Originally Posted by Fieldmouse
And why would you want to eat at a 'food truck' rather than on the premises at the local eateries? Isn't that part of the adventure?
I agree that part of the pleasure of traveling is savoring the culinary creations of different cultures--unless, of course, you happen to get sick from them. The following information was abstracted from an internet article and elaborates on why local eateries maybe risky.
Foods of particular concern to travelers include those potentially contaminated by the common culprits, E. coli and salmonella bacteria, as well as other, more unusual organisms and toxins.
Be aware that some fish may not be safe even when fully cooked because of toxins present in their flesh. The highest risk areas for unsafe fish include the Caribbean islands, the tropical Pacific islands, and Indian Ocean islands; but mainland shores can also carry risk. Avoid eating the internal organs, where toxins tend to collect, and try to avoid eating larger fish, which usually have higher concentrations of toxins than the smaller fish upon which they feed.
The bacteria known as E. coli is found in human and animal waste. In developing areas of various countries, soil fertilizer used in growing produce often contains e-coli bacteria. Such areas that cross the beaten tourist track include Mexico, parts of Central and South America, and parts of Africa and Asia. Consequently, when visiting these areas you should exercise caution with food until you have an idea of how your body will react.
Salmonella grows easily in poultry, eggs, dairy products, and seafood, especially in warm temperatures. Travelers to tropical and subtropical areas, such as Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific, are especially at risk of salmonella poisoning.
In such areas, always avoid cold meat and seafood platters, dishes containing mayonnaise (such as potato salad, tuna salad, and sandwiches), and creamy desserts. These dishes are often made with raw or semi-cooked ingredients and so make ideal cultures for the growth of bacteria.
Also avoid unpasteurized dairy products, including cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, as discussed above, because they can carry salmonella as well as e-coli. Safe alternatives to unpasteurized fresh milk are canned and powdered milk.
Parasites and helminths that live in meat and fish can also cause illness in unsuspecting travelers. As mentioned above, you can avoid most of the risk by ordering animal products and seafoods to be cooked very well done and served piping hot. If these foods are properly cooked so that there are no rare or raw portions, they will generally be safe to eat.
Perhaps the most obvious risk factor affecting the food you eat is the standards of hygiene practiced by the place where you obtain it. Open-air markets and street vendors, while picturesque, can harbor unsanitary conditions. Larger establishments in well-traveled areas are often more conscious of health standards. You probably should stick with the latter until you're confident your system can handle something more adventurous.
While bacteria and other organisms are always potential hazards, not all travelers are equally susceptible to getting sick. Your best bet in an unfamiliar location is to try out new foods cautiously and gradually, keeping in mind that the symptoms of food poisoning may take a few days to appear, but usually make themselves known with a vengeance later.
I think the article summarizes why ship-prepared food is a safer bet for cruisemates