Indian Eating Etiquette

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Indian food has a rich and diverse culture. It is influenced by many surrounding countries, which have led to a vast amount variety in all regions. Here in London you will not often find many people using their hands to eat their Indian takeaways as we generally prefer knives and forks, but in India you are expected to eat with you right hand as the left is considered unclean.

It takes some practice and you have to make sure your fingernails are short and your hands are thoroughly washed.  A common practice is to use breads such as nan and roti to scoop up food and delicious gravy and curry sauce. However, in some cases it is simply not possible to use your hands, for example, when you are eating soup it is acceptable to use a spoon.

In some areas of India it is considered ill mannered to leave the sides of your fingers stained with food and you are not supposed to lift the plate with your left hand eat. Other ill mannered practices include taking food from other peoples plates. Etiquette is very important in India, out of respect you should wait for either the host or elders to begin eating first before digging in yourself, which is not unlike western culture.

Pork is thought to be unclean by Muslims and cows are considered sacred by Hindu’s which why you don’t often find them on the menu of your local Indian take away. However, having said that you do often find pork available in Goa, which is a large city on the west coast of India.

Other common rules of etiquette include washing your hands after your meal and you must finish everything on your plate out of respect for the food served.

If you want to be authentic next time you order an Indian takeaway you can try to use your fingers you never know it might be fun. But don’t forget to wash your hand first.