ON THE SAFE SIDE

How to Eat Street Food Without Ruining the Trip

Globe-trotting chef Tom Kime, author of a new book on street food, tells how to scope the best dishes--and how to eat safe.

In his new book, Street Food: Exploring the World's Most Authentic Tastes, Tom Kime, a chef who has worked in top restaurants in London, Sydney, and Malta, reveals how to make 89 favorite dishes that he has tasted during his many trips around the globe. While the book focuses on recipes, Kime learned quite a bit more while conducting research on the streets of Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and beyond. We asked him for tips on finding the most delicious food and avoiding an upset stomach, or worse.

1. Follow crowds "A line of people is always a good indicator that the food is tasty and fresh-- it never sits idle for long. If a vendor on a busy street has no customers, there's probably a reason."

2. Ask the locals "The best recommendations I got were from taxi drivers, policemen, shop owners, and office workers. Locals are discerning: They only eat what they like and what doesn't make them sick."

3. Watch it cook "Always request that your food be cooked fresh for you. A hot grill will usually eliminate any microscopic bugs that are present. And a plate of steaming noodles is safer than food left out for hours at a hotel buffet."

4. Wash your hands "There's no way to know what's on anyone else's hands, but you can at least get the germs off your own. Store a bunch of antibacterial wipes in your daypack and wash your hands frequently--in particular, before you eat."

5. Fill up on starch "If your stomach is uneasy, eat plain starchy food, such as rice, bread, and noodles, until you feel settled. Bananas are excellent because they're packed with vitamins and minerals, which restore your body's internal balance."

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