Eating well

Eating well is key to both staying healthy and having a lot of fun on the road. For us, one of the great pleasures of travel is that you get to try new and unusual foods. While we did make the occasional visit to a fast-food chain when Western breakfasts were scarce or we were just craving something familiar, we did our best to eat locally whenever possible - going for what was in season, dining with the locals and sampling the local specialities. Eating local food creates great memories of different places and greatly expands your range of experiences - and it can also help to save money.

​​Transport hubs such as bus stops and train stations, and markets are all great places to see and try what everyone else is eating where you are. Markets, in particular, are great because they offer an opportunity to try local fresh produce and you can usually buy as little or as much as you like. Often vendors will even give you a sample to try. Night food markets are perfect for sampling local food, with stallholders often selling small dishes, allowing you to browse a wide variety of different foods.

Markets are also great when you're staying in a house or apartment with a kitchen, as you can shop cheaply and prepare your own meals.

Eating street food is also a great way to sample local flavours, but it can be a potent source of stomach bugs. It's good to be adventurous, but at the same time, it pays to be careful. Sadly, there's no guaranteed way to avoid getting sick from eating street food, but it pays to stay away from food that has flies on it or looks as though it was cooked some time ago. Food that's prepared to order - and cooked thoroughly - is more likely to be safe than food that has been sitting out for ages or is still slightly raw.

If your children are fussy eaters, try to convince them to at least taste each dish as they may get a pleasant surprise. Try not to give in and just give them Western food.



  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables (washed in bottled water or peeled).

  • When eating out, be sure to eat hot, cooked-to-order food.

  • Try to eat at places that are popular with locals and have a high turnover of food.

  • Avoid buffets unless you're very confident that the food has been freshly prepared and has not been sitting there cooling (and growing bacteria) for hours.

  • Only drink bottled water; always have a bottle with you. Use bottled water for brushing your teeth.

  • Ice is less of a risk now in many countries, but it still pays to be careful and avoid it unless you know that it has been prepared using filtered water.

  • Avoid salads, which are still high risk for ingesting contaminated water.

Familytravel: a family eats in a restaurant in Kuching, Borneo
Family travel: children eat in a restaurant in Yangon, Myanmar