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A guide to eating street food safely


It was either the orange juice bought from a souk stall or a suspect bottle of water from somewhere in the Atlas Mountains. Either way, the result was five days in a dingy hotel with staff that refused to provide much needed extra loo rolls. 

 

If you’d rather spend your week in Marrakech exploring its wonders rather than fighting your hotel for single ply pink toilet paper, keep reading.

 

 

 

ACCLIMATISE

Dan spent the first two weeks of his two month India trip violently ill. On purpose. His logic, not endorsed by any medical professional, was that getting Delhi Belly at the start of the trip would set him up for the rest of it. 

 

While Dan’s method is a bit extreme, consider giving your body time to get used to the local food from ‘safe’ providers before jumping straight into street food they say after you arrive.

 

SCRUTINISE

Are there loads of insects flying around a stall? Do the utensils being used (or the person using them) look like they’ve never seen soap? Is the person cooking look like s/he is sick? Move on to a healthier looking stall or prepare to befall the fate of those around you.

 

BE A SHEEP

As cool as it is to be an individual, it’s probably best not to be the only one eating at a stall. Not only do locals know where the best eats are, they also know which ones are the safest.

 

So if there are two stalls side by side and one is bustling with locals and the other isn’t. Go with the locals. And if there are kids there too, all the better!

 

CHANNEL YOUR INNER VEGETARIAN

Meat on the street may have had a sketchy journey and storage system before making its way to your mouth, so exercise caution. Or choose a veggie option.

 

DEMAND FRESH

Fresh juice on a hot day while you’re walking all over the place can feel like a blessing, but unless it’s pressed in front of you, you can’t guarantee that a bit of local water or ice hasn’t been added. 

 

And if you want some fresh fruit, get it cut right in front of you. Pre-cut pieces may be sprayed owing water to keep them looking fresh.

 

SKIP THE ICE

As much as an ice cold drink can cool you down as you sweat through your travels, passing on  sometimes sketchy ice can mean that the brig icy relief doesn’t end in days spent in the loo.

 

THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PARANOIA AND CAUTION

You don’t have to miss out on all the local tasty treats that await you on your travels. Just don’t let them be your undoing. A little bit of caution goes a long way, but don’t miss out on everything just because you’re scared.

 


Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 28 May 2019

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