FOOD is life
A frequent question I have heard a lot recently is “what food can I eat abroad?”
If this is a question you have been pondering or asking, well my friend, you are in luck, you ask and I shall provide in the travel savviest of manners!
Some people travel just for food, these kind of travellers call themselves foodies, they specifically travel the would to experience the delicious, exquisite, cultural cuisine each and every country provides.
In fact along with the thousands of books Lonely Planet has created, they have one all about food trails around the world. “Taste the worlds most exciting local cuisines”(Lonely Planet) it says.
Food and travel goes together like two peas in a pod.
BUT sadly so does Asia and Deli belly.
It’s inevitable, it’s going to happen at some-point, but there’s ways to reduce this risk, but you’re just going to have to accept that it’s inevitable and it’s going to happen at some point, our fragile body’s just can’t hack it. Just make sure you have the right supplies for when it does happen, I covered this in my last blog A Happy Healthy Savvy Traveler.
NOW, food is LIFE, quite literally and it’s one of the main things that changes per country and culture, it’s one way of truly experiencing each and every culture. Food is amazing with the smallest of spice or alternative cooking method it can taste so amazing and yet so different. Would I consider myself a foodie? Quite possibly, I’m not a food snob at all though, in fact one of my favourite meals is pasta, cheese and ketchup (yeah don’t judge), nonetheless I do get excited about the prospect of trying new food. I especially love how food incorporates your 5 senses, the look, taste, smell, texture, everything the fact you can hear the chef’s shouting at each other and the whole hustle and bustle of street food. This is food, and
IT’S ALL CRAZY AND I LOVE IT.
So, with this exciting, ever growing, changing and always extremely differing foodie experiences, we constantly indulge ourselves in, what advice can I offer you?
A lot really, a lot of people are scared of getting ill from food aboard, whilst travelling and preparing to embark you also tend to hear lots of differing messages about consuming food abroad, they tend to be very contridictive and confusing. Hear are a few things I’ve heard over the years:
* Go veggie whilst traveling- don’t eat meat.
* Don’t eat vegetables abroad because they are cooked in dirty water.
* Don’t eat salad because they’re washed in water.
* Only eat in restaurants.
* Don’t drink the tap water.
* Don’t eat fruit abroad.
* Don’t eat plane food.
* Only eat plain food.
* Don’t consume ice.
Anyway the list goes on, my point is, what do you do? and who do you listen to?
Well some of these are worth listening to, but most definitely not all.
You can eat, meat, veggies, fruit and most food, but its mainly down to the environment and using your head. The best advice I have is:
Eat where the locals eat,
The turn over of food will be so high that nothing will be sitting around getting contaminated waiting to be eaten.
The one time I got food poisoning in India, was on my last night when I ate in our hotel restaurant, after three weeks of consuming street food three/four times a day, eating in home stays and local food watering holes, I got sick in the posh hotel my mum treated us to on our last night.
Eat the local cuisine, they know how to cook it, don’t under any circumstances order any British or American meals in Asia or any other countries in fact. Purely because they don’t know how to cook it, they don’t have the correct ingredients and I can bet your bottom dollar that it will all have been sat around in the kitchen for quite a while, as no one orders it often enough for it to be fresh. Just don’t do it, it’s not worth it.
Street food, EAT IT! If you can see it being cooked in front of you and it hasn’t been sat on the side of the street for ages, eat it. Street food is some of the freshest, most delicious and flavoursome food items you will ever come across. In India I loved eating their procora, it’s made all over the place, all the time and its absolutely delicious.
If India’s on your list to go to, try it! In fact I have a little list for you to try, so if your off there drop me a message :)
Fruit’s and salad’s
If you're in Asia, you can eat the fruit you can peel, the problem with fruit is your going to want to wash it, which means running it under the tap, which in turn is water you can’t drink anyway, unless you want to use your bottled clean water just to clean fruit, just buy fruit you can peel.
Same goes for salad really, your going to want to clean it, therefore running it under a tap which you can’t do, so you either wash it again with your drinking water or you just avoid it.
Ice Ice Baby
You have two different types of ice cubes, completely clear cubes and smashed, cracked, kind of opaque ones. Completely clear- means they are made with clean, filtered, boiled and good water, you can consume these. Opaque cubes- essentially means they’re made with tap water - you don’t want to consume these, in-fact you don’t even want these in your drinks. Cocktails, Ice coffees, I’m sorry but you probably want to give these a miss, unless you're in a holiday resort and a restaurant aimed at tourists it’s not worth it.
When I was in Cambodia, I saw them driving around a little pickup truck, with the biggest cube of ice I have ever seen on the back, the restaurants and cafe’s would come out hack off a big chuck, scrap it into a bucket and use that for the day. Very interesting to watch.
I’ve met a lot of people who’ve got very ill from ice cubes, it’s very easy to forget about the ice situation and especially when you’re hot, you’re bothered and you’re going to want to have a nice ice cold drink, that’s when it will catch you out. Stay Savvy.
Vegetables & Meat
Meat- funnily enough a loose term, if something has a label on it saying meat on it, stand back and say what? Surely it’s not meat? It actually makes me laugh when I see this on something, for example, like a meat wrap, like just what? Not a chicken wrap, beef, bacon, like a specified meat, just the unknown term of MEAT. I’ve just got no words for this term when I see it on food.
Anyway I digress, you can eat anything that’s been cooked, due to the high temperatures killing off any bacteria in/on the ingredients, so boiled vegetables are absolutely fine, and so is all meats abroad. In fact you can eat whatever meat you wish, you will notice whilst traveling you may come an otherwise unexpected range of meats available, it’s up to you whether you want to try them and your morals there’s nothing physically wrong with any cooked meat.
Long story short I love ‘Idiot abroad’ the tv series with Karl Pilkington, in one of his episodes he visits a whaling village in Antartica and has dinner with one of the family’s. He has a lovely time, but he has the funniest of observation about their lifestyle and their eating lifestyle. ‘When we eat chicken for dinner, we chuck away the carcass and no one know’s a thing, no one know’s what we’ve had for dinner or anything. Here they have whale for dinner and they can’t just chuck the carcass away, they have to live with it hanging around for years to come, they have to make roundabouts out of them, sculptures anything and everyone knows what you’ve eaten’. So funny, but so true.
I do try to follow this though,
“if it’s not farmed don’t eat it” wise words of my Dad.
One thing to research before departing on your adventure is the country’s customs regarding food, some countries interpret it as rude not to finish your plate, but then others regard it as rude to finish your plate. Therefore, it’s worth checking the customs of the country before you visit. I will write a blog on this in time to come, because I feel its quite interesting and worth knowing, but for now I think that’s enough reading for one day.
Ask yourself what’s the weirdest foods you have ever tried?
Mine are: Kangaroo tail, alligator, a grub, snail, bat, chicken head, etc
I think it’s important to try lots of new foods abroad, especially when you’re traveling, try not to fall into the routine of getting the same thing every time (this is very easy), try to eat something new on the menu as often as you can. When I was in Indonesia I fell into the routine of eating Mie Goreng and Nasi Goreng every time, therefore I decided to make myself get a something new every time, so I would try the full array on the menu, and WOW, I couldn’t have made a better decision for myself, I ended up eating an absolutely amazing array of food that I wouldn’t have tried and just overlooked.
Thanks for taking the time to have a read, in next weeks blog I will be covering customs, the coolest, strangest and wackiest ones I’ve come across, what ones you’ve come across? Message me, I’d love to know, some of them truly blow my mind!
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Stay Savvy for now!
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