How to Ensure a Safe Culinary Adventure Overseas – Some handy tips to stay safe when travelling overseas and enjoying the local cuisine.
A gastronomic adventure overseas often involves titillating the taste buds while enjoying everything
else that the locality has to offer.
As you are probably aware, it also involves a bit of risk and that’s why it is called an adventure. However, sometimes the risk can go beyond a night of indigestion and eating too much!
Sometimes the indigestion lasts much longer than it should, while at others, it turns out to be food poisoning.
In fact, if you are not careful on your next gastronomic trip to a foreign country, it is possible that you may return home with a new travelling partner in the form of a tapeworm.
Keeping in mind all that can go wrong on a food trip in a foreign country, here’s a brief guide to help ensure a safer culinary experience.
Get Travel Insurance with Medical Coverage
Whether it’s a severe case of an upset tummy, or an actual case of tetrodotoxin poisoning after an
adventurous night of eating puffer fish, immediate medical attention must be ensured.
Do not leave that to chance while travelling abroad because that can and has previously led to unexpected tragedies.
Get travel insurance with reliable medical coverage that’s accepted in the country you are visiting. Just in case you have any pre-existing condition such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, etc.,
note that a traveller’s insurance policy with medical coverage is likely to cost a lot more than usual.
Some insurance companies may even refuse to cover you outright. It’s true that getting affordable travel insurance with pre-existing conditions can be challenging, but thanks to the internet, it’s not as difficult
as it used to be either.
You should be able to both find and compare quotes from multiple insurers who do provide travel insurance with pre-existing conditions.
Do a Bit of Research Before the Trip
Food lovers often research to find places that are known for their food’s taste, uniqueness, and/or quality.
However, that is not the kind of research that will save you from being sick after a meal, or much worse. Before travelling to a foreign country, research online to also find what you should try to avoid on your trip.
All of the following dishes are available in their respective nations of origin, as well as in their neighbouring nations, but often, they are not be safe:
- Fugu sushi or sashimi: Anything with fugu fish in it is a delicacy of Japanese origin that’s made from the lethally poisonous (tetrodotoxin) puffer fish, aka Fugu.
- Omafuma: As far as eating Namibian frogs that cause renal failures is concerned, they don’t get any bigger or deadlier than the African bullfrog.
- Piwarry: Full of essential nutrients and a hefty dose of cyanide, the Cassava plant is fermented to create a drink called piwarry.
- Blood Clams: These clams are semi-boiled alive in China to retain the eponymous blood in them, along with essential pathogens for hepatitis, salmonella, typhoid, etc.
- Local absinthe: Unless you wish to risk thujone poisoning that leads to tremors, seizures, renal failure, rhabdomyolysis, etc. avoid local absinthe anywhere in Europe.
These are just a few examples of course, as each nation has their own share of potential health hazards,
aka dangerous foods. The adventrous foodie in you might be tempted to tempt fate, but keep in mind that it might ruin the whole trip for you and everyone else who might be travelling with you.
Bushmeat is a very broad term that can be loosely defined as meat from a wild animal that was hunted in the wild.
Not that it will always endanger your wellbeing by default, but there is always a chance of that happening. Bushmeat in Africa often comes from protected primates such as small monkeys, baboons, chimpanzees, and even gorillas.
In oriental nations, the bushmeat may come from rodents such as bats and rats, both of which are unsafe for a long list of reasons.
Eating unknown meat is the leading cause behind some of the world’s worst epidemics. It is best to avoid any meat or meat product that did not come from an animal that you are used to eating.
Drink Bottled Water
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is highly advisable to always drink bottled water when you are travelling overseas.
In some areas, that is a mandatory precaution. For example, do not drink the tap water in Bangkok, as there is a possibility that you may contract an antibiotic resistant bacterial infection.
Also, as a general rule, never collect and drink water directly from a stagnant source of water such as a
pond while hiking or camping anywhere in the world. Boil the water to get rid of the contaminants first,
but it’s still better to boil water from running streams.