Experiencing a country’s traditional cuisine is one of our favorite parts about traveling. If you’re anything like us, no trip is complete without trying (or attempting to try) one of everything. While dishes like fish and chips and Neapolitan pizza are well-loved classics, it’s pad Thai, pho and spicy curries that have really been making our mouths water lately.
Since the best meals are usually the most authentic, it’s no surprise that some of the most delicious and affordable Asian food comes from its countries’ markets and street stalls. Here are our top tips for successfully navigating these bustling arenas.
Look for long lines. There’s probably a good reason why some stalls have a longer wait for food than others. At busier places, the turnover rate is higher and so are the chances that your meal will be freshly cooked.
Before you leave for your trip, learn a few food-related words and phrases like “no meat, please” or “not too spicy.” This way, you won’t only impress the locals, you’ll also be able to order exactly what you want.
Try to arrive at the food stalls or markets early in the day or right before meal times. The earlier in the day you go, the fresher the food will be. The same is true around meal times, when vendors begin to gear up for the lunch and dinner rushes.
If fresh fruit or vegetables are more to your taste, always err on the side of caution and avoid pre-sliced selections in favor of the varieties you have to peel before you eat. Bananas, cucumbers, papayas and the like are your safest bets.
Keep your hands clean. Get into the habit of sanitizing or scrubbing (with bottled water) thoroughly and often, especially if you’ve been using public transportation or handling wares in the market.
Have you ever eaten anything from a food stall? What are your tips for navigating Asia‘s food stalls?