How To Choose The Best Street Food Spots, According To Anthony Bourdain

If there was anyone who could sniff out a great place to eat anywhere in the world, it had to be Anthony Bourdain. He was known for seeking out truly authentic food that was far from the tourist routes, but to find those restaurants and street food vendors, Bourdain had a few rules he followed. While photos of food on the walls of a place were a definite no-no in his book, there were plenty of other signs he looked for when choosing a place to order (via Cheat Sheet).

To give a concrete example for street food trucks and vendors, Bourdain used Singapore to explain what giveaways he looked for before he ordered (via Bon Appétit). "If you're in Singapore and there are two chicken and rice places, and there's one with a huge line, go to the one with the huge line," he said. "Already, that's a clue." The famous chef went on to explain what you should take from the people that are eating at a crowded restaurant or street food vendor too. "If a place is crowded, but the people lining up are not local, that's a clue—a bad clue," Bourdain said. "If it doesn't have signs in English, it's almost always worth investigating."

Anthony Bourdain also evaluated the inconvenience of street food spots

If the other telling clues are not enough, Bourdain also told Bon Appétit another trick that was an easy way to find the best food around — though it might not be the fastest. It has everything to do with how long people are willing to stand in line or wait to place and get their order. "I look to see if locals are willing to inconvenience themselves and wait in line for a long time to get something that only costs a dollar fifty," Bourdain said, "especially if it's a mixed bag of different incomes." The celebrity chef added that it's a clear indicator of just how great the food must really be.

"One of the things that's interesting about Singapore is that you'll see people roll up in a Mercedes and stand in line behind someone who lives in a housing project," he explained. "They're both gonna wait the 25 minutes for the same nasi lemak." It's a keen observation that he found to hold true in the country, but it could also be applied to tons of other destinations. So, the next time you are trying to decide where to eat, be it in America or abroad, take a look around at the clientele.