For many travelers, sampling local cuisine is one of the highlights of visiting a new country. If you're seeking an authentic experience, exploring street food can be a great starting point. However, it's important to be mindful of certain risks associated with street food. Here are five tips to ensure your street food adventure doesn't result in an unpleasant stomach upset!
Wash Your Hands:
Before pointing fingers at local street vendors, take responsibility for your own hygiene. Prior to indulging in street food, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. This simple practice can go a long way in preventing potential illnesses.
Use Your Senses:
Engage your senses to assess the cleanliness and organization of the food stalls. Check if the stall appears well-maintained, with a clear separation between raw meats and other items like fruits and vegetables. Trust your nose too—spoiled meat has an unpleasant odor regardless of your location. It's also advisable to inspect any meat you've bitten into.
Additionally, observe where the locals are eating. They often have insider knowledge about the best street food spots.
Consider the Water Source:
While washing food is important, it's equally crucial to consider the source of the water used for cleaning. Be cautious of fruits and vegetables that might have been washed in local water if it's not safe for drinking. Similarly, keep in mind that ice cubes are often made with water of varying cleanliness standards.
Opt for Whole Fruits and Vegetables:
To avoid potential water-related issues, choose whole fruits and vegetables that can be peeled. Pre-cut and peeled produce can provide a breeding ground for bacteria, so it's wise to exercise caution in this regard.
Observe Food Preparation:
When selecting a food stall, take note of the cooking process. Large quantities of pre-cooked food on display may not be an encouraging sign. Instead, look for places where you can witness the food being freshly prepared. This way, you can ensure the food is served fresh and minimize the risk of consuming stale or improperly stored items.
As a general rule while dining abroad, remember the mantra: "Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it!"
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