FriFotos: Street Meat: As Fresh As It Gets

I love everything about street food. The unparalleled taste. The plastic chairs intended for children. The surrounding ambiance of wherever in the world you might be. And yes, even the questionable level of hygiene. It all culminates into a perfect feast

First Impressions of Bangkok street food Anyone feel like chicken tonight?

When I think of fresh — this week’s FriFotos theme — I cannot help but think of street food. Although to be perfectly honest it may not all be that fresh, those are the type of thoughts that we Westerners have to ignore. After all, life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.

Bangkok street butcher In Bangkok even the butchers and the meat markets operate on the sidewalks.

Regardless of the country, street food is almost always better than in a fancy restaurant. It is more authentic, more true to form and a better representation of the local cuisine than what you will find in posh restaurants, which all too often have had to dumb down their recipes to appeal to the masses. That and it’s a helluva lot cheaper!

First Impressions of the Bangkok street meat scene I mean who wouldn’t trust trash bags of meat sitting on the sidewalk? It’s Bangkok street meat baby…mmmmmm! 😉

Bangkok street meat market Gloves…what are gloves?

People often gasp at the strange, taboo, and questionable things I have eaten however I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “Don’t be afraid of what I eat…be afraid of what I won’t eat!”

Of course the next thing I am inevitably asked is “does it every make you sick?” Once, and only once. There were two side-by-side street vendors, one with dozens of locals eating and even more waiting in line just to order. The other one had a whopping zero customers. However as I was in a rush I opted for the street vendor without any patrons — big mistake. My next eight hours were spent in between the bed and the toilet, let’s just put it that way.

On that happy note I’m going to turn things over to you.

What’s Your Favorite Country For Street Food?

Have You Ever Gotten Sick From Street Food?

  Share your comments below!

About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

23 thoughts on “FriFotos: Street Meat: As Fresh As It Gets”

  1. As long as I see how they’re cooked, I’m good. So those street food on stick that they’re grilling should be fine. Still a few more restrictions though. LoL! Feliz Viernes

  2. Have to be honest amigo. Meat not refrigerated scares the living sh__ out of me! I have had food poisoning a couple of times and it may just be my stomach. Hope all is well!!!

  3. I’d be lying Mike if I didn’t say sometimes the lack of refrigeration of certain foods in different countries didn’t scare me…such as with eggs. However I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the fact that refrigeration is a somewhat new technology, at least in terms of human history. We’re survived for thousands of years and cold food storage has only made a recent (albeit pivotal) impact in our history as a species. That having been said, I have no qualms about unrefrigerated meat while it’s still fresh. For example I spent a week living in a remote barangay in the Philippines during 2009 in what westerners would refer to as “the jungle.” Eating meat only once a week (that’s probably being generous) the locals were eager to make my stay as comfortable as possible, and I dare say maybe even impress me. As such one afternoon they inquired as to my favorite food. Without hesitation I replied: “bacon!” So they went out and promptly returned with a slab of pork belly so fresh it still had traces of blood on it. It was subsequently thrown in a plastic drawer (think Container Store or IKEA style) and allowed to fester overnight. The next morning you can bet we damn well had some delicious bacon with breakfast — and even more importantly I remained perfectly healthy after eating it. My skepticism of unrefrigerated meat has since waned, at least in terms of fresh meat.

  4. Derek I have many stomach issues (probably all the damn drinking I did at your age) and have to be careful. I have no worries if I know for a fact its fresh. In some markets around the world when I visit at night and there is meat or fish out with no ice, it’s more than likely been there all day and my stomach can’t take it! Maybe its an age thing.

  5. No offense but I hope its age rather than drinking in your 20s b/c lord knows I’ve done enough of that, especially since quitting work to live on the road. I’m more worried about the cigarettes I’ve smoked in the past than the drinking I’m doing today…

  6. Mike, I think that’s my issue here. All meat are frozen. And I don’t know what chemical they put on it to preserve the meat. As much as I wanted to buy a fresh one but that’s nowhere to find here. Do you know back home, they slaughter pig/cow everyday and distribute them to the market? People do the buying in the morning and by afternoon, the market is almost empty. The leftover, they process them further to longanisa, hotdogs, tocino, etc… For chicken, if we don’t know the seller in the market, we prefer to buy a live one and do the rest of dressing, etc by us (oops not me).

  7. Ha. Never have had balut. I was born in the Philippines but don’t remember time before moving to Canada. When I went to NZ it was one of my first photos. Stacks of eggs in the grocery store on regular shelves

  8. Hey Arnette.. The eggs we are selling in our sari-sari store back home, we don’t put them in the fridge. But of course we know which farm they came from, how they raise their chicken that produce those eggs. Well, I don’t know the logic… LoL

  9. The strange part is I’m most worried about throwing unrefrigerated eggs into the fridge. Will that shock them? Arnette Mike Especially here in Vietnam where eggs do not have an expiration date but rather are packaged with a production date. What to make of that???

  10. Hmmm… You’ll just know that they’re expired when cooking… No. They won’t get shocked I think. But do you know what shocked me more? The powder eggs in boxes they are selling here. How do they do that? Ugh… I’m not buying them. That’s why I always want my egg sunny side up when ordering in a restaurant…

  11. Mike Ohhh you know I can’t. Though I’m trying. In my recent trip back home, I had my general medical checkup. My (bad) cholesterol rose to 129. That’s freaking high compared to the 100 upper limit. That’s so bad I know… I’m not fat but not healthy too… Hahahaha

  12. I’m not overly worried about food. Like you mentioned, I only get cautious when I don’t see anyone else touching the food. Locals tend to know best. Though, I also think I have a strong stomach or something. According to recommendations, I should’ve been ill many times over from drinking tap water but I have yet to get sick from it. Hah! Hopefully my luck doesn’t run out on this.

    • Same here Meg! Speaking of tap water, I always kind of laugh on the inside when I see people using bottled water to wet their toothbrush and rinse the toothpaste out of their mouth with. I mean c’mon now, the dishes are all washed with tap water and the rice is cooked using tap water, so why go to such extremes to avoid getting a couple drops of it in your mouth?

      Besides, I am a firm believer that you have to challenge your immune system occasionally to keep it working at peak perfection 😉

  13. Well it’s fine I think Derek. If you put in fridge it lasts longer. But prob not a good thing. I stayed with friends in NZ and they had them in closet but we ate them within a few days. What’s funny I was going to write a post about this haha. I don’t know if I would buy refrigerated eggs here in the US and then keep them out. Most of the world doesn’t put eggs in fridge Cecille, I learned that from my RTW.

  14. Arnette – Ohh I didn’t know that. Thanks for the info. But you are right putting unrefrigerated eggs into the fridge should be fine. But buying refrigerated eggs then keeping them out is not a good thing..

  15. Great read Derek, Must say that street food is my favourite. I love trying all the new food sespecially those that I don’t actually know. Don’t worry about the eggs either, they shouldn’t be put into a refrigerator! Only a larder. 🙂

    • I completely agree with you James, nothing beats the authentic-ness of street food. One thing I’ve learned over the years is to never ask “what is it?” until I’ve already finished eating, lest any western preconceptions cloud or taint my judgement. “Oh man that was delicious…what was it?” “Goat balls.”


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