In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Is Eating Street Food Safe?
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
Grilled crab and
seafood, Bangkok, Thailand
Due to our restaurant background, one of Billyís and my greatest
joys in traveling is the eating of street food. We canít imagine
going to faraway locations where everything is pulsating with life
and exotic new flavors and only eating off a sanitized menu at a
name brand hotel. Why limit ourselves and our experiences out of an
exaggerated sense of caution?
We arenít being careless about food and water choices; rather, we have two
decades of world travel experience and want to share our perspective with you on
No matter where one travels, even from NYC to Los Angeles, there are different
bacteria in the water, air and food than what we encounter ďat home.Ē Our bodies
react to these as if they are invaders and we could develop headaches, nausea,
lack of energy or extra activity in our intestines.
tacos at a food cart, Sahuayo, Mexico
Itís not always the food
doesn't always mean the food, ice or water isn't clean, it might have more to do
with someone's personal immune system and their response to the introduction to
different bacteria. If one is traveling and finds themselves in windy weather,
one can develop stuffy sinuses, a headache or an upset stomach. Again, this may
have nothing to do with the food at all, but rather has more to do with what is
being blown around in the air. This is especially true if there is livestock
nearby or if there are a lot of street dogs in your vicinity. Some countries
have the custom of people spitting in the street so you also have that to
consider. So to be clear, windy weather is a contributing factor to intestinal
do choose to eat at a street stall or sidewalk cafť, itís important to find one
that is busy and one that cooks what you want right on the spot. This will
assure you that the food is being turned over regularly and isnít sitting around
Dining on the street, Saigon, Vietnam
normal circumstances if there is going to be an uncomfortable reaction to a new
place it happens within the first 10 days to 3 weeks of being in that new
For lower intestinal activity, taking a few Imodium
should solve the problem. If not, then antibiotics
generally do the trick. I'm not a doctor and am not
prescribing anything but we have found pharmacists to
give Norfloxacin or Nifuroxazida 400 mg tablet over the
counter and that normally will take care of the issue of
stomach pain or diarrhea in a matter of hours or a day
or so, tops.
Stuffed Fur Clams, Restaurant 236, Saigon,
learned years ago that a course of over-the-counter Albendazole or other amoeba
and worm pills every 6 months will take care of miscellaneous creatures trying
to find a home in our bodies. Even name brand hotels serve salad or fresh
vegetables rinsed in water and if you are concerned that you might pick up a
bug, these pills can allay that fear.
recommend washing one's hands as often as possible, and bringing those moist
towelettes or baby wipes with you. They are very handy for this. If you are
taking public transportation, going on tours or even visiting museums, this will
put you in contact with the general public. Keeping one's hands clean will add
to your overall protection from getting something that will upset your stomach.
Billy buying a pate and pork sandwich in
hydrated is important and if you bring your own water bottle with you it is wise
to check the freshness of the water in your bottle. This is especially true if
you are traveling in the tropics. Mold can grow in a few days and simply filling
up your bottle with purified water will still not protect you fully. Be sure to
wipe off the mouth of your bottle often with something sterile and to bleach the
Whole fish and pork BBQ, Ben Thanh Market,
people like the idea of using
SteriPENs when they travel so they have access to purifying their own water
while traveling through bus stations or while out in the boonies. You can also
use this pen when you are staying in hotels and this will allow you to drink
from the tap after you have used this pen to sterilize your water. This might be
a little more adventurous than you had in mind but at least you know itís an
option that is available.
Enjoying your trip
personal level we would rather do the above than miss the exciting opportunities
to experience the street food and flavors when traveling. It is just too large a
part of our journeying pleasure for us to give up due to fear. As a matter of
course we always drink bottled water, but in general, if you are in a civilized
city or town the ice and water served in restaurants are fine.
They are not going to serve something unclean to their clientele and expect to
stay in business.
could be the odd time that food poisoning happens - but this occurs anywhere and
everywhere in the world, including the United States.
eating street food safe? We think it is, if you follow our suggestions above. We hope
you find this information useful, insightful and helpful and hopefully it will
reduce the fear factor you may have over eating exotic food in foreign
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