Knowing how to eat Japanese street food safely is a matter of knowing that food guidelines are followed. When the chef prepares the food it must be handled properly. Choose vendors that are established, that other people have recommended. One of the major concerns with Japanese street food is sushi. This is because it uses raw fish. Sushi is harmless when prepared correctly. But, sushi can be harmful when not prepared according to FDA regulations. Make sure that the vendor cooks the food that is not raw thoroughly. They should have adequate refrigeration to keep raw food cold and heat to keep hot foods hot. Follow these guideline on how to eat Japanese street food safely.
- Fresh water fish is not good for sushi. This is because it carries more bacteria than salt water fish. It has to be cooked to be safe. Ask the vendor, what type of fish is used if you buy sushi. It is better for you if it is from salt water not fresh. Salt water fish has less bacteria.
- How the fish is processed before shipping is important. The fish should be processed by removing the intestines. The intestines produce bacteria. The fish should be frozen immediately, for at least seven days before being used for sushi. Ask the vendor how the fish is processed?
- Sushi should be served cold or on ice. If you buy sushi from a street vendor it should be cold. It must be served on ice or refrigerated. Eat it immediately unless you can take it home or to work then refrigerate it. Don't leave it out for more than 30 minutes without refrigeration.
- The fish should not smell. The fish for sushi should not smell or have a strong odor. If it smells this means the fish is old not fresh like it should be. When eating raw fish if it tastes bad don't eat it. Why take the risk with your health!
- Buy Japanese street food from reputable vendors. Most Japanese restaurants or street vendors prepare food safely including sushi. They were trained in the proper way to handle seafood and other foods. So know the vendor you are buying from make sure they have been in business awhile. When buying frozen sushi at the supermarket look for label that say sushi grade. This means it was inspected and had to meet health standards.
- Pregnant women should not eat sushi. The bacteria and possible mercury could harm the fetus or immune system. Don't take risks if you are pregnant.
- Inspect the establishment you buy Japanese street food from. Inspect the premises visually. Is the vendor clean? Does the premises seem well organized and professional in service? Do they serve food in the appropriate containers and cook everything thoroughly?
- Meat and egg dishes should be cooked thoroughly. Any food that contains meat, poultry or eggs should be cooked thoroughly. Does the food taste fresh and is it cooked thoroughly? Do the vendors have adequate refrigeration and cooking equipment to prepare food safely? Do they have a certificate from the local health department saying they are safe to serve food? Look for a health inspections certificate from the local health department.
- Eat hot food immediately or refrigerate until use. Reheat food in the microwave or oven to the proper temperature. Serve food hot when reheating, not cold or lukewarm. Remember, common sense will keep you safe. Follow the basic food safety rules keep cold food cold and hot food hot.
Following these general guidelines when eating Japanese street food will help ensure a good experience. Many Japanese restaurants and street vendors have excellent food and handle it properly. Don't let a few bad vendors scare you away from trying Japanese street food.