Vietnam is a paradise for culinary adventures and the vast and varied street food is the open window to the local culture. However, the quickest and most undesirable way to have your vacation ruined is getting food poisoning. Check out our comprehensive guides on how not to get food poisoning while traveling Vietnam.
Top Tips on How Not To Get Food Poisoning While Traveling Vietnam
- Bring hand sanitizer and some medicine such as Imodium, probiotics capsules and antibiotics tablets, etc.
- Pack health insurance with you in case of emergency
- Don’t eat too much street food in a day (obviously, it is tempting, but this is for the sake of your health)
- Be careful with Vietnamese food if you have lactose or gluten intolerance
Seeking Medical Help
Normally, it is not alarming if you get a funny-feeling stomach on your first time trying new food. Have yourself a cup of hot ginger tea to soothe away the stomachache. Also, remember to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day to prevent sickness in your tummy. It’s best if you pack a plastic travel water bottle during your trip in Vietnam.
Keep yourself hydrated is crucial to avoid food poisoning
If the pain becomes unbearable then you must visit the hospital or medical center immediately for a check-up and prompt solutions.
Food Safety Steps
- Keeping an open mind while traveling and try the most distinctive local dish is the pure explorer’s spirit, but don’t go to extremes and risk your health. Watch out for these “questionable foods”
- Raw meat may contain bacterias such as salmonella, so stick to well-cooked and steaming hot food
- Don’t try high-risk food such as raw blood pudding (tiet canh), pufferfish (ca noc), or strange meat
- Beware of food that may cause upsetting stomach such as coconut milk, too spicy food, greasy food, etc.
- Soup based food may contain a high volume of MSG.
- Trust your instinct: if the food doesn’t smell good or has a weird taste then it’s better to say no. Food should have a delectable smell, decent presentation, and nice taste.
Food Safety Precautions Steps at Street Food Stalls
It is beyond dispute that street food in Vietnam is incredibly irresistible, but bear in mind a few keynotes of how not to get food poisoning while traveling Vietnam to ensure the most pleasant experience.
Observation is the key before sitting down in a sidewalk food stall. Firstly, have a glance at the location and its surroundings, if there are heaps of garbage around or the place seems to be damp and dirty, you definitely don’t want to risk a chance there. Another good tip is to see whether the place is crowded or not. A fair number of customers proves that this is a trustworthy vendor, and also the food must be exceptionally delectable.
Crowded places should have pretty good food
One undeniable advantage to street food vendors is that you can observe the dish being made right in front of your eyes. Make good use of this opportunity to see whether the sellers take hygiene precautions seriously. They should be wearing protective gloves while preparing your food, and the ingredients must be covered under plastic or glass shields to prevent bugs and contaminants.
Food should be inside protective shields
Food being made in front of your eyes
Pay attention to the ingredients. One good reminder is to see whether the vendors use dirty or over-used oil to cook. If the oil appears to be too dark then it is certainly not safe for your health. On top of that, some vendors may offer ‘dirt-cheap’ food to attract customers, but food that is too cheap is most likely to be spoiled or treated with a high amount of pesticides or chemicals. Be smart and consider carefully before coming to the final decision.
Ingredients should be fresh and safe to eat
A lot of the famous noodles in Vietnam such as Pho or Bun Bo Hue are served with some vegetables alongside. A simple tip of how not to get food poisoning while traveling Vietnam is to ask the vendors to dip the vegetables into hot water to get rid of as much bacteria as possible.
Ask to dip the veggies in hot water before eating
Food Safety Precautions Steps at Restaurants
Eating in reputed restaurants must be the most straightforward way of how not to get food poisoning while traveling in Vietnam. Although this is true to a certain extent, don’t be reckless and jeopardize your stomach. Most of the ingredients in restaurants are frozen and have a good amount of preservatives. Hence they are not so fresh and may contain a lot of fat. However, if it’s your first time in Vietnam, visiting a restaurant is highly recommended to get used to the country’s food before embarking on exploring the street’s eateries.
Meals in restaurants have a lower risk of causing food poisoning
Food Safety Precautions Steps for Eating Fruits
Vietnam is a heaven on earth to tropical fruit, so never miss a chance to grab a few in the markets and have a taste. However, in order not to upset your stomach, make sure to wash the fruit with a little bit of salt or vinegar to get rid of the dirt and the remaining pesticides. There are fruits with edible skin such as apples or guavas and peeling the skin before eating is an essential step in how not to get food poisoning while traveling Vietnam.
Peel the fruit before consuming
Food Safety Precautions Steps for Using Water
Tap water in most Asian countries is not safe enough for drinking and Vietnam is no exception. Drinking only boiled water or bottled mineral water is a useful piece of advice on how not to get food poisoning while traveling Vietnam.
Ice is also a concerning issue. You would probably want to stay away from the one that looks as if it has been broken from a bigger block of ice because the water used for this is possibly not particularly sanitary. Drink from ice that looks like cylindrical cubes as they are a bit more expensive than the other and are more carefully-made, too.
Smaller ice cubes are usually cleaner
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Summary of How Not to Get Food Poisoning While Traveling Vietnam
Overall, Vietnamese food is safe and as tasty as you can imagine. Feel free to unleash your adventurous spirit and have a taste of Vietnamese cuisine anywhere you set your foot to. Learning how not to get food poisoning while traveling Vietnam is by no means provoking a sense of trepidation but is to ensure your well-being and make your trip worth every while.
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