India promises you an extraordinary culinary journey! Rich and varied in every respect, it does not fail to live up to its reputation when it comes to gastronomy. Some rules to respect, however:
- If you are allergic to spices, rest assured, you will not be forced to fast. Almost all restaurants in tourist cities offer continental cuisine (a term that usually refers to pasta, pizzas or chips). But remember to tell the waiter that you want a no spicy dish; this will avoid any unpleasant surprises.
- To avoid getting sick, avoid raw vegetables if possible, often washed with dubious water, and unpeeled fruit. Also ban water-cut fruit juices (ask for no ice cubes and no water) and ice cream sold on the street. By sparing your stomach, you will only enjoy more of India’s delights!
- It is better to choose the typical dishes of the region rather than the (so-called) continental dishes. How many tourists have gotten sick from a pasta dish or pizza; obviously this is not a generality, but at least the Indians hold the secrets of a good thali or a paneer tikka masala…
And eat with the right hand, of course!
Veg’ or not veg’?
The meat is considered impure by the Brahmins. Out of devotion, other Hindu castes have developed the habit of not consuming it, even if they are not obliged to. Yogis also advise against meat diets that are considered “elastic”, i.e. that give the thought an aggressive or unbalanced character, unlike satvic foods (fruits, vegetables, dairy products, etc.) that provide the serenity necessary for meditation.
The Maharajahs, great hunters before the Lord, did not deprive themselves of game to eat. Most meat recipes date from Muslim invasions. They are inspired by Turkey and Iran, via Afghanistan and are often referred to as Mughal cuisine. Buddhist populations are generally vegetarian, but you will still eat meat in the areas concerned (Ladakh).
Finally, the cow is sacred in India, so it is useless to tell you that you will not eat beef steak… even if some Indian Muslims do. But the slaughter of a cow always causes serious disagreements between communities. As a result, some Muslim restaurants display the sign “No Beef” on their front so as not to shock Hindus. Consumption of chicken or sheep is much more common and does not lead to conflict.