Indian street food is a one way road to a multi dimensional gastronomical experience. From ‘Gol Gappe’ to ‘Pav Bhaji’ our street food is bursting at the seams with flavors.
The best thing about Indian street food is that the flavors are never the same everywhere you go. Street food suppliers fill the gap between the pricey restaurants and the common man, by providing a lip smacking meal at a fraction of the cost.
Street food business requires lesser investment and is the business of choice for migrants who move into the big cities looking to make it big. The below list is signs of hygiene to look out before you consume it.
1. Observe the Seller
Observe the person preparing food.
· Does he wear food handling gloves? If yes, does he change them often?
· If NO, does he wash his hands often?
· Does he follow standards of personal hygiene?
2. Observe the Food
Closely observe the food that is being served to other patrons. Does it appear fresh and healthful? Observe the ingredients used by the cook. Often, street food has pre-cooked ingredients, to shorten the time required to serve a dish on order.
· Do the pre-cooked ingredients look fresh? Are they stored properly?
· Are there visible pests such as houseflies hovering around the food? Is the food cooked thoroughly and for a good duration before being served?
· Is meat/seafood kept under refrigeration before use?
· Is purified/bottled water used in preparation of food?
· Are the utensils and vessels clean?
3. Look For a Food License
In India, it is illegal to set up a food & beverage establishment without a Food license. By law, all Indian street food vendors are required to obtain this license and display it prominently at their establishment. A food license or certification doesn’t necessarily mean that the Street food vendor is religiously following food hygiene practices. However, such a certification gives us assurance that the vendor is on the records of the local government and is accountable for his/her food products.
4. What to Avoid
Indian street food is a big part of the local culture. Certain food items like Vada Pav, Masala Dosa, Bhel Puri are now synonymous with the regions they come from. However, in view of ensuring that you consume foods that pass the test of hygiene and sanitation, we have the below list of things to avoid. This list comprises of food and beverage products that have a higher chance of contamination considering the Indian climate.
· Raw food. Raw vegetables and salads. Cooking ensures that food borne pathogens are eliminated; uncooked food therefore is a high risk option.
· Tap water. Tap water in India is not chemically purified and hence needs to be avoided unless boiled or purified on premises.
· Fruits. Avoid pre-cut fruits, it is better to consume fruits that can be peeled.
· Unsealed Seasoning and Garnishes. Avoid tomato ketchup and other sauces that are kept on the table as you cannot ascertain its expiry or how it was used by the previous customer.
· Pre-fried snacks. Deep fried snacks such as vada, bonda and samosa should be made freshly on the premises. Otherwise, it is impossible to visually ascertain the date of production of pre-fried snacks.
· Uncovered Food. Food that has been left uncovered even for short duration is prone to contamination.
Hygiene and sanitation should take the highest importance before you eat something. Everyone should follow the above process to eat healthy food as well as to keep his/her health good.
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