When you go on vacation to a foreign country, the cuisine is so much part of the culture and unless you want to eat burger and fries every day, trying the local food is just part of the fun. I’m not being racist in any way when I say that taking a holiday in a place in Asia or the Middle East is fraught with more risk that a holiday in North America or Europe. It’s simply that the Western palate is tuned to a different way of eating and food preparation. A visit to India, China or South East Asia wouldn’t be the same unless you can sample the street food so here are 7 tips to avoid vacation food poisoning.
Don’t put yourself at risk of catching something nasty by eating street food on your very first day. Hotel and restaurant food for the first few days is best.
2. Follow the Crowd
When you think you’re feeling brave enough, the old adage of following the crowd is a good way to avoid vacation food poisoning. Watch to see where locals buy their street food. Anyone they avoid, you do the same. Stalls patronized by families with children are often a good bet.
The beauty of street food is that everything is on show. You can see how the utensils are being cleaned, if at all. You can have a look at the oil that’s being used, just take a peek inside any of the cookware and you can see piles of food scraps and any flies.
4. In the Know
Being savvy is a great way to avoid vacation food poisoning. Knowing some of the customs of the type of foods on offer is a good start. For example, in many places it’s quite usual for much of the preparation to be done at home so don’t be surprised if you see things being refried.
5. Veggie is Best
If there’s anything that’s risky, even if a street food stall is as clean as it could be, it’s meat. The world cuisines we are talking about here are far more inventive with vegetables anyway so it shouldn’t be any hard nibbling on all-veggie snacks.
6. Juicy Tip
The array of juices on offer on street stalls is quite bewildering in some countries. Another simple tip to avoid vacation food poisoning is to ignore the pre-made juice drinks and ask the stall holder to make one up fresh.
Don’t the stacks of gorgeous shiny exotic fruits look tempting? Best avoided, really. If they’ve been pre-sliced but are still shiny it’s more likely that it’s been doused with water, possibly of dubious quality, to keep it looking fresh because in the heat it will dry out very quickly.
I hope these tips to avoid vacation food poisoning help you have a safe and happy holiday. If anyone thinks of anything I may have missed please do share.
Top Photo Credit: bass_nroll