What To Eat & What Not To Eat
If you came straight here from our main Thailand post, then you are almost finished knowing just about everything you need to know before booking your tickets and having the time of your life. In this post, we will explain Bangkok Belly and a few do’s, don’ts, and “Umm, that’s up to you’s” when in Thailand.
This is the common term that is used in conjunction with Traveler’s Diarrhea, which is a digestive tract disorder that happens if you eat or drink sustenance that has been contaminated with organisms from feces. In simpler terms, you ate food or drank water that had poo on it. Many times, it is because the chefs didn’t wash their hands, or the food has been sitting out for some time and numerous flies have landed on the food after landing on feces.
The only way to know if you have Bangkok Belly, is if you have 3 episodes of acute diarrhea within 24 hours. You will feel pretty terrible none-the-less and want to avoid getting sick like this. Not only do you feel bad, but you feel bad during vacation, when you’re supposed to be having fun, plus you aren’t at home, where you want to be when you feel sick. So, it’s a double whammy. Read on to find out a few extra ways to avoid getting sick while on vacation in Thailand.
Most of the food from restaurants are safe to eat from. Most people ask the question, “Well, how do you know if it is safe or not?” That’s a good question, and the best way of knowing if it is safe or not is to watch the locals. If you see a lot of locals in a line or in a restaurant, chances are it is safe. Just because they are native to these lands and foods does not make them invulnerable to parasites. In fact, many locals get Bangkok Belly once or twice a year. So, just go where they are all going. If you have a tour guide, they will take you to trusted places as well, so you’re already one step ahead of the rest!
With street food, the same concept applies. Try to only eat what the locals are eating. Most street food sits out for hours and even days (better chance for contamination), so follow the locals and eat where the food and chefs are clean.
Keep in mind that just because they are in a restaurant does not mean they are washing their hands or being any cleaner than someone outside. Their regulations aren’t the same as the U.S., and even if they were, they aren’t enforcing them like they should be, so again, just go where the locals go.
A few things tend to get people sick more than others. One of those tings is the tap water in Thailand. Stay away from it. You may have a stomach of steel, but it’s better safe than sorry. Just drink out of water bottles while you are there. Hint: Use bottled water to brush your teeth too. Also, many people end up getting sick and believe it was caused by the ice they consumed. The reason for this is because lots of places use tap water to make their ice, so just by having a cocktail, they are drinking tap water.
Because of the ice, another common issue is the seafood, which many times sits on ice to stay cold. The same ice that was made with tap water. Fish has the downfall of also going through the “sitting out” dilemma in Thailand (as with other foods), but with seafood, it needs to be kept frozen or refrigerated or else it can grow lots of bacteria that can make you feel extra sick. Those regulations either don’t exist or aren’t always followed, so if you want the safest route, only eat seafood if the locals are doing and where they are doing it.
Umm, That’s Up to You’s
It isn’t unheard of to pull over on the side of a highway to grab a funky bite to eat. In fact, we pulled over on a freeway once just to get some…wait for it…RAT! Yup, the little food cart on a freeway pull-off had real, large rats dangling. All you have to do is pick one, bring it to any restaurant, and ask them to heat it up for you. As weird as it sounds, many people might be intrigued by it. Will it make you sick? Can’t answer it, but umm, that’s up to you if you want to try it! A few other crazy things they had to eat were: Snake Venom, Scorpions (big), and fermented eggs.
What’s a fermented egg? Well, our tour guide explained to use that it’s an egg, that was fermented (in its shell) in horse urine … salt for 3 months! When we peeled it open, the egg “whites” were pitch black. It tasted like a normal hard-boiled egg, but the smell was another thing. My Bf had to walk away just from the scent. But if you want to try it, give it a go!
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