We need to eat to survive but not all food is created equal. In addition to some food being terrible for us in regards to nutrition, some food should be only eaten by locals who are used to whatever went into making it. Kind of unfair, isn’t it?
There are a lot of great types of food out there that people travel from all over the world to try but they shouldn’t if they want to avoid getting sick. Many countries have perfectly fine standards of sanitation and food preparation, such as most European nations and North America, but travelling through South America, Africa or Southeast Asia may not be so harmless. Do your research before you go to be sure you know what is safe to eat to avoid catching something nasty, or at the very least, serious bowel problems.
“What? Fruit is our friend! I love fruit – screw you!” – if this is your reaction to this warning, then uh, go right ahead and eat all the fresh local fruit you possibly can. In fact, eat only fresh fruit because it’s not like that’s bad for you at all, even if it’s stuff you eat every day. What will likely happen is your stomach will hurt a lot, you’ll get too much sugar and later on, when you’re strapped to the toilet emptying a slurry of nastiness, just think back to my warning and curse my name. Please do so – it gives me power.
I know what you’re thinking – I have an iron gut. Nothing can keep me down and there’s nothing I enjoy more than trying the hottest food I can find. Okay fine, maybe you’re the exception to the rule, but generally if you are looking to not have a wasted day or pain or have your ass on fire, spicy food may want to be sampled lightly. It’s not that your mouth can’t handle it, it’s that your insides aren’t used to whatever different ingredient it’s ingesting that is different enough from the standard fare to make your life miserable.
It’s almost criminal that food on the street is so good but oh so wrong for you in so many ways. On top of there being a lot of just plain unhealthy food sold in this way, a great number of cheaper travel destinations will offer this kind of food with the added benefit of lax sanitary conditions or fun filled parasites. If you were staying in a place for a long period of time your body could get used to what’s in the food and you’d have no problems, but for a few days or even a week, it’s best to just avoid it.
There are plenty of exotic foods on the streets of Asia. Some of it might not seem like it would be agreeable to enjoyable upon first glance, but you never know until you try it. Bangkok has an incredible selection of street foods, and you can get some quality local food if you know where to look. Check out an online travel guide when visiting Bangkok and read some reviews of street vendors to give yourself an informed decision. It can’t hurt to try something new every once in a while, right?
Advice as old as time itself – don’t drink the water. There are many countries or regions within a country that just don’t have safe drinking water due to sanitary conditions or any number of other issues. This is true for food washed in the water as well, so fresh produce should be avoided as well. Again, just like with anything, you can get used to it if you are there long enough but all inclusive vacations or flight stopovers are the worst times to try and see how strong your constitution is.