One of the nice things about Thailand is that you never have to carry food and water with you. Everything is so easy to by while on the go, especially in Bangkok. I never bring lunch to work unless I’m craving a particular homemade item. If I want something in particular for lunch other than what’s avaliable in the cafeteria, it is really easy just to go out to a local noodle shop or one-dish restaurant. As a rule Bangkokians never cook for themselves. It’s just too easy to go out and buy something instead.
Every morning at around 9 or 10 I’m likely to be sneaking away from work to get a little something to eat or drink. A short drive or 10 minute walk away from my work is a mini-mart, food court, pharamacy and street vendors collected in an area called “Soi 39” by the main street. It’s here that I get my caffeine fixed when needed or satisfy that weird craving. It’s also the place where I can get fresh fruit at one of those 3 wheeled carts with fruit on ice.
If you ask me about the sanitation of these street fruit vendors, I’d say that it is most likely pretty clean because it’s cut and put on ice before it’s sold to you. The only scary thing about these fruit carts is the actually person handling the fruit. Some vendors are pretty handy and don’t ever even touch the fruit. Instead they use a bamboo skewer to stab the fruit of you choice, put it in a plastic bag and then cut the fruit through the plastic bag with a knife. You’ve got to see it for yourself. These are the most skilled of the fruit vendors and I prefer these fellows to any others. Less dexterous vendors might have gloves on their hands for touching the fruit. These vendors are acceptable as well, although not as cool to watch, as the level of hygiene should be adequate.
I would only worry about one type of fruit vendor and that the fruit vendors that handle the fruit with their bare hands. Generally these street fruit carts aren’t equipped with proper hand sanitizing equipment (ie. soap and water) and more often than not the vendors wipe their hands on a damp cloth. If the vendor is touching the fresh fruit that you are going to eat without any type of protection, I’d feel slightly wary about putting that fruit in my mouth. Let’s not even consider if he washed his hands after visiting the restroom.
So that next time you by fruit from a street fruit vendor, notice his fruit handling technique. You might find yourself buying fruit from one fruit vendor and not other. Thankfully, most fruit vendors that I’ve encountered are the more hygenic variety. This is probably because a sick customer won’t come back and buy fruit from you.