Is the food really cheap in India?
Food and drinks in India
Eating behavior in India is very different from that in Europe and it is sometimes difficult to adjust. People usually sit on the floor and eat from a stainless steel plate with their right hand. Hands and face are washed before the meal. Eating breakfast or drinking tea and coffee before brushing your teeth is considered unclean. Water is drunk while eating. If you order a coffee without further instructions, it will be served after the meal. Conversation takes place before dinner; very little is spoken during this. When you are invited to dinner, you talk to each other before, but leave the house after the meal. This is why people eat very late in India. In many parts of the country, women and children eat separately and only after the men have finished eating. Guests are usually the only ones who eat. The hosts concentrate on serving. This is a sign of courtesy. Indians eat three warm meals a day.
Many Indians are vegetarians for religious or moral reasons. Even eggs are often avoided. In the past, Indian food was limited to fish. Meat only came on the menu through the Mughals and Europeans. The meat content in Indian curries is relatively low when compared to Europe. We can recommend the meat dishes tandoori and tikka.
Breakfast: Cornflakes, toast, jam, butter and eggs are standard in hotels and restaurants. Indians eat “idlis” (rice cake), “dosas (pancake),“ puri badji ”(fried bread with vegetables) or different types of bread with quark.
Lunch and dinner: There are regional differences, but in the big cities you will find restaurants that offer a wide variety of dishes, even if this is difficult for Westerlings to recognize at first. Indian meals consist of rice and various types of bread, with curry and “dal”. Curry is the name of all vegetarian, fish and meat dishes that are prepared with the most complex combinations of spices in the world (up to 25 different spices per meal). Dal is the name of the lentil dishes, which are an important source of protein. In addition to Indian cuisine, the larger cities also offer Western and Chinese food. Attempts to “copy” Western food are usually unsuccessful. One reason tourists have problems with Indian cuisine is that they often eat too much curry in relation to bread and rice. Curries are often spicy and oily and should only be eaten in small quantities (as a "sandwich" or with rice).
Snacks: In addition to meals, there are also snacks. Poor Indians often nibble on puffed rice, dried chickpeas or peanuts. “Belpuri” is a popular snack in and around Bombay. It is made from lentils, crispy vermicelli, tomatoes, onions and fresh coriander. You can buy a small portion for a few rupees. There are also various fried snacks, all of which are vegetarian. Only in the more expensive restaurants are these snacks made with a meat filling. They have names like “pakoras”, fried balls with potato starch, “samosas”, small baked goods with a potato and vegetable filling and “cutlets”, breaded and deep-fried snacks with various vegetarian fillings.
The tap water is unsuitable for consumption. The best thing to do is to buy a pool of water. Mineral water is relatively expensive. Therefore, water bottles are sometimes filled with tap water. So always check the seal. Ice cubes are only made from good water in good restaurants.
At a temperature of 30 ° Celsius or more, our body's water consumption increases sharply. If we make an effort, this can increase to up to 5 liters a day. Part of it is absorbed through eating, the rest has to be drunk. Through sweating, the body also loses important salts that have to be replenished. In the heat, you should get into the habit of eating soup as a starter. Chai tea or black tea is India's national drink. It is always served with a lot of milk and sugar. If you want it different, the best thing to do is to go to a good hotel. The same goes for coffee. Lemonades are now available all over India. The local variants are even sweeter than we are used to. A refreshing alternative is a drink called 'fresh-lime soda': mineral water with fresh lemon juice. You can order it sweetened, salted or plain. The same goes for another delicious drink, Lassi, which can be compared to buttermilk. Lassi can contain harmful bacteria, so it's best to only order it in good restaurants. Iced tea and iced coffee are also very tasty, the latter can be served with a ball of vanilla ice cream. There are also fruit juices, e.g. orange, mango, grape, papaya and pineapple. Mango and pineapple juice are sometimes difficult to digest, so you should only drink a little of them. You can also buy a coconut, have it opened, and drink the milk.
You can get beer almost everywhere, even if smaller hotels are officially not allowed to. In this case, you can only get it through room service. It is mostly sold in small bottles, although more and more large hotels are also offering draft beer. The best brands are Kingfisher, Black Label, and Pelican. Beer is relatively expensive and varies from 35 rupees in a store to 100 rupees in the big hotels. Spirits are available in bars and wine shops and are usually cheap imitations of whiskey, gin and rum. Wine lovers should bring a few bottles from home as it is difficult to get in India.
Restaurants and other places to eat
In every Indian village you will find a small restaurant with delicious food. The restaurants frequented by the Indians are very cheap. Sometimes you don't pay more than 40 cents. Not everyone feels comfortable there, as hygiene is not a high priority there. In practice, it is usually not that bad when a lot of people eat there. However, some western appetites are dampened by the decor there. In the tourist hotels, Indian food is served that is more geared towards foreign palates. The best food is prepared in the kitchens of local families. If you are lucky enough to be invited by a local, you should definitely accept this.
One of India's greatest attractions is certainly the variety of exotic fruits. You can get them in all colors, shapes and sizes. They excel each other when it comes to taste. Some of the most delicious fruits are mango, rambutan, papaya, pineapple, royal coconut, wood sorrel, jackfruit, mangostene, durian, and various types of bananas.
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