When you think of Indian food, roti naan and tandoori chicken comes to your mind, right? Well, it’s not just that. Indian food is very diverse. What is celebrated as Indian in the west is probably only 1% of it. Indian food is spicy for sure, but that’s more of a generalization. Depending on which kind of food you’re eating, you etiquettes also differ. South Indian, North Indian, Bengali, Tamil, Malbari.. the styles are vast and etiquettes different. Let’s take a look.
‘No’ to Cutlery
Indians don’t use any cutlery for eating food instead they prefer their hand for that purpose.Even though many of the 5-star or 3-star provides the cutlery set for eating, you cannot all the food with a spoon. For example the typical Indian foods like Idly, Dosa, Roti,Naan etc can be best tasted with a hand as it will take more time and effort to eat it with the help of a spoon or fork. If you are not provided a spoon or fork,you can always ask the hotel person to provide.
Use right hand for eating
Food is considered as a form of Goddess in India and they call it ‘Anna Lakshmi’ and they thank God for keeping them good before starting eating and they always use right hand for eating food . So never use your left hand for eating as it is not only considered a bad manner but also a disrespectful act for the food. Use your right hand for serving the food yourself or others. Wash you hands completely before starting eating.
Don’t waste food
Avoid wasting food as much as possible. If you are unsure whether you will like the food or not,then don’t order that food. Wasting food is considered a bad practice in India as they see food as a god. When so many people in the world starve for one serving of food,we cannot afford to waste the food. In Indian homes, they used to feed the left over food for the dogs in the street and they don’t waste the food.
Usage of tissues
Tissues are not used much while eating in India as they eat food with hands and wash them after eating. You can find tissues in 5-star or 3- star restaurants but not in other places. Some restaurants will provide the tissues if you ask them. Keep your own tissues if you really need them.
Don’t expect wine along with food
In most of the western countries wine is served along with the food menu.But in India that practice is not followed and wine or any sort of alcoholic drinks are not served with food. Also many of the small or medium restaurants do not have any type of alcoholic drinks. If you wish you to drink wine, you can visit a restaurant with a bar facility.
Don’t overeat any food even if it is very delicious as it will affect your health after few hours. Try to avoid too oily and spicy foods as it may lead of indigestion and stomach pain for some people.
Dining with Indian people
Not all Indian people eat non vegetarian food. People who eat non vegetarian food also may not eat on some selected days or occasions. If you are dining with an Indian, check this before ordering the food so that they don’t feel uncomfortable.
Some people may not share their food with others as they don’t like to eat the left over food by others.
Generally the order of serving in India is Guest,older people,men,children and the women.So patiently wait for your turn and the food to be served to all people .Don’t start eating unless the host says so. If you finished eating, wait for others to finish their food before getting up from the place.
Always thank your host with a word of appreciation for him and the food.
Giving Tips in restaurants
In western countries not all restaurants will have serving facility and many of them will be of self service. So giving tips are mandatory there.But in India most of the restaurants will have people employed separately for taking orders,serving food and cleaning the table and giving tips is not mandatory. Mostly Indians will give a small amount (Rs.10 to Rs.50) to the person who served food depending on the total amount spent for the food.Some people will give the tip to the cleaning person who usually gets a lower salary than the serving person.
Eat buffet food
Eating buffet type of food will be more comfortable for the tourists as it not will have variety but you can choose the desired food thereby avoiding wastage of food.Mostly buffer food are available for lunch and dinner in many 3 star and 5 star restaurants. It will have western style food stuffs like soups, vegetable salads,fruits etc.
Enjoy the Indian Feast!!!
Hi, Mani Karthik here. Having lived in USA, India & Middle East, and worked for big MNC’s to startups, I have a lot to share with you. My aim is to help people, by sharing everything I’ve learned in life, through this blog. It’s read today by more than 150K people world over! I currently live in LA, California and visit India occasionally. Here’s my full story on who I am and why I blog. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or WhatsApp (+001-408-489-4785). Happy to help! 🙂