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15 Things to Watch out for before Gorging on Indian Street Food

Eating street food in India can be a very delightful and exciting experience due to the assortment and taste of foods. Only, some precautions and ideas are to be noted before going street hunting.

November 7, 2016: The original taste of Indian cuisine is not found in five-star hotels and restaurants with hefty price tags. On the contrary, it is found in the Indian street food which is an assortment of eatables that you can keep gorging up and never be satisfied with. But of course like most good things in life it has a downside. The downside being health issues like dysentery and diarrhea. So here are 15 important tips to look out for before trying the streets.

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vendors selling hot food

Vendors selling hot food, Wikimedia

  • Avoid food which shows you the cold shoulder: Meaning stay as far as you can from foods which have gone cold. You never know the amount of time it has been left out for the germs to mess around with it.

a food stall in begaluru
A food stall in Bengaluru, Wikimedia

  • Search stalls with people variety:  Try looking out for vendors who have people from different sex and age groups flocking around him. The local people have a pretty good idea of the quality of the food from different vendors so when you see children and women waiting for food, get in the queue.

corns on the cob
corns on the cob, Wikimedia commons

  • Be vegetarian! : Try avoiding meat products as they have the most risk of being spoiled in this tropical weather. The probability of getting fresh meat is pretty low so if you try it,  do so of your own accord. Of course, if you are in Hyderabad and on time near Ramzan please forget this point.

samosas_pakoras_street_food_little_india_canada
samosas and pakoras being sold at street, Wikimedia

  • Dicey Ice: Even if you are parched and dying of thirst, please O please do not drink street drinks with ice in it if you are not a regular of street cuisine. Instead, try searching for a bottled water or if not available go to any reputable looking shop and ask for water. Most people have enough humanity in them that they won’t deny you a glass of water. Ice has a bad reputation of being made from water that is not distilled at the street stalls and trust me your stomach will be thank you if you forgo that ice.

a person selling bhelpuri, by wikimedia commons
a person selling bhelpuri, Wikimedia

  • Avoid places where food is left out for you even before ordering: No you won’t get free food. The food left out was from another customer and they neglected washing it properly. So check the utensils and if the plate in which they are serving you looks unwashed or dirty, ask them for a ‘use ‘and throw’ plate. Most vendors keep them in case some mindful people approach there.

a sugarcane juice extractor
a sugarcane juice extractor,Wikimedia

  • Let them crush it in front of you: Do not drink fruit juice which was leftover, even if the vendor promises you that it is fresh.They lie! So let them crush the fruits in front of you.

a vegetable stall
a vegetable stall, Wikimedia

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  • Don’t be racist, on fruits: When buying fruits remember this saying “All that glitters is not gold!”. You must have heard this proverb before, well it is correct. Don’t judge the quality of fruit by its bright sparkling color. Ask the vendor for a piece to taste it. And if you have the time, choose all you fruits yourselves. Additionally try buying fruits with a peel on it.

A corn seller, by wikimedia commons
A corn seller, by Wikimedia

  • People who fry and cry: See someone frying, or cooking in front of you and a crowd waiting in a glutton ecstasy. Do not think twice, order it and gobble it up.
  • Hand-wash : Never forget the learning you got at home and school. Wash your hands. The vendor must have kept a pail of water, search for it.

a tea cabin, by wikimedia commons
a tea cabin, by Wikimedia

  • Tea, not Coffee: Indian street tea is something to die for. Not literally but choose it instead of coffee as the vendors have more experience making it and the prepare a wicked cup of tea.
  • Follow the crowd: Reach the food market when the crowd is large. Follow the meal times of locals as that is the time of the day when you get the best and freshest food.

a panipuri stand, by wikimedia commons
a panipuri stand, by Wikimedia

  • Don’t be shy: If you cannot decide what to eat after seeing the enormous amount of variety ask some of the locals about the best food there.
  • Uncooked food is Dangerous! : If you get something partially uncooked in your order, do not eat it. Ask them to cook it again or replace it. If they don’t throw it. Some wastage of food is not worthy enough to get sick for.

A paratha stall in Delhi, by wikimedia commons
A paratha stall in Delhi, by Wikimedia

  • Try different variety: We all have that one food that we are crazy for. If you find yourselves crazy for some specific food, all good and well but try alternative foods. Maybe you will find something better than it.
  • PLEASE do not Haggle: The people selling street foods are mostly poor. Please do not haggle over the prices.

– by Gulshan Kumar Alok of NewsGram, Twitter: @AlokGulshan

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