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Travel Tips for visiting the Dominican Republic: What can I Eat?

What Can I Eat?

My “What is Safe to Eat Rule” for international travel to third world countries is simple—eat nothing that is not cooked and really hot when delivered to you, unless it is a fruit and you saw them peel it.

This sounds really easy but in reality it is fairly difficult to do unless you go to an all-inclusive resort and only eat from the hot food buffets. I am sure if you follow the rule perfectly you will be safe, but it will be really difficult to always obey the rule. You are going to have to take calculated risks when you vary from the rule. For example, fruit that has been peeled, but it placed in a buffet line is probably all right. Peeled fruit you are buying from someone on the street is not something I would eat, even after several years of living in the Dominican Republic.

I also use a kind of “How does it Smell?” test. This means if my nose tells me to steer clear I’m out. No question. Luckily, most of the food eaten by Dominicans does not have any strong seasonings so the food should smell just like you are used to. If it smells queer I treat it like a queer smelling food and skip it. I am sure I have missed out on a couple of good meals over the years, but I am equally sure I have skipped a few several sessions of unwanted “Dominican Trotts!”

Dominicans also eat a lot of fried food. Frying food makes a lot of issues not a problem. For example, you can usually eat a fried empanada and be fine because they will fry that sucker right in front of you. Frying food pretty much kills everything bad for you. You can also pretty much always eat fried plantains, fried bananas, fried salami, fried cheese, and most fried meat. If you are unsure what to choose, pick something fried and have it delivered to you as hot as possible.

If you follow these rules perfectly you will be fine (at least as fine as possible!). If you decide you are going to take a few risks at least you will understand the consequences. I am still a little picky with my eating and I hardly ever get sick.

In the next article I will discuss
What is Safe to Drink in the Dominican Republic, which is equally as important as What is Safe to Eat.
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These three pictures were taken at the meat frying stand pictured above. The first picture is raw intestines and pig ears... yummy! (Just kidding...)

The second picture is raw beef ready to be fried. This beef has been seasoned and is actually pretty tasty. Yes, I have tried it.

The last picture is of a type of Dominican Sausage. I have never tried it but believe it is made from stuffed intestines... I actually do not think I will try it.

In the center picture if you look below the light bulb you can see Chicharron, which is a type of pork. It is basically a pig that has been roasted over a fire. It is really good, but I recommend you put plenty of lemon on it. I also suggest you are prepared for some intestinal problems. You really never know how long this stuff has been sitting there waiting for you to come by and eat it. I always recommend eating meat that has recently been cooked. After you look at these pictures I am sure you know why.

Isn't the Dominican Republic AWESOME??? To read some of my most exciting experiences buy your copy of Moving to the Dominican Republic: The Paradox of Paradise Here