The True Flavor
Pagkaing Kalye or Street foods is very popular among every countries. People are fond of eating it because it’s inexpensive yet it has exotic taste that makes you want to eat more. So to be more specific, Streetfoods in the Philippines including Isaw, Atay, Kalamares, Kwek-Kwek, Fishball, etc. (most of the food that is being sold using a cart is considered Streetfoods) Those food is one of the Philippines’ pride because it actually tastes good. But the main point here, the fact that it’s being sold in the streets, it means that it may be too exposed to the public, to the environment, to the pollution, but it depends on the vendor if it’s being sold in the place where there’s a lot of vehicles, or if they are practicing a good sanitation of their product before they present it to the public. After all, our health is more important regardless of how we want to eat Streetfoods. We should all be aware of the eat we are going to put inside our stomach because it could result to a more complicated situation. But aside from that, not all Streetfoods could cause you diseases, it is more on the utensils and surroundings that affects the food you eat.
So in order to answer that, I have conducted a simple interview to people or some students that’s eating Streetfoods:
Do you think that the Streetfoods you are eating is sanitized or clean?
“Slight. it depends on how they’re cooking it.”
“In my opinion, not all of the Streetfoods that is being sold in the streets are clean, but not all are dirty.”
“No. But I’d still love to eat it.”
“I don’t know.”
“It depends on the surroundings if the place is clean or not.”
What are the things that you’ve encountered or you noticed that makes you think that it’s dirty (unclean)?
“I think it’s on their sauce because there are a lot of people eating Streetfoods and some of them keeps on dipping in the sauce so there’s a tendency that their saliva might get through the sauce.”
“Sauce. The oil their using.”
“Their oil. Sometimes their oil looks like being used for a month. Kidding.”
What are your reccommendations for the vendors to make their Streetfoods more presentable to the people and your advice on them, prioritizing sanitation of selling their goods?
“They should have permit. And they should be the one to start prioritizing personal hygiene and cleanliness.”
“Of course they should prioritize the cleanliness and it should start from the vendor. He should present himself more presentable to the people, in terms of what he is wearing. And also, the utensils should also be organized and cleaned from time to time. So more customers will trust him and the food he is selling.”
“He should maintain the proper way of cleaning his goods and utensils everyday. Or two times a day. Including the sauce and the oil.”
“Maybe they just have to maintain the cleanliness of their surroundings, and they should also cover the Streetfoods they are selling to prevent the insects from coming to their goods.”
Most consumers are also aware of this issue, of the cleanliness of the Streetfoods, but we can clearly notice that even if they are aware, Filipinos are really fond of eating Streetfoods. It has been part of their system that they’d love to it Streetfoods, simply because they love it.
In additional to the interview of the students, we also need a professional when it comes to this issue. I had an interview with Engr. Bryan L. Baltazar regarding the rules that should be applied if you’re selling Streetfoods.
He started with giving a tip, “First and foremost, bigyan ko na kayo ng tip ah, especially sa food handle, ipinagbabawal namin yung may hikaw na mga lalaki.”
What can you say about the foods that was being sold in the streets? “Masarap, diba? Lalo na mga Pilipino mahilig sa mura at masarap na pagkain. Yun nga lang ‘di natin masasabi kung malinis o madumi.”
As a sanitation worker, what can you say about the hygiene of the vendors when selling their goods? “Actually, isa sa nire-require din namin yan no, pag may nag-apply samin dito, pinagco-conduct namin ng seminar yan, during seminar na ‘yon ang unang advice ko pa lang dapat bagong paligo ang mga worker, pinaka-must yan kasi syempre pag bagong ligo ka, malilinis hygiene mo. Pag malinis ka, male-lessen yung chance na makapagcontaminate ka between ikaw at sa food na hawak mo, at pag kinain na ng consumer mo. Unang-una sa legality, pinagbabawal natin yung mga nasa kalye, ambulant vendors, bawal talaga yan, nirereport namin sa MPD yan, obstruction yan. Pangalawa, humanitarian reason, syempre maaawa ka rin naman sa mga yan, kaya sinasabihan sila na unang-una kung magtitinda ka dapat panatilihin mo ang kalinisan nyan pero minsan dahil Pilipino matigas ulo, supposedly dapat nakacover ang mga pagkain kasi alam nyo mahangin isa reason ng contaminate ng dirt yan. Pangatlo, dapat maligo sila, malinis ang kamay nila, pinapakuha namin ng health certificate yan, pag kumuha ka nyan may seminar talaga yan. Sa seminar na yun makikita nyo yung mga Do’s and Don’t’s sa food handling.”
