Two New Yorkers spend six months 18 months!?! in Bangalore and other places in India.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Eating in India

We had a reader email us with a few questions in preparation for an upcoming trip to Bangalore. One issue was the neverending debate of what a visitor can and can't eat. There is one school of thought that says that getting sick in India is inevitable, but I don't think this matches the reality. We've never gotten anything more than minor problems from eating here for most of a year.

Of course, I can't say if that's because we've just been lucky or not. If you're just in India for a few days, you might want to be a little more cautious -- don't blame us if our advice gives you jippy tummy. In any case, don't be lame and not eat anything except crackers and Coca-Cola! You might not get sick, but you'll definitely be bored, and that's sad too.

Things we don't eat:

  • Cut-up fruit sold on the street: even though it always looks really, really good.
  • Salads and lettuce: we pick the lettuce out of sandwiches if it's in there. Admittedly, this is pretty much the same as just eating it, but you have to have clear-cut policies about this stuff.
  • Tap water: Unless it's heated up, as in tea. Also, we think that a few drops in a just-washed glass is OK.

Things we think are safe:
  • Street food: As long as it's hot and there's lots of turnover at the stand. Sometimes I pick out the coriander (cilantro) leaves on top, but usually I don't.
  • Tender coconut water: It's inside the coconut! What could be safer? Too bad it doesn't taste that good. (Don says, "It really is good once you get used to it.")
  • Lassis: There might be some water in the glass and possibly water used to thin the curd down, but it's a risk I think worth taking.
  • Fresh lime sodas: As much as possible.

1 comment:

SeriouslyNoWay said...

Fresh lime sodas--agreed! They are my favorite drink here. I got sick on some chutney that I had eaten numerous times before. It's a chance I am willing to take. I eat the fruit and lettuce, but only from restaurants. I recommend Papdi chaats, lassi and if you do get sick, the bags of banana chips they have. Very neutral with a hint of salt.