In Shanghai during the winter season, cases of food poisoning rocket. There are more germs whizzing around than traffic on the Yan’an elevated highway. You are more susceptible to getting a case of the Baoshan Belly or a case of our food coming out of the Xuijia-wrong-hui (sorry)! Your only friend being the lavatory, avoiding the worried glances of your beau as you degenerate into a Gollumesque toilet loiterer. There are some simple measures that we can take in order to prevent sick day accumulation and being bed riddled.
Obvious but absolutely necessary at all times. Wash your hands well. Wash your food well before cooking. Simple and effective.
Don’t eat pre-cooked food
In very ‘local’ type restaurants, never ‘assume’ things are going to be OK with food that has been cooked and just left out. Ideas about refrigeration and storage are totally different here. Food can be left out, to basically rot, for quite some time and it is still served.
Don’t re-heat restaurant / delivery food
You don’t know how many times it has been previously re-heated or when exactly it was frozen, or defrosted, or cooked. Don’t save money by re-heating old food, as you may regret it.
If you re-heat anything, blast it
If you still decide to re-heat outside, or your own, food, then make sure that it is piping hot, ALL THE WAY THROUGH! A major reason for food poisoning is ‘warmed up’ microwave food, when it was not fully heated through. Some foods might need a drop of water to stop them from drying out in the microwave.
Bacteria doesn’t care about your mindset
So you go for a local BBQ place or such. That little pot of condiments, spices and sauce sitting on the side? It doesn’t care that you will ‘power through’ and eat it bravely. It has been sitting out for days, weeks, months.
Strong alcohol, like strong wines or spirits, is proven to help kill harmful bacteria. In a seafood market? Do like a local and go for baijiu all the way.
Trust your instincts
Or your ‘gut feel’, if we’re being pun-ny. If it looks weird, smells weird, tastes weird… go eat somewhere else
There are few cures other than vomiting or pooping it all back out. But some things that can help are using a hot water bottle on your stomach, as well as drinking very hot water. When feeling a little better, speed up recovery with things like ginger tea, Coca Cola and obviously, plenty of fresh fruit and simply cooked vegetables.
This winter we hope that these simple tips will put you in good stead to fight the nasty bacteria and make this a healthy, happy “hiver” (winter in French – yes I am perhaps too educated for this)!