Engr. Baltazar believe that it should always start from the source so the consumer won’t be affected by the contamination of dirt. Preparation of foods and goods you’re about to sell is always part of the system, just because you’re selling on the streets doesn’t give you the exception to practice your hygiene. When in fact, Streetfoods and the vendor itself are the ones that is more expected to have a neat surroundings because they are only selling outside it means it is easy for those to be contaminated with dirt, than with those selling inside a botique or any place that is covered.
“Actually, etong sanitation na ‘to parang pambahay lang sya. Tanungin nyo mga nanay nyo, pano ba yung ganito ganyan.” Engr. Baltazar also added.
Is there any pre-cautions that you can say about the street vendors? “So when we say pre-cautions kasama na dito yung dapat laging malinis yung tindahan mo, pag sinabing malinis dapat lagi kang may basurahan dyan. Yung basurahan mo hindi nakatiwangwang dyan, kailangan tightly sealed yan. Bakit? kasi nakakaattract ka ng mga langaw, ng mga ipis, syempre pag inabot na yan aabot sa pagkain mo yan, iniiwas din natin yan no. Yun nga ulit, dapat lagi silang bagong paligo, then hangga’t maaari kumuha sila ng health certificate.”
Why do you think Filipinos are fond of eating Streetfoods? “Bakit nga ba? Unang-una, masarap. Pangalawa, mura. Ang laban naman ng mga establishment na malalaki don, sila naman yung naka-proper, may sanitary permit yan, tska hindi sila basta-basta hinuhuli ng pulis.”
Streetfoods are being sold even in some polluted are. What common diseases can we get to eating Streetfoods? “Pagtatae. Minsan iniinuman na natin ng kahit anong gamot, pero commonly dapat sa ospital, magpapacheck-up ka muna. Then pangalawa, may hepatitis na tayong makukuha dyan. Minsan di natin alam yung street vendor may TB nahawa ka. Kaya kailangan natin ng medical, ano yung medical na yon? yun yung inaalam kung may alaga sila sa tyan nila. Actually ‘di lang sa streetfoods ‘to ah kahit saang establishment nire-require ‘to. May dinagdag tayo drug test, kasi ‘di natin alam na yung nagtitinda satin, mamaya high na high na pala yun.”
What can you say about the safety of the people who buy Streetfoods? “Kung hindi kayo sigurado sa nakikita nyo, bumili kayo dun sa establishment na na-establish talaga. Dahil gayunpaman for humanitarian reason, ‘di naman natin pwedeng itaboy sila yung mga nagtitinda na yan minsan yan lang ang pinangbubuhay nila sa pamilya nila. Pag sumusobra na sila nirereport namin yan, then nagcoconduct din kami ng seminars sa food handling nila. Sabi ko lang dito sa Manila ‘di tayo magkakaproblema dyan dahil pinangangalagaan talaga natin ang health nila dito sa Sanitation sa Manila Health Department. Sabi nga natin Prevention is better than Cure. Rock and Roll.”
Furthermore, Global Food Safety Resource stated that studies have shown that an appreciable percentage of foodborne illness cases can be attributed to poor sanitation and food hygiene, including poor personal hygiene and contamination of equipment or environments. With that we should learn to be critical in deciding what we’re going to eat. Eating is one of the source of our happiness but it should not affect our health. Enjoy Streetfoods but educate the vendor the Do’s and Don’t’s and their personal hygiene. After all, their surroundings might affect their income. But if they have a clean and presentable place, more customers might be interested of what they are selling.
The flavor of food we should look for is the beyond it’s appearance. But what’s keeping us safe. What won’t affect our health. In the end, health is more important than our cravings.
The true flavor of food is not based on it’s price. Streetfoods are a proof.