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Eating In Foreign Countries: A Basic Guide

One of the best parts of traveling is getting to taste the local cuisine in different parts of the world.  It can be fascinating to learn about the different ways that cultures use the same ingredients in exciting ways to create unique flavors.

However, along with the adventure of trying new foods also comes certain risks.  Not all countries have the same sanitary conditions as first world countries. If you’re not careful, you can get very ill from eating in the wrong place.

Therefore, it’s important to follow these tips when trying new foods in a foreign country.

Do Your Research

The most important thing to do before you even get on the plane is to do a bit of research.  The same rules don’t apply to all countries. In Mexico, for example, visitors are advised never to drink water from the tap.  Be careful substituting beer or margaritas for water, however, especially if you’ve got a rental car. Driving drunk in Mexico results in the same consequences as getting a DUI back home.

Sanitation isn’t so much of an issue in many countries where there are strict laws.  If you are traveling somewhere which is known for questionable cleanliness, then you should probably create an itinerary ahead of time.

Research the best tourist-recommended restaurants and decide where you plan on eating ahead of time. This step eliminates having to worry about whether you’re about to get food poisoning or not when you order a meal.

Learn What Foods Are In The Local Language

When traveling to a country which has a language different from your own, it’s a good idea to get to know what words mean which foods.  You want to be careful about ordering the wrong thing.

This is particularly important if you have any food allergies or aversions.  Writing down a few helpful words to carry in your pocket may be very handy when in a foreign restaurant.

Use Logic

Try to use your instinct when deciding whether food looks like it’s edible or not.  If it’s a food stand in extremely hot weather conditions with no refrigerator in sight serving meat, you probably want to go somewhere else.

If you see someone accepting money from customers and touching the food immediately after without washing their hands, this is also a bad sign.

Carry Hand Sanitizer

In some countries, you may be eating with your hands more than usual.  Therefore, it’s a good idea to carry hand sanitizer in case you’re not near soap and water.

Avoid Raw Produce

Experts recommend avoiding fruits and vegetables which haven’t been cooked.  It may have been washed in contaminated water. Cooking the vegetables kills all of the germs in high heat.