Have you ever been invited to lunch or dinner at an Indian home? If you haven’t, then you’re probably anxious about Indian customs that you should know about and adhere to when you do get invited. And if you have been invited before, you may be wondering just the same if you unintentionally did anything rude or counter to standard Indian etiquette that you weren’t aware of. If you fall under any of these two categories, we give you some tips below on how to dine Indian, so you can be confident to accept that next invitation to an Indian dinner.
Before the Meal:
Indians love hosting meals in their homes, and even if you’ve just casually dropped in for a quick hello, they will always invite you to stay for a meal. Never refuse this invitation, unless you have a very good reason to. Indians hold strongly to the tradition of feeding their guests. As the saying goes for them, “The guest is God!”
When you are invited, common Indian courtesy has it that arriving 10-15 minutes later than the given time is actually better than arriving right on time. This gives the host just a little more extra time to prepare for your arrival.
When you get to your host’s home, the meal won’t be served immediately. Beverages and snacks are offered first over some chit chat, as a kind of warm up.
Most families eat their meals at a table. Eating on the floor is more customary for families in rural places. But wherever you will be eating, the meal will often be buffet-style, where you can help yourself to any dish laid on the table. Typical Indian cooking for guests includes an enticing display of basmati rice, flatbread, meat, vegetable or lentil dishes, salad, yogurt and pickles.
During The Meal:
Here are a few basic guidelines for eating like an Indian:
Use your hands to eat, unless the host uses utensils to eat his meal. However, Indians love eating with their hands, so your host most probably will. Remember to use your right hand when eating, as the left hand is seen as the unclean hand, according to Indian belief. Using your left hand to eat is considered rude and unhygienic.
Use the tip of your fingers to neatly scoop your food. Refrain from licking or putting your fingers in your mouth.
You will most likely be urged by your host to have some more food. As far as possible, don’t decline this invitation. The Indian measure of how well you liked the food served to you will be on how much you actually ate.
Meals usually end with a dessert or two, and some coffee or tea to aid digestion. You will find the warm beverage comforting to your stomach after having had a full meal, so don’t despair about feeling too bloated after being offered more food!
Although Indians seem to have more customs and traditions than you’re capable of remembering, you’re not expected to know them all. Indians are gracious and understanding hosts and don’t expect you to know everything about their traditions. Relax, enjoy, remember only the few tips that we’ve given here, and have a great time!
And by the way, if you’ve enjoyed your host’s Indian cuisine immensely (and we’re pretty sure you did) and would like to have your own Indian meal at home, you may get in touch with us at Curry Corner. Our authentic Indian home-cooked meals have won the hearts and stomachs of Australians for generations, and we’re sure you’ll love our sublime and exotic flavours just as much. From bread rolls, to curries, to sweet desserts, you can satisfy your Indian food cravings with us anytime. Browse through our website for our menu.
Phone: 0406 238 094
Landline: 03 9663 4040