Monday, August 13, 2007

Eatin' in the street


Feeding trough
Shanghai, China, May 2007


We've already explored the fact that I am not an adventurous eater. If I can't identify it, it's a no go. And if I can identify it and it grosses me out, no deal as well. So in a place where the palette of potential choices was, um, larger than it was back home, I found myself sticking to vegetarian dishes. And even then, I watched every morsel before picking it up with my chopsticks.

So when I came across this street-level food stand, I had no intention of partaking in the fun. I didn't even want to smell it because you just never know. You know? So I zoomed in as far as my lens could go and captured this everyday Chinese moment.

Your turn: Do you eat stuff bought on the street? Why/why not?

19 comments:

Stacy said...

Yes I do, but I have to know what it is. I used to stay away from street food because you don't know about the type of water they use, the foods, etc. But some of the best food I've ever had is street food. Thailand has excellent fruit and vegetables on the street, as well as meat on a stick (with peanut sauce) called Mu sticks. VERY good. Then there are the noodle stands, BBQ city (which is choose the food you want to cook and BBQ it yourself), and various other treats. But all of that came after I became familiar with an area and got to know some of the smells. Here in Taiwan (and mainland China as well) they have a specialty called Stinky Tofu. There is absolutely no way on earth I would ever try it! Familiarity didn't help there. :)

aoitenshi said...

I was wondering how the Westerners found the food in Shanghai. I thought most of the food at the Chinese dinner were quite exotic.

I love streetfood, but I only buy from vendors I know, or stands that at least look clean. :)

Miz UV said...

Nope. I'm like you -- I have to know what it is, and it can't be something yucky. Of course I've eaten sweetbreads and quail eggs, so my definition of "yucky" may be broader than yours, but still!

Sara said...

Well, it depends! I've eaten food at fairs and places like that - so, does that count? On the actual street - maybe a hot dog when I was in NYC. I'm real picky too about food and if I cannot identify it - I don't put it in my mouth.

Beverly said...

One of my goals when I visited NYC was to eat a hot dog from a street vendor.

When I lived in Haiti, we would be food from street vendors. I didn't die while there, so I guess I would.

I don't like crowds so I don't usually go to street fairs and such, but sometimes the aromas do have a draw.

Heidi said...

If the food smells and looks good and the place looks pretty clean, I will go for it. (Part of my adventurous side, I guess. :-) Also, part of my "eyes being bigger than my stomach" side!!!)

gautami tripathy said...

I absolutely gorge on street food. Delhi is a street food lover's paradise.

That's where you get the best of it. Fresh and piping hot with all the local flavours.

When I was in Singapore and Malaysia, I had no hang ups on tasting street food over there too. I liked the bantering and was all ears when told what was in there.

Yummy!

An Aside: I wrote and posted that poem on my blog as I had mentioned here on a comment. Please do check that out.(Click on my name).

tommiea said...

Quick answer: NO.....two words: nut allergies. You never know what is in there or what kind of oil it is cooked in.

Thumper said...

I think I'm more like you...I don't think I would trust street food, the idea of it kind of skeeves me out a little. I have to know what I'm eating (I use the reasoning that I do have allergies, after all, and I don't want to die) and if it grosses me out, I won't even try it. hence, I have never tried guacamole, and never will...

Matt said...

I don't want to add fuel to the already pumped up food scare of China (that I'm Chinese), but it surely will do you good to watch every morsel before you put it into your mouth! LOL

I can be an adventure eater but sanitation comes first before I bulge. I agree with Stacy that some of the best food I've had during travel is street food. The stalls that flank the streets of Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore displaying more colors than than a box of crayons can offer will simply make anyone a food critic.

I enjoy the satays, the made-to-order pad thai, and roti (a sort of thin crusted bread) with kaya (coconut jam) the most.

D.O.M. Dan said...

I can only remember buying a hot dog from a street vendor outside a courthouse in downtown L.A. It was many years ago. I don't think I would buy anything from a street vendor today. I wouldn't want to take a chance.

Nancy said...

Are you crazy? So not happening. I am pretty fussy when I eat out.

Awareness said...

I'm game! Though I do need to know what it is first. I LOVE street vendor food....market food (though I do know most of the vendors at my local market, so if you visit Carmi, I can give you a heads up :)

Tracey said...

Depends......but you can't beat a Chicago hot dog stand!

Diane Mandy said...

Yes, but only following hours of salsa dancing, several libations, and after closing at 2am. Luckily for me, Raleigh hot dog vendors patiently wait on street corners during the wee hours of the morning for people just like me to wander out of the clubs, ready and willing eat almost anything.

kenju said...

Not too often. We have bought hot dogs on the street in NYC, because Mr. kenju swears by them - but mostly - I am afraid of street vendor's foods.

Windrider said...

Yes, but with caution.

Heck, when I was military I would have practically starved in Korea if I hadn't eaten off the street vendors. But you ask around and never just pick one out of the blue.

Ahem, a few pints ( gallons ) of beer can also affect decision making to be sure.

But, as far as just heading into an unknown open air market and getting chow... I would make extra sure that it was fully cooked to well done ( before my eyes ) before eating it. and even then it would be a "cross your fingers and pray" situation.

I wouldn't ever consider fresh local produce or fruit. Ever.

Did I say Ever? Oh yeah, Ever, ever, ever.

Some fertilizer methods can surprise you my friend. I'll leave that to your imagination.

But, having told the above "Bogey Man" tales, I've been sick less than 5 times in 25 years by sticking to bottled water, and only frequenting places the tourists patronize.

Meeta said...

I can be pretty adventurous, but my street food fancies really depends on where I am in the world. I eat certain street foods when i visit India but stay away from the fried food vendors. I figure it looks clean and sure why not. as the saying goes...when in rome...

SzélsőFa said...

I fI can identify, yes. I like to taste food of various cultures - provided I can afford it.
Once I tried a Turkish street restaurant in Budapest and it was just great.