One of the most authentic ways to experience a culture is undeniably through food. After all, food plays a major role in defining societies. However, while you are enthusiastically searching for local markets, street stalls, food festivals, restaurants or hole-in-the-walls to make your visit more memorable, do stay mindful of food cleanliness and hygiene. One food poisoning episode could ruin your hard earned vacation. Here are a few tips to avoid food poisoning:
Online reviews hosted by apps like TripAdvisor, OpenTable, OpenRice and Yelp can help you find delicious, authentic and reliable food establishments. Make sure your chosen eatery has a positive business reputation and good reviews for your peace of mind. You may also ask for recommendations from your travel agents and local guides for first-hand information.
These establishments need to maintain their reputation in order to gain repeat customers and continue getting great reviews. As such, they generally maintain a relatively higher standard of food preparation. Food also moves out of their kitchens faster. This means fresher daily ingredients, thus reducing the chance of being served stale produce.
Budget or environmentally conscious travellers will often bring their own water containers for refills at restaurants and along their journey. Although this may help save some money, there is no certainty that the water is safe to drink. Your health outweighs any cost savings. Do not risk your health. Buy bottled water instead.
Street vendors in many developing countries are not subjected to health inspection. The possibility of neglecting food sanitation may be higher. This could mean the types of food they offer may sometimes be of lower quality and health standards.
In developing countries, consuming raw food, cut fruits and ice are common causes of food poisoning. Raw vegetables washed in tap water could still be risky. Preparation of cut fruits may be doubtful (dirty chopping boards, unwashed knives) and fruits are usually displayed uncovered, thus exposed to dust and insects. Ice made from tap (or other unknown sources of) water is again a big no-no.
Do your food safari the smart way by purchasing a travel insurance plan that can cover your medical expenses in case something goes wrong during your trip abroad. Travel insurance may also come in handy if you need to be evacuated out of the destination for treatment.
Chubb Travel Insurance offers extensive single and annual coverage plans for individuals and families. Hospitalisation for severe food poisoning while abroad can burn a hole in your pocket. Get covered prior to your trip.
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