Difference Between Fast Food and Street Food

With the evolution of human beings, several food choices have come into existence. Ready-made foods have become a popular food choice. Among such food items, fast food and street food are two well-known food options.

While they may seem similar and are often used synonymously, fast food and street food vary on several grounds. 

Fast Food vs Street Food

The main difference between fast food and street food is that fast food is generally available in restaurants or supermarkets and general stores. On the other hand, street food, as is evident by the name, is available on the streets and in other public places.  

Fast Food and Street Food 1

Fast food is a common type of quick food option available to consumers. The target audience of fast food outlets is children and young adults. Fast food has generally been considered an unhealthy food choice.

However, over the years, several fast food outlets have sought to introduce salads, fruit juices, and fruit salads to offer healthier but conveniently available food items. 

Street food is a commonly available food option sold by hawkers or vendors. The prominent reason for the popularity of street food is the element of fun and curiosity that it introduces along with a variety of food choices.

Since street stalls don’t incur major set-up or maintenance costs, street food is generally cheaper. This affordability in turn encourages consumers to try different food choices available in the market.  

Comparison Table Between Fast Food and Street Food

Parameters of ComparisonFast Food Street Food 
Ideal for Fast food is a convenient food choice for those who are not financially well-off. Street food is a convenient food choice for those who want to grab a quick bite.
Health benefits Fast food is often an unhealthy food choice.Street food is healthier as compared to fast food. 
Composition Fast food generally contains refined sugar, cholesterol, bad fats, and other carbohydrates. Street food is generally made of locally sourced fruits and vegetables. 
Facility Fast food restaurants usually provide the facility of a drive thru. Street food stalls generally lack drive thru facilities. 
Examples Some fast food outlets are KFC, MCDonalds, and Burger King.Street food stalls vary from region to region. 

What is Fast Food?

Fast food refers to quick and convenient food that is easily available and calls for minimum preparation. One of the prominent advantages of fast food is that it is a relatively affordable food item.

Fast food is generally bought from fast-food restaurants either at the drive-thru or at the counter. Some common fast-food chains are Burger King and KFC.

Fast foods are generally high in saturated fat, sugar, salt, and calories. The origin of the fast-food chain traces back to the opening of fish and chip shops in Britain in the 1860s.

In addition, the Merriam Webster dictionary was the first one to recognise the term fast food in 1951. Fast food varies in its type and ingredients. 

One prominent type of fast food restaurant is pre-cooked meals available at supermarkets and in general stores. For instance, Little Caesars Pizza and Boston market rotisserie chicken.

Another type of fast food is the one available in fast food outlets as mass-produced pre-prepared ingredients. The traditional family dinner has been extensively replaced by fast food, primarily due to time constraints and a busy work schedule. 

However, it is not ideal to consume fast food on frequent occasions. Some common outcomes of excessive intake of fast food are diseases like cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, colorectal cancer, obesity, insulin resistance conditions and even depression.

Therefore, fast food consumption should take place in limited quantities to avoid any harmful impacts of such a diet.  

What is Street Food?

Street Food is ready-to-eat food sold in public places like streets by hawkers and vendors.

Usually, street food is sold in food trucks, food booths, or food carts. Although some types of street food are specific to a particular region, others have become popular in several countries.

For instance, the doughnuts of the West have become increasingly popular among Asians. 

There are several reasons why people choose to purchase street food.

While the most prominent reason for preferring street food is the convenience and affordability it offers, other factors include the desire to try ethnic cuisines or to avail of prompt services offered by street food vendors.

Street food is also famous because it is made of vegetables and other healthy food items. 

Since street food is prepared in front of the consumer, he can view exactly how the food is handled or cooked and can even make personal suggestions.

Street food stalls offer a wide variety of options to choose from at a single place. In addition, there are always new and innovative food items being introduced in the street food market.

Street food allows people from different backgrounds to try the cuisines of other regions and therefore, expand their food spectrum. However, there are certain limitations to the consumption of street food.

Issues such as food safety, illegal usage of private and public areas, traffic congestion and sanitation issues are commonplace. Therefore, street food presents its respective merits and demerits.  

Main Differences Between Fast Food and Street Food

  1. Fast food is an unhealthy choice as compared to street food. 
  2. Fast food is generally pe-cooked. On the other hand, street food is cooked on the spot. 
  3. While fast food is always non-nutritious, street food can come in both nutritious and non-nutritious options. 
  4. Fast food restaurants may provide drive-thru facilities. In contrast, no such facility is available in street food stalls. 
  5. Some examples of fast food chains are Fatburger and Nandos. Some examples of street food are aloo tikki and momos.


Therefore, fast food and street food vary on several grounds. While fast food is generally an altogether unhealthy option, street food offers some healthy options to consumers. Fast food items are generally partially or fully pre-cooked.

On the other hand, most of the street food items are cooked at the moment in front of the consumer. 

However, it should be noted that excessive consumption of both fast food and street food is not ideal. High amounts of such food items can result in obesity or cardiovascular disease. Therefore, both food items should be consumed in limited amounts.  


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_food 
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_food 
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