If you're not mindful of what you're eating overseas, there's a chance you'll come down with a not-fun case of diarrhea... food poisoning... or, worse, a life-threatening disease like typhoid fever.
When dining out, it is best to stick to food that is fully and freshly cooked; food in factory-sealed packaging; beverages in factory-sealed bottles and cans; and hot beverages like coffee or tea made with fully-boiled water.
If the Local Tap Water Isn't Safe to Drink...
In countries where the tap water isn't safe to drink, you'll have to be uber diligent.
If you've never noticed the major role water plays in the foods and drinks we enjoy every day, you definitely will once you journey to a locale where the water isn't safe to drink.
Don’t even think about having a fresh salad! Or ice with your drink. Or soft-cooked eggs. Or juice or milk that isn’t pasteurized. Or soda from a soda fountain (wherein soda syrup is mixed with local water).
When it comes to fresh fruit, only eat that which you can, and have, peeled yourself—like oranges and bananas. Just be sure to rinse them with purified water before you unpeel.
And when it comes to street food . . . some of the best food in the world is street food, so instead of foregoing it altogether, my rules of thumb are:
- I only eat street food that is fully and freshly cooked.
- I only buy from street vendors who keep their stalls, carts, gondolas, etc., clean and neat, as it gives me greater assurance that they are more diligent in selecting and storing food for safe consumption.
- I eat street food sparingly and only when I really, really want to try something—because it looks and smells so good! But I know that in doing so, there is ALWAYS A RISK of getting sick, so I never travel without antidiarrheal medicine. Never.