Street food is often avoided because of the risk of getting sick. But you are also missing out on one of the best things when travelling a country. You can’t really say you’ve completely experienced everything a place has to offer without sampling the local cuisine.
While it’s understandable to feel reluctant about eating at a dodgy-looking food stall, there are ways you can avoid problems which may arise from eating street food.
So, when you feel famished after a long day of travelling, you can try sampling some street food without feeling anxious about getting sick. If you follow a few basic rules, no matter where you are, these simple tips will save you a whole lot of trouble.
Bring your meds.
It’s always best to play safe no matter where you go. Make sure you never leave your meds behind. From painkillers, probiotics, to antibiotics or anti-diarrhoea, you can always pop a pill and relieve yourself straight away.
Do your homework.
Before you even start booking your flight and reserving an airport parking space, educate yourself about the common street foods of the country you are visiting. Most countries have their own unique dish or speciality you should be aware of.
You can start by asking people you may know who has already travelled to the country you are going to visit. Another option is to research online. There are plenty of travel blogs you can visit or join some forums or groups. You can try asking about their first-hand experience of eating the local street foods.
Check the water.
One of the biggest reasons some travellers get sick, sometimes, is not from food poisoning but from unsafe drinking water. If you’re using ice on your drinks, make sure it did not come from the tap.
If you are travelling to a place with a questionable water source, it’s best to buy bottled water instead. You should also keep an eye out on fruits and vegetables which may have been washed with unclean water.
No matter how resilient your stomach is, do not buy food from stalls that have their food completely exposed to flies, sunlight, and the elements. Make sure the food they serve is stored well and if you’re eating perishable food, it should at least be stored in a refrigerator or an icebox to keep it fresh.
Look for good hygiene.
It’s easy to spot whether a vendor or place is hygienic. You wouldn’t want to buy food from a slovenly-looking vendor or a food stall that looks messy or dirty. Check if the utensils they offer are clean or at least use tissues to wipe them down.
When in doubt, ask the locals.
Most locals will know where to find the best cheap eats and, for sure, they will keep coming back for more if the place is clean and safe. A good sign is if the food stall has long queues, which means the food they serve is safe and delicious, especially when you see moms with their children.
Hopefully, these quick tips will help you avoid getting sick and still encourage you to try the local street food. Just be sure to drink safe, clean water, pack your meds, and consult a doctor in case you experience severe food poisoning or stomach illness.
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