Eating Etiquette in India – Tips for Northern India

2 March 2016 - 11:15, by , in Living in India, No comments

The beauty in following cultural etiquettes is that it allows you to understand, intermingle and enjoy its origin. Similar is the case with following eating etiquettes in India – the land of dreams and wonderfully delicious food.

Stepping into the northern side of India, you will find that a few social and eating norms are different from the other parts of it. However, majority of the Indians welcome foreigners wholeheartedly on their table and expect the same level of gratitude by simply anticipating a similar level of respect for their norms and eating gestures.

Let us start with a step by step easy to follow eating etiquette guide for the north side of India, which will not only make local socialization easier but rather a fun filled activity for you.

Preliminary Eating Etiquettes in India:

  • Observe hand washing prior to dinner, lunch or brunch at any household of north India.
  • Observe hand washing after the meal especially if you have used finger-tips for eating.
  • Use right hand for food intake and left hand for drinking water or drinks.
  • Wait for the elders amongst the hosts to be seated before eating.
  • Politely ask for the dish to be passed on instead of grabbing it from far across the table.
  • Avoid using cell phone during meals as it is considered rude. In case of an important call, ask to be excused and then take the call.
  • DO NOT pass on your JHOOTA (food that has been in contact with your mouth) even to your family members in front of an Indian host. It is considered to be highly unhygienic to drink from another’s glass or eat from another’s plate especially in Northern parts of India.
  • Compliment on food served by saying polite words like “This is absolutely fabulous” or “I wish I could learn how to cook food like this”. Simple words of gratitude tend to warm up hearts of Indian women; the mastermind behind all the great food you would probably eat in Indian households.

Area Specific Eating Etiquettes in India:

Use ONLY your right hand for eating and ONLY your left hand for drinking beverages such as beer, water or traditional Indian Lassi. Remember that in Northern India it is considered bad manners to use the entire hand to eat rice or left and right hand to tear a piece of chapatti. Also, only use your fingertips rather than the entire hand to eat rice, gravy or popular north Indian fish curry.

Eating Tip:

Use of cutlery and utensils is wide and open in luxurious Indian restaurants and hotels. Still, you will find that even the most polished Indians prefer using hands for eating traditional Indian food. Try following Indian eating norms next time you get invited to a dinner party and you might as well fall in love with the Indian food and culture all over again.

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