Indian cuisine in general terms is similar to the food you will have experienced from your local takeaway. A nice selection of curry’s from mild to hot with all the accompaniments. These you will find with ease from Central to North of Indian
However, Indian food is also heavily influenced by region, due to the difference in soil and climate. Cuisines will vary substantially and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruits, so an open mind to trying new dishes is wise.
The cuisine on the Southern side of India differs greatly to the Central and North, you won’t find a Butter Chicken, Tikka Masala or Rogan Josh. And nope, not even a naan bread! Instead you’ll find your taste buds tantalised by Dosas, a paper thin pancake filled with delicious treats such as spicy lamb, chickpeas or lentils accompanied with steamed coconut rice and Vadas, a gently spiced, savoury donut.
Religion and cultural choices also play a big part in Indian cuisine and you may find that some restaurants do not offer meat as an option with most Hindu’s and Buddhists following a strict vegetarian diet. Whereas Islamic Indian cuisine will offer Halal only options.
A treat not to be missed is the street food market, where locals cook their dishes in the open air for you to try. It’s cheap, cheerful and extremely tasty! What is better still is that while your taste buds are having an experience of their own you are supporting a local family to survive the poverty that still exists in this country.
TOP TIP – For those of you that like it extra mild or even extra hot – here is a translation in Hindi the most spoken language in India.
Food Heat = bhojan kee garmee
Very Mild = Bahut Halka
Mild = Halka
Medium = Mahyam
Hot = Garm
Very Hot = Bahut Garm
Etiquette - In India, you should finish everything that is on your plate because it is considered a respect for the host, and with food in Indian considered sacred, you don't want to waste a morsel. In South India, where food is usually served on a banana leaf, it is polite to fold your leaf over from the top to bottom ― Do not fold the leaf from the bottom to the top, as this is a sign to the host that you were not satisfied.