Street Food Carts are a “Heck of a Lot Cleaner” Than Restaurants

Image: David Berkowitz/Flickr

By Carlo Alcos |


Image: David Berkowitz/Flickr

Street food is almost a given when traveling. There are several benefits:

  • convenience
  • price
  • insight into local culture.

But many people poo-poo the idea of eating food cooked in a cart. Cleanliness and health are big concerns, and while that may be more true in developing countries around the world, what about in places like New York? Just how safe is it to eat food from a street vendor? did the leg work by getting the goods straight from the horse’s mouth. They interviewed a vendor on the condition of his anonymity. What did they find out?

On cleanliness: The vendor claimed to have worked in a lot of restaurants and vouches for the cleanliness of the carts. He states that they’re easier to keep clean because they’re so small. And that customers can see everything. If it looks dirty, who’s going to want to eat there?

On leftovers: After being in the biz for a while now, he’s learned how much he has to make to sell out by the end of the day. Sometimes he is left with a few wieners and has to toss them out. While he could sell them the next day and save a bit of money, he says people will notice and not come back.

On customer service: When a customer orders one thing and says they ordered another (usually due to them being distracted with their cell phones and Blackberries), he gives them what they want in the end. He says it’s not his job to be right, but to make the customer satisfied.

Sounds pretty legit to us.