5 Easy Steps To Choose Healthy Foods In a 3rd World Country

food in market

As a traveler in a third world country choosing the right food to eat can literally make or break a vacation. If one is cautious and follows the steps listed below they will be more likely to spend their vacation in the sun rather than in their bed.

5  Easy Steps To Choose Healthy Food in a 3rd World Country:

  • Quality / taste of food
  • Sanitary preparation of food
  • Quick Turnover
  • Not From a Street Vendor
  • Don’t Drink The Tap Water

1. Quality/Taste

good meal

The quality and taste of your food will most likely be the thing that leaves a lasting memory on your palate. It will also be one of the most important factors when deciding wether or not to return to that specific eatery in the future.

2. Sanitary Preparation:


I hate to say it, but sanitary food is difficult to come by.

Raw vegetables must be disinfected with DG6 (or any other brand of chemical disinfectant), wether they are peeled or cooked.

Cooked food purchased outside of major restaurant chains should only be eaten if it’s piping hot. Food from street vendors should be purchased cautiously. Tap water, drinks that are not bottled, and ice cubes made of tap water should be avoided at all costs. Just one wrong bite or sip could leave you in bed or in a hospital for a week or two.

Before ordering any raw vegetables or meat, be sure to inquire as to how it was disinfected and prepared.

3. Quick Turnover:

crowded restaurant

The busier a restaurant is, the greater the turnover of its food.

A restaurant that has to constantly prepare food for its revolving door of customers is more likely be serving fresh food than restaurants that have a slow turnover and might maximize their supplies by serving food that has  been sitting around for a while. This rule applies everywhere (not just third world countries). Though special attention should be given to third world countries since they often don’t have strict laws that mandate the cleanliness of an establishments food production.

4. Not From a Street Vendor

bolivian street vendor

Food from local street vendors can be a great way to really get a taste of the local food culture. It’s very tempting to purchase lunch on the go for only a fraction of the price of what one might pay in an established restaurant.

That being said, I can’t stress enough that a newcomer to a third world country should steer clear of street vendor foods.

Due to lack of refrigeration, lack of knowledge, and inefficiency, the goodies at these vendors are often spoiled, fermented, undercooked, and host to a large array of bacteria that could easily lead to E-Coli and other intestinal illnesses.

Think before you eat.

5. Don’t Drink The Tap Water!

tap water

In many 1st world countries tourists can often develop travelers diarrhea. This does not happen because the tap water is dirty, but because there are different minerals in the local water than what they are used to at home.

In third world countries such as Bolivia, the tap water is actually filled with harmful pathogens and is not sanitary for drinking.

Beware of drinking tap water, ice cubes made from bottled water, any beverage that is not bottled, boiled, and/or disinfected . In addition, it’s also advisable to brush your teeth with bottled water.

Think before you drink, one wrong sip can potentially ruin an entire vacation.


As a visitor to a third world country, choosing the right food can literally make or break your trip. In my experience, it’s always advantageous to be cautious than gamble away good health and potentially a wonderful vacation. If one is cautious they can truly enjoy all of the culinary delights that any given country has to offer.


Zoe Green

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