“If the locals eat it, I should at least try it”. That’s my motto whenever I travel. For me, sampling the local cuisine is a necessary part of traveling because I can get to know the local history, culture and traditions, just by eating.
Finding authentic but reasonably hygienic local cuisine in Indonesia, however, is a little tricky. Of course there are plenty of well-established and reputable restaurants, especially in big cities, but it is hard to beat the vibrant truthfulness of the street food. Here are a few things to look out for.
Follow the Crowd
All eateries around the world have one thing in common. The best ones are always most sought after and therefore are most crowded. Follow the crowd or ask a local where they would go for a meal with friends. Taxi drivers or even the cashier at a convenience store can also direct you to favorite hawker stalls. Open your eyes and follow your nose to where the food smells so good!
Trust Your Instinct
Look around before you decide to sit and order. Quickly examine the view. Does it look dirty? Is the food well covered? Are there flies flying around? But most importantly, trust your instinct: can I handle this?
Time Your Visit
The best time to sample authentic cuisine is during festivals and celebrations. Browse the local tourism office website and check the agenda for upcoming events.
Anticipate Tummy Trouble
The following should always be part of your travel medicine kit: antacids, anti-diarrhea tablets, rehydration salts, and sore throat sweets. Some antibiotics may also be worth taking as precaution against upset stomach and other infections.
Text: Rini Sucahyo
Source: Journey Indonesia Magazine, June 2013 (Page 10)
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