Observing dining etiquette in any country is important as it shows good manners and upbringing. In India however, eating is traditionally considered as an elaborate ritual that should be recognised and respected. Food plays a part in every country’s culture and identity, and just as some cultures eat with chopsticks or sit on the floor to eat, India also has it’s own traditional dining customs.
Eating Food With Your Right Hand
In India, eating is supposed to be a sensory experience, and it is said that the nerve endings in your fingertips stimulate digestion, so touching your food sends signals to your stomach to prepare for food.
Even though eating with the hands is preferred, traditionally, food should always be eaten with your right hand and never the left. The left hand should only be used to serve food onto your plate or to pass food around the table. It is a sign of disrespect to use your left hand to eat as it is considered to be unclean.
Serving Food On Banana Leaves
Practiced mostly in Southern India, eating food from a banana leaf is considered healthy, and is purified with sprinklings of water before food is placed upon it. It is thought that when food is put on top, the nutrients from the leaves enrich the food as well as giving it a different aroma and taste.
Banana leaves were traditionally used to maintain hygiene, but were also big and thick enough to hold large portions of food. They were also readily available and so provided a disposable, handier alternative to a plate!
Don’t Share Utensils
Even though sharing food in India is traditionally encouraged, sharing utensils inspires the opposite sentiment. Jhootha is an Indian term used to refer to food or utensils that have touched someone else’s mouth, and is considered to be unhygienic and even offensive in many parts of India.
The same goes for food that is already on your plate. It should not be offered to anyone else, as it already exists as jhootha.
Even though we don’t expect you to eat with your hands, Ronaq Restaurant takes pride in the use of traditional cooking methods and conventional Indian recipes. If you’re looking for a real taste of the culture at an Indian restaurant in Edinburgh then be sure to contact us at 0131 332 3362 to enquire about bookings. You can follow our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages for updates.