy their hunger. For such people the frequency of eating street food on a regular basis is a necessity.

As far as possible eat street food less frequently if you have food available at home.

Working peoplePeople never from carts and stalls that are located in dirty or filthy surroundings and run by untidy vendors who pay no attention to the quality of the food and the overall cleanliness of the place, apart from the health of those who eat at their stalls. Street food should be affordable but not at the expense of it’s quality. Anything else is just junk and should be avoided.

Handy tips for enjoying street food safely anywhere in the world

You can eat street food safely by simply following these tips:

  • Eat at food stalls crowded by locals, as they know which ones are the best in the area, and the more the number of people the higher the possibility of freshly cooked dishes. 
  • When eating at a less crowded food stall, check for the overall cleanliness of the stall, the utensils, ingredients, immediate vicinity, and the personal hygiene of the vendor. Skip if you find any of these unbearable.
  • Eat dishes cooked on the spot, right in front of you. Skip dishes that are on display.
  • Avoid eating raw dishes, whether vegetable, meat or fish at street food stalls as they are highly likely to upset your stomach.
  • Be very specific about consuming water and make sure you carry along bottle water, or buy bottled water. Unlike western countries, many countries around the world have an unorganised water treatment and supply system, and hence tap water could be harmful.
  • Always take baby-portions when trying new cuisines to give time to your gut to settle down. In a majority of cases you will immediately sense if a particular food is right for you or not – then go with the gut feeling. No loss in missing a few dishes!
  • Remember your food allergies, if any, and check beforehand about the main ingredients used in a new dish you have never eaten in your life. If you have any allergies then make sure to create short notes in the local language to let the vendor or cook know that you are allergic to certain ingredients. 
  • Always carry a small health essential kit having a hand sanitiser, wet wipes, digestive supplements like probiotics and other medicines if any.
  • Balance your drinks and food wisely for a whole lot of reasons – as you are eating a new dish all together and would not want your stomach to be burdened with the exploits of alcohol too. 
  • If any of the above pointers look daunting then simply socialise and ask locals to guide you to the safest and tastiest of street food stalls in their localities – they will be more than happy to walk you up to such places and some may even give you a welcome treat!

Read more on this here: Eating street food safely: Precautions and handy tips for travellers

For more such articles click on LocalPress/Food

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by lp@admin

Post Author: lp@admin

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