I’m back home from my Taiwan trip! I ate so much good food that I actually had trouble enjoying my food by the end of the trip. I always get too excited and I eat everything in sight as soon as possible.
I thought it would be nice to cover my tips for eating while travelling so we can all make the most of our next adventure.
- Pace yourself.
- Order to share if you’re travelling with others.
- Just eat enough to satisfy your hunger so you can fully enjoy the food and eat a variety of dishes throughout your trip.
I know this is so much easier said than done! 😦
- Lines are a pretty good indication that the food is good and safe, after all, people wouldn’t be returning if the food tasted awful or if they got ill from eating there.
- Besides asking what the most popular dish is or following the menu, take a look around to see what everyone else is ordering. If many people seem to be liking it you’ll probably want to give it a go.
- Own utensils. I don’t personally do this, but I do think that it is a pretty good idea. I would suggest bring disposable utensils.
- Cook it, peel it, or don’t eat it. To be on the safe side, you eat thoroughly cooked/boiled food, or food that can be peeled (e.g. fruit).
- Allergies. If you have allergies, always double-check and make sure that ingredient isn’t used. If someone has ordered that dish, take a good long peek. From my experience, I know that many Asian places will incorporate sesame seeds in their dishes even when it’s not written as part of the ingredients. This can be such a pain and risk for those who are allergic!
- Key words. Learn what the dish/ingredient is called in the language of whichever place you are going to. I suggest writing it down so you can show them the actual word to avoid miscommunication. You could even opt for a voice recording or a photo of the dish/ingredient. This could save a life or even just save you from ordering a random dish you didn’t want.
- Spicy food. Eat spicy food the way you (would/should) drink alcohol. Eat something before you venture to the dark side so you don’t end up curled up and moaning with bleary eyes at 3AM while becoming fast friends with the porcelain throne. Trust me. I ate a extra-super spicy (but oh so delicious) dish in China for breakfast and ended up in pain for the rest of the day. I mean sweaty, teary-eyed, groaning and, curled-up-in-a-ball pain. Not a pretty sight.
- Tipping. Research the tipping etiquette. It’s always so awful when you’re caught unsure and end up having to spy on the other people.
- Bring medication. Be prepared! You might feel poorly because you ate something bad or because of the change in your diet (I know I’m guilty of eating anything I want, anytime I want when I’m on holiday!).
- Trust your instincts.
- Street food. I don’t buy into the whole “I eat street food” superiority some people seem to feel. While it’s great to keep an open mind and give things a go, it’s important to know that it’s okay to give it a pass too. Not everyone will react well or enjoy street food or certain dishes and I think that’s perfectly alright. It’s your trip, your food, your body, your consequences.
- Dodgy Dishes. I once ordered spaghetti bolognese and was served this white-grey lumpy pasta dish. I shouldn’t have licked it. I ended up so ill that when my uncle (who is a doctor and was staying in the same room as me) came to make sure I was still alive, I didn’t even recognize him.
General tip: Water
Research if tap water is safe to drink, if it’s not (or you’re not too sure) purchase bottled water. This means that you need to also make sure your drink doesn’t have ice and to brush your teeth using bottled water (I always forget about these 2 things!).
Do you have any tips for eating while on holiday? Let me know!