Indonesia Street Food Safety Tips
Updated: May 21
One of the ways to experience the local scene is through its food. Food tells a lot about the locals and you might win a conversation or two with them! However, the fear of food poisoning often stops us from putting ourselves out there and trying the local delicacies. In fact, there is a term in Bali called the ‘Bali Belly’, which refers to having a stomach ache from food poisoning while traveling in Bali.
Although this is not always the case, Nomadic Matt has shared his tips to be cautious while experiencing the local culinary scene. Surprisingly, our local friends agree that these tips are even applicable to your travel in Indonesia.
Wash Your Hands
Sometimes the problem is having nowhere to wash on the street. A small hand sanitizer can be your lifesaver. However, even though you don’t eat with your hands, it’s best to take precautions.
Eat Where the Locals Eat
There is a real reason why locals go or avoid a certain food stall. They have done research, especially onsite research to confirm that the food is safe and tastes good too! They have saved you from the hassle of researching. In fact, the easiest thing to do in your culinary adventure in Indonesia is to observe the queue. The longer the line is the safer it is. Usually, it tastes great too!
Watch the Street Food
The best thing about street food is its open kitchen. Most of the times you can watch how fresh the ingredients are, how they process it, how they cook it and how long it has been sitting there. Moreover, you will be able to observe the cleanliness of the surroundings and the seating area.
Don’t Eat Strange Non-Local Food
Eating exotic food could be on one of your bucket lists but ensure that it is indeed the culinary specialty of that region. The reason for being cautious is the vendor might not have adequate knowledge and skill to prep the dish properly.
Being spontaneous is exciting, especially in terms of your culinary adventure. However, conducting basic research before you travel might save you from wasting your days due to suffering from food poisoning.
Make Sure It Is Cooked Properly
When you go for street food, observe how they cook the food before you sit down and order to ensure that you get a properly cooked meal. Most importantly, avoid raw or semi-raw food!
However, in Indonesia, meat is usually cooked well-done for two main reasons. One of them is the local misconception about the juice and blood contained in medium/medium-rare meat (Muslims cannot eat meat if there is still blood in it). Secondly, Indonesian people’s palate prefers dry and heavily spiced meat such as rendang.
We all want to make the most of our travel time without taking the risk of wasting our time getting sick from food poisoning. In the meantime, a part of us also wants to explore and enjoy the local delicacies. Hope this helps you to overcome your fear and start exploring the local food scene like the locals! A combination of common sense and observing the local habit might save you in the long run during your travel!
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