Let’s be real, eating any sort of street food while traveling the globe is a health risk. But it is a risk worth taking. Some of the most amazing food you will ever eat will be the cheap meals from grandmothers cooking their old family recipes on the roadside. Street food is where you will experience the authentic taste of the country you are visiting, and typically it is easy on the pocket, so it’s a great option for budget travelers.
A surprising fact is that street food can often be fresher than a meal at a more expensive restaurant. Many street vendors do not have refrigeration. Therefore, it is likely they purchase food from the markets daily and prepare the food fresh daily as well, rather than have it sitting in a kitchen fridge for long periods of time.
However, eating any food comes with health risks. Especially when you are traveling to a foreign country and your system may not be acquainted with the diverse food styles, ingredients or preparation techniques. So here are some quick tips to help you survive eating all the delectable street foods of the world, without getting sick!
Probiotics: Take probiotic supplements at least one week before traveling and continue while you are abroad. Probiotics will help replenish and strengthen your stomachs good bacteria and will act as the first defense against any unwanted bacteria that may cause you to get sick.
Eat Where The Locals Are Eating: If you see a busy street vendor with many locals, this is a good sign. Firstly, it must be yummy food! Secondly, the turn over of food will be high, so the food will be fresh.
Water: Untreated or unfiltered water can be the first thing to make you sick. Ensure if water is being used that it is heated to boiling temperature. Usually coffee and tea are fine as it is well heated. However, if tap water is added to a fresh juice, or is used to wash salad leaves this could cause you problems. The same goes for cutlery, make sure cutlery is clean and dry before tucking in! Any stray droplets of water could be a culprit! Lastly, the common well-known tip, avoid ice where possible.
Wash Your Hands: If you fall sick, you might first blame the food vendor. But what if you forgot to wash your hands? This is actually a more common problem then you would think. To ensure you are eating with clean hands make sure to bring hand wipes or hand sanitiser in your daypack and clean your hands before eating.
Fruit You Can Peel: Avoid fruits without a peelable skin such as grapes and apples. It is advisable to stick to fruits that you can peel yourself and there is such a huge variety of yummy fruits with a skin. Oranges, bananas, pineapples, and mangos should all be safe if peeled for you.
Activated Charcoal Tablets: This is a great health tip for any avid traveler. If you do start to feel an upset tummy, take Activated Charcoal tablets. Activated Charcoal works by absorbing toxins and removing any unwanted substances from the body through your natural digestive system. It really is an effective remedy and can stop an upset tummy in its tracks.
Just Eat!: Be smart and conscious of where you are eating, but don’t let the fear of getting sick stop you from enjoying the flavors of the world!