Eating out abroad, especially in some of the more remote tourist areas, can be one of life’s more annoying paradoxes. For while you may desperately want to sample the delights of exotic or unusual dishes it is the very fact that the cuisine is more daring than you would experience at home that it could prove risky or even life threatening.

In many parts of the world food and water sources will almost certainly cause health problems for travellers and while there are plenty of relatively safe foreign restaurants in sophisticated city centres and in the more sanitised package holiday hotels or complexes it always pays to be vigilant.

Before eating out abroad read these tried and trusted health and safety rules:

Don’t drink the local tap water – even if the residents have no problems it is still possible to have stomach upsets caused by the local bacteria that would be unfamiliar to your system.

Always drink bottled water and check that it is from a genuine safe source and that the bottle has not simply been filled from a tap. Look out for any tampering with the seal and never accept water where the top has been removed before it comes to the table.

Avoid ice unless you are completely sure that it has been made from bottled water – which is highly unlikely.

Don’t drink any beverages such as lemonade or fruit juices that may be made from contaminated water or fruit. 

Be very wary of seafood, especially if served raw, however tempting – it can be a source of salmonella in even the most hygienic of restaurants.

Some varieties of fish served in the Far East are toxic or even poisonous – make sure you know exactly what you are eating!

Never eat undercooked or raw meat. Poolside barbecue restaurants are often guilty of not cooking meat through properly, this can happen even at some of the best hotels in the world.

Avoid food from street vendors, unless they are very strictly licensed such as in Singapore.
When eating raw fruit and vegetables in third world countries always heed the old saying ‘if you can’t peel it don’t eat it’.

Never eat pre-cooked, re-heated tepid food, especially if it’s been sitting around on display.

Avoid unpasteurised dairy products, especially the most tempting such as ice cream.

Overeating is always a holiday hazard, especially abroad so don’t bombard your stomach with large amounts of strange foods, you may shock your system and discover hitherto unknown food allergies.

Change your diet carefully and slowly, sticking to familiar dishes until you are quite sure you can take the more exotic local food without any ill effects.

Remember foreign coffee can be much stronger than in the UK, so if you have heart trouble or high blood pressure be guarded about drinking too much café noir, especially late at night.

Finally never accept drinks from ‘charming locals’ who seem to want to befriend you – they may have a much more sinister motive than just extending local hospitality. There’s many a bewildered traveller who has woken up, with a hangover, in strange surroundings, minus his wallet and passport!