How to Eat Safely Overseas

By Kristen Pope, July 15, 2015

Jodi Ettenberg was high in the Bolivian altiplano when she realized her mistake of eating a half-cooked llama empanada. “I was sick for days, mostly at 5,000 meters,” she said. Ettenberg is the author of “The Food Traveler’s Handbook,” and she is well-versed in the art of finding the safest and most interesting foods to eat. She makes her living traveling the world leading food tours and writing about worldwide cuisine and travel at LegalNomads.com and JodiEats.com.

Even the most savvy traveler can succumb to the occasional food-borne illness, but with a bit of caution, you can reduce your chances of suffering a case of Delhi belly on your next overseas trip. Follow these tips from Ettenberg to hopefully avoid your own case of food-borne misery during an international event:

Only Eat Fully-Cooked Food: “This should be a no-brainer, but it’s not! Sometimes you just get too hungry; other times you don’t realize until it’s too late.”

Dine When the Locals Do: “Pay attention to meal times. A culprit for illness is often when a dish or sauce has been sitting out all day and has gathered its share of bacteria. Even if 11 a.m. isn’t your lunch time, it’s wise to do as the locals do and eat when the food is freshly made.”

Peel It or Forget It: “If you’re in a place with questionable water, aim for fruit that has been peeled.”

Eat Street Food Where the Locals Do: “Street food is safest in cultures where it is the norm. If it’s the normal meal time and the stall is busy, and the people making the food are not touching raw ingredients and money without protecting their hands, chances are you should be okay.”

Photo Credit: Jodi Ettenberg

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