Chinapac: Dining in India

What are the dining customs in India?

Always wash your hands before and after a meal. It is customary to wait for the host or the eldest person to begin eating before everyone else.


Eating with hands/fingers is common practice in India, but remember: only the right hand is used for food; the left hand is usually reserved for washroom tasks. If utensils are offered, feel free to use them. If unsure, take a hint from surrounding people. Never stick your hand in shared bowls, instead, use a utensil with your left hand to serve yourself.

Food should be taken as it was made. It is impolite to ask for salt.


It is customary to turn down the first offer of tea, coffee or snacks as a sign of modesty. Your host will often insist and ask you again, or even pour you a cup regardless. Thank them if they do.


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