You may have traveled to a country and noticed vendors selling street food on the side of the street and wondered whether it’s something you should try.

We’re here to tell you not to turn your nose up and keep walking, street food is an integral part of some country’s culture and offers an authentic, and affordable, way to eat.

But what is street food? Why is it a thing and why should you try it? In this guide, we’ll share with you what street food is to most cultures and why you need to try it on your travels.

Billions of people around the world eat street food, but in North America our over sanitized culture has been taught that it’s bad to eat street food.

It can be a very polarizing topic as some travelers are afraid that it is dirty or that street food that will make them sick – whereas other travelers see it as a badge of authenticity.

Street food has been enjoyed by people all over the world for centuries. It originated out of necessity, as a way to provide affordable and convenient meals to the working class who couldn’t afford fancy restaurants or elaborate ingredients.

While street food is found all over the world, the history can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Rome and China, where poor urban residents relied on street vendors for their daily sustenance.

Therefore street food is not only an affordable way to eat, but allows you to take part in traditions that have stood through the ages. The authenticity of street food in most countries lies in its rich cultural heritage and local flavors, such as the use of spices, sauce, and fresh vegetables.

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