Enter Your Email To Receive Our Awesome Newsletter
and stand a chance to win great prizes!

Video Credit: The Wise Traveller

As you go about your daily life as an expat in Asia, you’ve likely been tempted by the enticing aromas of street food wafting through the air – after all, it’s a part of the local culture that is not to be missed.

Whether you’ve been hesitant to sample it or have already gobbled it with gusto, there are some tips to keep in mind that will help you survive while satisfying your cravings for street food when you travel.

The Wise Traveller

Call it what you like – from Delhi belly to Montezuma's revenge – you may literally be taking your life into your hands when you consume food at one of the many "curb de cuisine" operations in Asia.

Food poisoning can happen to anyone anywhere, and when afflicted it will definitely knock you off your feet for a few days at least.

The Wise Traveller

Bugs can run rampant in that delicious looking meal clutched in your hands, from viruses (rotavirus) to bacteria (Escherichia coli and Campylobacter) plus nasty parasites and fungus.

It's a world of living organisms wishing to invade your gastro tract resulting in agonizing cramping bouts of vomiting and diarrhea leading to dehydration. Take note that it isn't always street food that will have you exploding from both ends, as some five-star restaurants can be culprits as well.

The Wise Traveller

Below are a few tips to follow if you don't want to end up living 24/7 in your WC or in a hospital with a saline drip in your arm:

Go fresh produce market gawking even if you have to get up when the rooster crows. Food stalls at the markets will have the freshest produce that is sourced straight from the market. Usually, these stalls are buzzing with hungry local shoppers or shopkeepers, so head to the busiest one, even if you don't know what is on offer.

Frequent the street vendors that specialize in one or two items and only eat what is cooked in front of you. Politely refuse already cooked items that have been sitting on display and ask for a fresh one to be cooked on the spot for you.

The Wise Traveller

Extra: Why not try some local foods that are way off the traditional menu?

When on the food hunt make a beeline for where the locals eat and at the times of the day when they eat, because this is when food will be freshly prepared to cater to the turnover. The long lines with women and children patiently waiting in them are a good indicator that the dished up food is not just tolerated by male cast-iron stomachs.

Watch the action before ordering to determine how the food is prepared. If it's a lone operator, check that hands are cleaned after handling cash. Two-person operations where one handles the money and the other the ingredients are a safer option. Take note of how the ingredients are stored: open to the elements or covered and maybe on ice.

The Wise Traveller

Don't be afraid to spit it out, discretely of course. If the texture, the smell or the taste of something seems off, then it probably is.

Disinfect the eating utensils that may be given to you with sanitizer or disinfectant wipes before diving into the meal. Alternatively, dive right in with your hands – only if your hands are clean of course.

Don't eat the salad, if you can't drink the water. Salads are generally not traditional foods in poor countries, as raw fruit and vegetables can be affected by contaminated water. The only way to get your daily fruit dosage is to buy fruit that has to be peeled and peel it yourself, such as bananas, pineapples, pawpaws and mangoes.

Forget about being a carnivore and join the veggie souls. Some Asian countries excel in their vegetarian cuisine that is often referred to as "monks’ food". Once you have seen how meat for sale is treated in poor countries, you will understand why many travellers choose to forgo their favourite protein source and dine luxuriously on beans, nuts, cheeses, plus whatever else is on offer.

Stick to bottled water and check that the seal of the bottle has not been broken when purchasing it.

Don't suck the ice, in fact always have your drinks without ice, as there is every chance it's made from the water that you shouldn't be drinking.

Eat local produce, then you don't have to worry about long transportation routes that could spoil the food. You will know what is local fare if you get up at the crack of dawn and go to the markets.

Above all, trust your gut instincts!

The Wise Traveller provides a unique annual subscription inclusive of full comprehensive multi-trip travel insurance, private hotel discounts, car rental discounts, airport lounge access options and a growing range of travel products and services

Comments

Rated
7.5
Richard
ELITE
789 comments
6 September 2019
As you go about your daily life as an expat in Asia, you’ve likely been tempted by the enticing aromas of street food wafting through the air – after all, it’s a part of the local culture that is not to be missed.
3  
0  
3  

Replies

Rated
8
Ronnie
CONNOISSEUR
94 comments
4 September 2019
As a member of The Wise Traveller you receive or have access to a growing range of travel related products and services including the all-important travel Insurance. Check out the plans here: the prices are some of the best we have been exposed to on the www.expatchoice.asia network https://thewisetraveller.com/140.php Members join for a variety of reasons whether its for The Wise Traveller travel insurance inclusion or discounts to hotels and car rentals and then quickly realise your membership provides much more.
3  
0  
3  

Replies

 
x
x