Traveling comes with many perks, and one of them is the delicious cuisine that you get to sample from all over the world. The paella in Spain, the enchanting street food throughout Thailand, and that jerk chicken in Jamaica… one thing is for certain, sampling the local goods won’t disappoint even the pickiest of foodies.
However, there are occasions when your dinner abroad leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Wherever you’re heading, you need to be sure that you keep a few food safety tips in mind, if you don’t want to be cursed by a case of Montezuma’s Revenge. Here’s what you should know.
Always drink bottled water
Drinking tap water is something that we’re all pretty familiar with in the Western world, but when you head out on your travels, it’s definitely one of those things that you should avoid at all costs. Always purchase safe, bottled water, and don’t accept ice cubes in your drink in developing countries. The water can contain a variety of bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illness, so it simply isn’t worth the risk.
Avoid salads, fruits, and uncooked vegetables
When you’re in a beautiful, exotic country, it can be pretty tempting to purchase some delicious fruit from a street vendor. However, in some cases, the fruits and vegetables on offer have been washed with the same contaminated water, which isn’t good news. Only eat vegetables if you know that they’ve been cooked properly, and opt for that apple only if you’ve washed it yourself in safe clean water.
Wash your hands regularly
OK, we know what you’re thinking. It’s pretty obvious that you should keep your hands clean, right? However, you should be washing your hands thoroughly before and after you eat, if you want to stop the spread of any infections. Washing your hands after you’ve been to the bathroom is something that you should be doing anyway, but we’ll tell you again just in case you’ve forgotten. Mom-style lecture over.
Be alert when eating street food
Although some healthcare professionals advise people to avoid street food altogether, we’ve got some good news, foodies; you may not have to say goodbye to this delicious (and affordable) gem just yet. Before you purchase food from a vendor, check their hygiene practices, and see whether they wear gloves, wash their hands, and store raw meat correctly. It may seem excessive, but it’s a good way to avoid a nasty illness.
Check that food is piping hot, and cooked properly
Avoiding food-related illnesses is a lot easier when you make sure that your food is piping hot, so you can see that it’s only just been cooked, and that it hasn’t been lying around somewhere for a while. If you’re eating meat, make sure that it is fully cooked before you chow down. A lot of travelers do, when in developing countries, temporarily embrace the veggie life when dining, as contaminated meat is a major contributor to illness.
Keep these things in mind when you go out there traveling, and you should be able to stay on top form (whilst still enjoying the best local food spots)!