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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

Eating and exploring new cultures through food and tastes is one of the most exciting things about travelling. But trying new foods doesn’t come without risks. Every smart traveller should know which foods to avoid while on the road.

Tap water

Bahama Mama

Water that’s been contaminated is probably the biggest reason travellers get sick while on holidays. There are a million names for it but it can cause anything from a minor case of diarrhoea to something much more serious like cholera. Skip the whole “when in Rome” mentality when it comes to drinking water. Research your destination in advance and when in doubt, stick to sealed bottled water and bottled beers, juices and wines.

Tap water also includes ice. If tap water is a concern where you’re travelling best to just avoid ice altogether even in that deliciously temping ice-blended cocktail!

Top 5 summer cocktails from around the world

Raw foods


If you won’t drink the tap water in your destination, best to avoid raw fruits and vegetables too. Chances are they’ve been washed with unsafe water and while cooking kills off pathogens on fruits and veg, that green leafy salad you’re thinking of ordering if probably not safe to eat. Rule of thumb, “boil it, peel it, cook it or forget it.” If you’re aching for something fresh, only eat those that need to be peeled to consume like bananas, oranges, etc.


Flies are inevitable when dining outdoors. When these pesky creatures land on food, they contaminate it in the most unappealing ways that we’d rather not go into detail about. Just remember, if you’re dining outdoors at a buffet or at a street food vendor, scan the area for flies. If there are a lot around, it’s probably best you seek out another place to dine.

Hot, hot, hot!


Get used to enjoying your food piping hot. A smart traveller avoids foods that have been cooked but have cooled down to room temperature. Eat at places that prepare food made-to-order and make sure it’s piping hot when it arrives at your table. Food-borne bacteria thrive in cold foods warmer than 4°C and in hot foods not heated to 60°C or warmer. Also, steer clear of food that is kept out in sunlight, especially at street vendors and at picnics.

Have any other foods and food safety tips to add to ours? Have you ever gotten “Delhi belly” while travelling?

Imgs: beija, laurelkate, oksidor / Flickr cc.

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