Is Street Food Safe in Bangkok, Thailand?

Street food Bangkok Thailand
Just one of the many thousands of street food stalls in Bangkok. This one sells fried chicken, fish balls and a variety of sausages and meat balls on sticks. With the spicy sauce he’ll give you to eat with it, it is some of the best food in Thailand. Photo copyright – J. Aaron Farr, Creative Commons license.

Is street food in Bangkok, Thailand safe to eat or will you get sick?

One of the things you will notice when you first arrive in Bangkok, Thailand is how much street food there is. It is literally everywhere. On every street corner, on every street, in outdoor markets, outside strip malls and supermarkets and department stores — everywhere.

But, is street food safe in Bangkok, Thailand? Or should you eat somewhere else?

Well, let me put it this way. I’ve lived in Thailand for almost 14 years. I eat Bangkok street food every day from street foods all over the city. In all that time, I have had food poisoning once. Once out of thousands of street food meals. Once.

When I lived in the US, however, I had food poisoning three or four times a year. Every year. From supermarket food, Wendy’s salad bar food, you name it, I have had food poisoning from it.

So, why is street food safe in Bangkok?

One of the reasons is because, unlike in the US where food has been ‘dead’ for weeks sometimes months when it is served to you, all the street food you will buy in Bangkok is fresh. That means it was clucking, mooing or snorting yesterday.

So, while food in America has had chance to develop all kinds of lovely bacterial problems from being frozen, unfrozen, refrozen etc, street food in Bangkok has not.

Thais are also like anyone else. They will not buy bad tasting food, or food that is not fresh. So, if a street stall sells bad food that makes people sick, it will not last for long.

Therefore, my recommendation to you is to buy street food in Bangkok and enjoy it in all its glory.

After all, not only is it safe and fresh, it is also some of the best food in Thailand, and starting at only 10 baht a stick or a portion (around 30 cents), it’s cheap. That means you can afford to buy a lot of it.

Come on, sampling the local food? That’s part of why you travel, isn’t it? And Bangkok, Thailand has some of the world’s best.

As for how to find the best street food stalls in Bangkok? The book ‘Bangkok’s Top 50 Street Food Stalls’ will give you a good start.