Similar to other culinary traditions throughout the world, India places a high value on proper eating manners. India's customary eating practices reflect the diverse traditions and cultures of the nation. Even while dining etiquette is the same throughout most of the nation, there may be minor variations between northern and southern regions. Here is a basic introduction to Indian eating manners that you can use when you go to an Indian restaurant or visit an Indian friend.
Before the meal
The phrase "Atithi Devo Bhava," which translates to "the Guest is God," is one that Indians fervently believe in. Therefore, don't be shocked if you drop by an Indian friend's house casually and are subsequently invited to stay for dinner; that's a sign of respect and honor. On the other hand, if you've been asked to a dinner party, it's quite acceptable to show up at your host's house 15 to 20 minutes later than expected. Given that your host will still be preparing, arriving early or exactly on time may seem disrespectful. Additionally, you'll observe that your dinner won't be served to you right away once you arrive. There is a previous snack session where you will be given a couple beverages and nibbles along with some light conversation.
When the meal is announced
It is required that you wash and dry your hands before the meal is announced. According to Indian etiquette, washing your hands is a prerequisite before eating. Tables and chairs are set up for dining in restaurants, hotels, and urban houses; nevertheless, in rural regions, some families sit together on floor mats designed for eating meals while dressed comfortably. In most Indian households, the homemaker sets the table with food for the family and keeps an eye on who is hungry, offering and bringing extra food as necessary.
Sequence of food
In India, there are no "courses" when it comes to eating, unlike in Western society. The entire meal is delivered at once. However, based on the nation's regional customs and various cuisines, you can get to see a variety of serving techniques. The homemaker will either serve the meal on your plate or you can help yourself because dishes will be served rather than individual amounts.
Standard Indian food
Your typical supper might consist of flatbreads like naan, chapati, roti, or paratha, daal, curries, raita, rice, pickles, and a few desserts. If you travel to other parts of the nation, such as Punjab, Gujarat, Bengal, north-east India, or south India, the food may vary.
Use of cutlery
Indians like to eat with their fingers instead of silverware most of the time. Another inside joke is that food tastes considerably better when eaten with your fingers. Only the tips of the fingers are utilized when eating with the fingers, which is done neatly. However, spoons are used to eat liquid foods like curries and daals in urban areas and restaurants. Because the food made here is typically bite-sized, Indians discourage the use of a knife as utensils. Again, flatbreads are only consumed with the hands. Curries are then scooped out of a little portion that has been torn with the fingers into the shape of a boat and placed in the mouth. Everything else is presented on a single plate, with the exception of bread and sweets.
Use of the right hand
Always use your right hand when you're eating in India. You must eat with your right hand even if you are a lefty. Indians believe that using the left hand is disrespectful and dirty. As a result, the left hand is kept dry and is solely used to transfer dishes or sip water.
Food sharing is highly valued in Indian culture. It is usual to share your meal with your companion if you are dining with them at an Indian restaurant and both of you order different meals. However, remember to only share from the serving bowl or dish and not from your plate. Similarly, it is considered impolite to eat off of someone else's plate. Additionally, it is thought to be extremely unhygienic to dip your used spoon and fork into someone else's food or the primary serving dish.
There must be nothing left over from your meal on your plate. In Indian culture, it is considered rude to leave food on your plate. It is not required to try every food that is offered, but you must consume everything that is on your plate. Additionally, avoid manipulating or altering food in any manner. You must remember to consume food at a moderate rate. If you eat your food too rapidly, it may come out as rude, and if you eat it too slowly, it can suggest that you don't like it.
You must thank your host for the food when you've finished your dinner. Expressing your admiration will make the host happy because food is prepared with a great deal of attention and effort.
Leaving the table
If you've already eaten your meal, you must stay seated until the host or the senior member of the group at the table finishes their meal. It is considered impolite to leave the table when everyone else is still eating.
So, these are the fundamentals of observing Indian meal manners. Please feel free to ask your host any questions. Additionally, unless you are truly full, do not decline your host's offer of more food. In India, expressing affection and respect is done by saying, "Take some more food." Your host can tell how much you appreciated the cuisine by how much you ate.