Eating abroad is one of the greatest pleasures when travelling. Food plays a crucial role in every country, island, or region’s culture, both historically and in the present day. Ingredients are different, cooking methods are different even meal etiquette can be different. If anything is going to make a food aficionado out of you it’s more than likely to be travel abroad. Assuming you have rented your car from a company like Zest Car Rental, you should be ready to move from restaurant to restaurant.
However, alongside all the exciting newness of foreign food come risks. ‘Travellers Tummy’ is one of the most common ailments known to afflict travellers and holiday makers when eating abroad. Contrary to common misconception, it is not always unsanitary methods of cooking that causes it. Due to the different climates that produce is grown in, different bacteria can develop within the food itself. Our digestive systems are used to the bacteria we encounter in the day to day ingredients we eat at home. However, with foreign food comes foreign bacteria. These are mostly harmless but it may take your body a few days to grow accustomed to digesting it.
In order to help you eat safe when travelling abroad we’ve come up with our top tips to sidestep traveller’s tummy. It’s mostly common sense, so just remember to keep your wits about you and trust your instincts when deciding on dinner.
Don’t drink tap water.
This one is an age old piece of advice. You cannot always be 100% certain of the water supply therefore it’s best to avoid it and any other cold beverages prepared with it. To make it safe, you can boil it for a few minutes or purchase a water bottle with an in-built filter.
For the same reason avoid taking ice in your drinks.
Cook it, boil it, or peel it.
This old saying pretty much speaks for itself.
Stay away from raw fruits and veggies that haven’t been peeled, as well as salads. If you’re ordering cooked food make sure it’s piping hot and order meat well-done. Be conscious of eggs and seafood as these are often cooked on a low temperature which isn’t hot enough to kill off bacteria.
Unpasteurised dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt are also best avoided if you are unsure.
Follow the crowds.
An empty restaurant should ring alarm bells. Even locals can get ill and will know which places to avoid. Similarly, don’t assume that just because your food has been prepared in a kitchen doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat. You can’t monitor what goes on behind closed doors.
In the same vein, some street vendors may be more reputable than you first assume. In this instance, ingredients are usually fresh, you can see the food being prepared, and judge the cleanliness of the vendor with your own eyes.
Don’t be afraid of spice.
If you’re travelling in Asia don’t be afraid of spice. These are usually used for flavour as opposed to heat and some contain anti-bacterial properties and act as healthy digestive aids.
Become familiar with chilies, turmeric and paprika and seek out dishes that include them. They’re often easy to pick out thanks to spice colouring them a nice bright orange or red.
Acidic fruits possess similar properties. Anything in the citrus group such as pineapples is usually a safe bet.
So, there you have it. Remember these simple precautions and you’ll be on your way to gastronomical heaven! However, don’t let them prevent you from trying new and unusual things; travel abroad is all about broadening your horizons after all. Not to mention the fact you need to keep up your strength! Travel can be a tiring affair, and not eating enough will make you feel sluggish and play havoc with your immune system.
Eat well when you’re away and you’ll be on your way to a fabulous trip!
Written by Jessica Langlands