One of the challenges of traveling to India is how to enjoy all the great food and continue to enjoy it for your entire stay. The culinary delights of India are simply amazing and there are so many different types or styles of food. There are many stories about the challenges and how to overcome them. Here we look at a practical approach to enjoying meal times.
Every country has its own style of food. India is no different but it is unique in that almost every area has its own style of food – so it is really a “foodies” paradise. You can literally taste your way through India. From the northern curries to the southern “dosas” and “uttapams.” Enjoy “rangula” and “guleb jamons” all over the country. All best enjoyed with friends, sharing dishes and stories.
Firstly, the food in India is usually quite different from the Indian food that you may have eaten in your home country. Most travelers to India discover that the food in India is much tastier and hence more enjoyable. There are many theories about this fact but I have notices that it takes a lot more preparation time in India and the use of spice flakes rather than spice powders. This is noticeable with the chilli and cardamom that is used in both the Kerala and Punjabi dishes.
Secondly, be aware that food may be quite spicy in some parts of the country (particularly in Jaipur, Rajasthan), so when you order it is best to seek some guidance from your guides or experienced traveling companions. The southern food of Kerala often has a coconut taste, where as the Bengali cuisine in Kolkata includes mustard.
It is thought that drinking untreated water may be one of the main causes of discomfort to travelers. Drink reputable bottled water at all times. Also, be careful with including ice in your drinks – confirm that the ice is made from bottled water or equivalent prior to taking it.
India is a vegetarian’s paradise, since over a third of Indians strictly follow that diet; in fact there are many vegetarian only restaurants and we recommend that everyone partakes of this food if you have not done so before, at least once. Try the “malai kofta” with cashew sauce and the “palak paneer” for starters. Many people have told me that India is the easiest country to be a vegetarian.
Do not expect to eat beef in India as cows are sacred to the Hindus. Non-vegetarian food is available and generally includes chicken, mutton, and seafood. Try the Rajasthani chicken – it will make your mouth water!
Stay well by staying away from “street food”, unless your guide is sure that it is safe.
In summary, enjoy your travels to India and enjoy the food. It is often the most talked about part of an Indian adventure after the iconic sites.