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Safe Food Travel Tip

Make Sure Food is Prepared Safely Travel Tip

Stick up for yourself when you travel. Stick up for yourself when you are not traveling. Don’t eat crap just because someone serves it to you.

I was given some crap in a roll the other day in Istanbul, and I took it.

Often, travel tips come to life out of the mistakes of a traveler. I let my gaurd down, and wasted 80 cents.

Travel tip #36 is about sticking up for yourself and making sure your food is prepared properly.


I was walking through Istanbul on one of my treks that tend to take all day long and traverse the city from one side to the other, when I stopped off at a street side sis kebab shop. They were selling lamb kebabs for only 1.5 Lira ($.85).

I ordered one and waited for the cooks to prepare it.

Turkish kebab restaurant where I was given the tourist treatment. So I took photos like a tourist.

Meanwhile, a group of Turks came up behind me and ordered the same food that I did, and they were served first. No big deal, I can wait a few moments. Then another group of Turks came up behind me and ordered the same food, and they were, again, served before me.

I was getting the tourist treatment. So I snapped a few photographs like a tourist and just took it. I was not in a hurry.

In travel, there are times to throw elbows and fight your way to the front of a line, and their are times to wait five minutes and spare yourself a struggle. I opted for the easy road. I waited for Turk after Turk to be served as soon as a new sandwich was prepared. I became a little annoyed and was about to leave, when the guy who took my order told me that my food was coming soon.

I was the only person remaining in line.

Turkish kebab restaurant in Istanbul where I was served the remains of the meat.

By this time there was only scraps and cumbs of the chopped and grilled kebab meat upon the grill. I peered at it without much of a desire to consume it. It then became clear that I was to be given these scraps. I then watched as a pile of not fully cooked meat was transferred upon the grill. The two piles intermixed slightly and I was given a pretty crappy sandwich that had both overcooked scraps of meat and pink, undercooked pieces of lamb.

For some reason I found myself paying for it.

I came to a start as I turned away from the restaurant.

Why did I pay for this? I am not going to eat it.

I did not know if these kebabs are made of precooked meat, and I did not want to take a chance of finding out that they are not. I assumed that the kebab meat is fully cooked prior to be grilled, and that the grilling is just to add flavor. But I also knew that could be wrong.

I tossed the 80 cent sandwich to a street dog, and stomped off in disgust.

Either way, I was given the scrap portions of the meat. I allowed myself to be bullied. I choose the passive route of interaction and was burned as an idiot tourist for it.

Travel tip: do not allow your self to be bullied.

It is my assumption that most people who are old enough to travel on their own know how to take care of themself. Do not allow politeness to turn you into a crap eater. Speak up, and say when things are not right. In travel, people will sometimes treat you as some sort of non-human because they know that you are only momentarily in their presence.

Perhaps there is a fine line between being an agreeable guest in someone else’s country and being bullied.

They did not serve the dregs of the meat to a Turk because a Turk would not accept it.

I should not have accepted it either.

Travel tip: make sure your food is prepared properly

Do not take if for granted that someone knows how to cook just because they are cooking your food. Where you can, watch your food being prepared, and make sure that it is cooked properly.

People get sick all the time from eating in restaurants, and this is often because the food is not prepared properly. When traveling, you often do not have the option to cook for yourself, so you depend on other people to prepare your meals for you on a daily basis. make sure they do it properly.

Travel tip: if you suspect that something is not right, walk away

It is a simple formula, you are a traveler, if you suspect that something is not right, you can always walk away without real problems.

A traveler can walk away from anything.

Sometimes these travel tips are written as much for myself as they are the reader. I have become a little too comfortable in Istanbul, and needed an interaction like this to put me back on my game. I usually am not very passive about holding my place in line or making sure that my food is prepared well, but sometimes in some places, I too, slip up and take the easy road to being walked upon.

As always, take this travel tip and eyeball the cook like an disapproving stepmother, or eat whatever crap is laid upon your plate.

Either way, be sure to walk slow,


Make Sure Food is Prepared Safely Travel Tip

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Filed under: Food, Health, Travel Tips

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3161 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Ulladulla, AustraliaMap