Both the Travel Channel and the Food Channel have a lot to answer for.
They have raised traveler’s expectations about all the wonderful food and drink to be found in the far corners of the earth.
Take it from me, a former resident of both Mexico and Thailand, that the culinary glitter wears off after just a few days as a strange eater in a strange land.
It’s true the local beer is always cheap. But it’s also always lukewarm. You have to pour it over ice. And that ruins it for some people.
Street food in countries like Thailand and Mexico is fun to sample. But do yourself a favor the next time you’re tempted to eat from a cart on a busy soi (street) in Bangkok — observe how dishes, bowls and utensils are washed. They ARE washed, no doubt about that — the interesting part is to see how one small tub of water makes do for both washing and rinsing, and is never changed during the long, hot day and into the sultry evening.
One last thought . . . Third World countries may be big into freshness and organic, but that means they typically use night soil
If you’ve ever sampled a piece of tripe that was not quite cleaned enough, you know what I mean . . .
AND SO TO VERSE:
The food overseas is amazing; it’s spicy, exotic and raw.
The food overseas is inviting — it may take you all day to gnaw.
An expat who isn’t too choosy can feast on all sorts of strange buns.
But if he ain’t careful he’ll wind up with such a bad case of the runs.
The food overseas never costs much — that is if you eat like the folk
who live in that country. Believe me, a Big Mac is just a sad joke.
I will not eat bugs or weird fungi, not even if locals insist.
3 things that an expat should not do are eat crap, complain, or be kissed.