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Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

A Food Trip

Elena Peña - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The term “food trip” has since taken on a new meaning. It is used by young people to mean “a momentary gusto for food.” But in this article, the term is used in its literal and original meaning, which is “to make a trip to where food can be enjoyed.”

It’s a fact that food is becoming a reason for people to travel these days. Many foodies are realizing that the best way to taste a delicacy is to have it right in its place of origin.  Thus, the specialty dishes of a place are a good tourism come-on.

While the adventurous traveler may hop right on to whatever delicacy is offered somewhere, caution shall always be observed. There are issues that shall always be kept in mind – food safety being one of these. One shall think about sanitary and hygienic measures employed in the preparation of the food, as well as certain ingredients that one’s system may be intolerant of.

Some places take pride in using produce that were applied with more ‘natural’ fertilizers, which can carry bacteria that could cause intestinal distress – also known as traveler’s tummy. Well, it is common knowledge that food intake can result in really serious ailments, too. Food poisoning, for instance, is not at all a rare condition. The discomfort can range from simple stomach upset to risk of death.

It’s true that the food people eat at home isn’t necessarily ‘safer’ than food found elsewhere. It may simply be that since the traveler isn’t accustomed to food he takes in other places, his body is liable to reacting differently. Now, if the food brings on some discomfort, it can spoil the trip.

Some of the most common foodborne illnesses include salmonellosis (caused by salmonella bacteria), E. coli infection and norovirus. It’s worth first checking out the intended food-trip destination for these threats. The website www.smarttravel.com says that the best defense against foodborne illnesses is not to panic, but to use common sense. The website further shares tips for eating well and eating safely no matter where the travelers goes.

• The most common source of dietary problems while traveling is drinking water, including ice.

• Cold meat platters, cheese, buffet foods and unsealed mayonnaise are often home to rampant bacteria.

• Seafood dishes are notorious for causing intestinal problems, as fish accumulate contaminants from a wide variety of sources. Smaller fish tend to be safer. Fish organs and shellfish (such as clams, mussels and oysters) are usually best avoided.

• It’s better to steer clear of unpasteurized dairy products, including cheese and yogurt. One must check labels for evidence of pasteurization; although most canned milk is safe.

• Nuts and other shelled foods are usually a good choice.

• Coffee and tea are generally harmless, but it’s best to take hot drinks black, without potentially contaminated milk. Cream from sealed containers, if pasteurized, is usually safe.

• The traveler’s mantra, attributed to colonial explorers, goes something like this: “Cook it, wash it, peel it or forget it.” Freshly cooked foods are less likely to acquire airborne contaminants, and raw foods such as salads, and fruits and vegetables without peels, are often likely culprits for trouble. Fruits and vegetables that one can peel himself are usually safe.

• Condiments such as mayonnaise, ketchup and salad dressings are safest in sealed packages.

• Portions are safest ordered “well done” or at least “medium well,” and eaten only if served hot. One must be extra careful especially of runny eggs and sandwiches with lots of raw vegetables.

• One must pay attention to the effects of all drinks, especially alcoholic drinks. Moderation is the safest course of action.

While street side food stalls may be convenient, it’s often risky to purchase food from street vendors. If there’s no other choice when traveling to other places, one shall make sure that at least the food is served hot, and one shall take a look at the condition of the food cart or kiosk before ordering. Does it look clean and well kept? Is it busy? The fewer the customers, the longer the food may sit before being served.

It’s the same when choosing a restaurant: One shall go with the people flow. Busy restaurants typically serve fresh, clean, and safe food. Still, it doesn’t hurt to request that the meal be cooked well.

And Mom’s good old advice holds: “Wash your hands before you eat.” One shall keep in mind to use “safe” water to wash not only his hands but also any foods prepared for him. If choosing to buy food at a grocery store, it’s important to check the “best before” seal on the label.

Food is something one shall be very careful in experimenting on, even if it’s the very reason why one travels. There is always the possibility that one may be taking in his own poison.

FOOD TRIP

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