Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Foods to Avoid in Nepal


Bitten Rice being made at a Tourist Festival


     Bitten Rice: This is a flattened rice similar to rolled oats. The problem with eating bitten rice is that many unwashed hands have touched it, along with birds, mice, etc. It is not fully cooked and often isn’t even warmed up. But even if it is warmed up, you may find the oil it was heated in is old and smelling funny. 
This is actually a restaurant I've eaten at many times. You can get lunch for under $1, cooked fresh and served piping hot.

        Fried Rice in the morning: Restaurants and guest houses often make too much rice in the evening. This allows them to make a quick fried rice dish for breakfast. Rice is a fertile ground for bacteria. Many restaurants do not have a refrigerator and therefore need to leave the rice out on the counter all night. By morning there can be many generations of bacteria being cultivated in the rice. It is highly unlikely that the cook will heat the dish up long enough, hot enough to kill all the bacteria. You’ll likely be down the road before the bacteria becomes problematic and the cook will never realize he is poisoning his guests.
Chicken Tandoori Mo: mo. Tandoori and Sekewa restaurants are usually a delight.
 
   
    Buff Mo:mo cooked at open stall restaurants: The meat is full of bones and grizzle. I broke a tooth on a buff mo:mo. They are quite good if they are hot and right out of the steamer and from a busy, well established restaurant. I like to ask for them ‘koy-tayed’ or  lightly fried on the bottom. 

        All Street Food: Be very careful about eating at places without running water and from portable carts. The dishes are washed on the ground with dogs and dust contaminating the dishes and tableware even more. Additionally, the dishes were ‘washed’ without detergent and with contaminated water.

        Buffets: Buffets and foods prepared ahead of time are dangerous. There is often cross contamination from the spoons being set on the dirty counter, staff not washing their hands properly, food not being cooked hot enough and left out too long, bugs in and around the food or fallen food being put back on a plate and served to guests.
     
    Anything you see that doesn’t look clean. I recently asked for an extra glass at a fairly nice restaurant in Kathmandu. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the waiter drying the glass with a filthy rag. He probably wondered why I looked mortified.
    
A nearby village
    Raw, leafy greens during monsoon months: I saw this quote on an email from the US Embassy:
Cyclospora cases are being seen earlier than usual in Kathmandu this year due to recent rainy weather. Cyclospora is a parasite that is not killed by bleach or iodine and causes diarrhea, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Many medical professionals recommend that you abstain from eating raw leafy greens such as lettuce during the rainy season to minimize the risk of cyclospora. Learn more at
https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/cyclosporiasis/gen_info/faqs.html.

If you follow each of these and wash your hands prior to eating you should be fine. Sometimes it’s fun to go around the corner to a real local treat and other times you know better than to weaken your immune system. 

Do you have a favorite way to stay safe in Asia? If so, please leave a comment. 

If you are coming to Nepal you’ll get your trip off to a better start if you read my free eBook, What Not To Forget If You Come to Nepal: http://bit.ly/2aGxcuH