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The highs and lows of street food What’s shiok and what’s not!
One of the best ways to get to know a country and a culture is to hang out with the locals. And where’s the best place to do this? The neighbourhood’s street food stalls.
Trying street food gives you a real taste of what the country is all about. It is often the best, most authentic and freshest food. The ingredients have usually been bought at market that morning and cooked using recipes handed down over the generations.
Still need convincing?
The ever-hungry team at Budget Direct Insurance offers expert tips to will help you get the best out of the experience.
- Unlike a restaurant you can see what is happening and how your food is being cooked. Look at who is in the queue, spot where a mother is taking her kids to eat, a taxi driver on a quick food fix may not be so discerning.
- Make sure the food vendor isn’t touching money and then food. Paper money has reportedly more germs than the average toilet. Make sure the cutlery is clean.
- If you have a dietary condition, don’t let it put you off. Carry a card with your requirements in the local language or have it written on your phone. In many countries chicken isn’t considered meat so write “no meat, no chicken”.
- Eat when it is busy, the turnover of food is important and means it hasn’t been sitting about growing bacteria. Eat as soon as it’s cooked.
- Make sure any ice added to drinks is from safe water. If in doubt leave it out and only eat fruit that has to be peeled.
- Politely observe what the locals are paying. You may pay slightly over the odds, but never show your whole wallet or accept being ripped off.
- Saying hello and thank you in the local language will make you friends and ensure good service.
- Trust your instincts. Books like The World’s Best Street Food by the Lonely Planet can give you some great advice, but things change and street hawkers move streets. You don’t want to be searching all day for one particular stall and get there to find 20 other travellers in line.
If you get a sore tummy on holiday
You can get food poisoning from any source of contaminated food, be it a 5-star hotel or street food, so this is advice for every occasion.
- Rest up and see a local doctor as they will be familiar will any common local viruses.
- Hydrate as much as possible. Mix up some rehydration sachets to give you back lost salts and minerals. If you don’t have any go to the local pharmacy.
- Try to hydrate with clean water or coconut water, not sugary rehydrating sport drinks.
- When you are ready, try a first meal of rice (or bread) and bananas – something very simple. Build it up from there and avoid fatty, spicy food for a while.
- Try not to take over the counter medicines that work to bung you up in an instant, unless you are desperate and have to travel!
One book, highly recommended for its good advice and it’s witty take on avoiding diarrhea, bites and dehydration is How To S*** Around the World. (We apologize for any offence; this is the true title of the book!)
It is written by Dr. Wilson-Howarth an accomplished traveller and respected physician (we suspect the title of her book is not one of her medical terms!) With special top tips for children and the elderly traveller to avoid getting sick, the book will certainly be a talking point for you and other travellers when you get it out on the plane, train or automobile!
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