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How to Survive Ghetto Grub in 5 Easy Steps

October 20, 2014

For the thrifty and brave, trying out the neighborhood carinderia increases either the chances of finding a ghetto grub-worthy dish, or a long time on the toilet. But if you know what to look out for, you’ll zero in on where to get a cheap, satisfying, even amazing, meal without putting your health at risk.

1. Follow the Crowd

Grub-Crowd

More than the need to feed, eateries depend on loyal patronage and word of mouth to keep customers coming in, and coming back. A crowd is a sure sign of people trusting that particular spot with their stomachs.

2. Check your Surroundings

Grub-Surroundings

Steer clear of areas situated near open sewage and waste areas. If it’s an open space, take a minute or two to check if the kitchen looks clean, and how their staff cleans up and disposes of leftovers and trash.

3. Inspect the Food

Grub-Inspect

If they offer dishes made to order, favor those instead. The food in covered dishes or display cases should be fine as long as it looks and smells right to you. If you’re still unsure, a carinderia is judged by how they do fried and grilled food such as fried chicken, liempo, and porkchop. These are not only favorites among their customers, but they are arguably the safest dishes as they’re cooked in high heat.

4. Mind the Details

Grub-Details

Check the plate for spots or signs of grease left from hurried washing. Also mind the utensils, even the straws. There are carinderias that serve their utensils in steel glasses with hot water, but if the water isn’t hot, you’re better off asking for new utensils to avoid bacterial infection. Also check to make sure the straw is the size it’s supposed to be, as less honest owners are known to cut out used parts of straws to throw, then recycling the rest.

5. Ask for Bottled Water

Grub-Water

From personal experience, most of the time it wasn’t the food that got me down, but the water. While a water dispenser is reassuring, you can’t really be too sure until you actually see them change it. If you have a sensitive stomach, stick to canned or bottled drinks.

Got tips for spotting good, clean, ghetto grub? Share it with us with a comment below.

Mia Marci Mia Marci

Mia Marci likes sampling street food, even if she doesn't know what's in it. She's gotten sick to her stomach on occasion because of this hazardous curiosity, but even the strictest of doctors couldn't stop her. Mia also writes about video games, travel, and girly issues for other publications. She also teaches English and Creative Writing. In the little spare time she has left, she catches up on film and TV shows, while cuddling up to her dog and cat.

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3 comments in this post SHOW

3 responses to “How to Survive Ghetto Grub in 5 Easy Steps”

  1. Volts Sanchez says:

    I think constant exposure to bacteria is the way to go. Start small, with fishballs, qwek-qwek and corn, and you’ll boast a cast-iron stomach in just a short while.

    • Mia Marci says:

      If it’s a matter of getting your stomach used to street food anywhere, I read a tip somewhere that eating local homegrown yogurt works too. 😀

    • hehehe says:

      Start small, start young. I have been eating street food since I was in grade school. And I am still here. 😉

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