India Travel Tip – How to eat a banana safely

For a first time traveler to India, food can be one of the main sources of anxiety.

“Do I get Delhi belly?”

The answer is a resounding, “Most likely!” But don’t let that stop you from traveling in the most ridiculously magical land on Earth.

Okay, back to the banana. This is how you should eat a banana in India. Hold it by the stem with one hand while gently peeling it with the other…so far it’s just like eating one at home. But here’s the important part – you have to make sure that if you touch the outside of the banana, you don’t touch the part you are going to eat.

Why? What might make you sick isn’t the banana itself, it’s the germs in tiny water droplets etc. on the outside of the banana. So make sure you never touch the outside more than the inside with any peeled fruit – it’s a bit tricky with oranges, but there you have it.

For the same reason, restaurants shouldn’t accept salads, or the free glass of water they give you with your meal. The salad would be great, but the water it was washed in will make you wish you were dead. In some restaurants that cater specifically to foreigners they may tell you they have ‘filter water’ which would then be good for you so this isn’t a general rule, but be guided by the environment – if it’s a 5 star hotel, you are right to eat everything as it is all made for foreigners to eat but if you are in a little roadside stall in the middle of nowhere – ganj and all customers are local play it safe or you would can ruin your vacation. Also, never travel to India without comprehensive travel insurance, you don’t really want to get sick and no one to call.

As for getting Delhi belly as a first time traveler to India, here’s the consensus. Indeed, most people do get sick in their first week, if they even eat at reputable local restaurants, especially if they eat from roadside stalls or drink something with milk or yogurt where the local electricity supply is unstable (that’s everywhere, by the way). But with the dozens of return travelers I know personally, none of them have ever been sick on a return visit, save maybe a cold here and there.

It’s like your body just needs the Indian baptism then you’ll be fine. It’s a baptism of fire and water, you might say. But it’s well worth it, because once India gets under your skin, not to mention your digestive system, you’ll never be the same again.

See also  Portability of health insurance in India

And one more thing about bananas: they can be deadly in more ways than one. Don’t eat them in front of hungry city monkeys or you might end up in a nasty fight – did I mention you have travel insurance?