Digging Truth Out of The Top 7 Misconceptions About Indian Food

Published:27 Nov, 2018/ Swati Mishra[1]

What is the first thing that pops up in the mind when thinking about Indian Food? Oily, rich, fatty, time-consuming cooking and what not! Even though Indian food is popular across the globe yet it has been highly misunderstood. International Tourists coming to India have some common food-safety misconceptions related to food that are just not true and stop them from consuming it. But that doesn’t really mean that they are unsafe. So allow me to uncover and bust some myths related to food in India that would help you consume them without giving a second thought and make the most out of your India Tour without falling sick. Let’s get started with what’s safe & what’s not in India-

All Indian Foods are spicy

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THIS ISN’T THE TRUTH! Yes, India is a land of spices and a variety of spices are used in the Indian cooking but this is not applicable for all the Indian food items and not all of them makes the food spicy. Some of the spices do add sweetening to the food considering cinnamon and cardamom whereas talking about the red chilies which adds heat to the food is completely an option which could easily be omitted depending on your preferences (which even I don’t put while cooking). In the sense, visiting the restaurant or local food joint, you can simply ask the person in charge not to make the food spicy. Also, just to make this one out of many food myths in India there are few spices like garlic, ginger, turmeric that are either added to the food as preservatives and have some medicinal benefits and healing properties.

All Indian Food is Fattening and Unhealthy

digging-truth-out-of-the-top-7-misconceptions-about-indian-food-1 Digging Truth Out of The Top 7 Misconceptions About Indian FoodJust like all Italian food are not only about pasta and Chinese food about soy sauce, all Indian foods aren’t fattening. Indian cuisines are just like how you want it to be made. A dish cooked with 5 tablespoons oil/ghee can also be made using 2 tablespoons of it. Talking about the sinful and lip-smacking dishes, some of them really doesn’t require oil/ghee as they are prepared by roasting, grilling and even boiling. So this is the second misconception that I feel is not sorted out to let you taste the true Indian food just the way you want it.

All Indian Food Contains Curry Powder

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Tourists coming to India have often been found asking whether the curry which is served to them contains curry powder or not. This is certainly not the truth. Curry powder is a blend of many different spices which when used in curry has typically came to be called as curry powder.  But not all the dishes would have curry powder. The common blend which is added in most of the food items are turmeric, ginger, and coriander. So again, ‘curry powder’ is not an authentic Indian spice but an option to put in the food item depending on the choice.

Street Foods are Unhygienic

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It’s not always how it looks appears to be the same. In the sense, street food might look unhygienic but actually, it is not the case. In fact, they aren’t unhygienic as they are served super-hot which is obvious to kill the bacterias (only if it is made in front of you). A well-known Australian culinary historian said that she found street food in India safer than restaurants catering to international travellers in India. But make sure to take the precautions before you start consuming the food. Wipe your eating ware with a paper napkin before use and don’t overeat as you are not used to it so there might be chances that you could face the problem of digestion. Also, if you are someone with the sensitive stomach and travelling to India, there are whole lot of safe food for travellers misconceptions that you can try without making your tummy upset. This includes Idli (little rice cake served with coconut chutney), dosa (sort of rice pancake), lassi (made from yogurt/cured).

Eating with hands isn’t safe

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It has been obvious that people in India believe in the practices and culture that has been prevailing since ages and one such is eating with hands which have confused the tourists coming from the Western countries. But I would also like to add that not all food is meant to be eaten with hand but the food that is originally Indian, which includes rotis, parathas and rice, are easier to deal with one’s hands. So, coming to India I would recommend you to try eating with hands as you can experience the traditional Indian culture. Also, eating with the hand is just an option which completely depends on you.

Note: Using Hand Sanitizer and Wipes can help you protect from the germs before eating the food with your hand.

All Indian Food is Rich and Diet-Busting

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Indian food has always carried a reputation of being high in calories. But the reality is truly different from what the foreigners believe. Not all the food that is cooked in India are rich and diet busting. Travelling in India, you can even opt for food that are low in calorie and are available in a wide variety that includes buttermilk, ragi dosa, oats idli, raita, dhokla etc.

Fruits in India aren’t safe

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Fresh and colorful fruits can be quite tempting but are they safe is the main question that tourists coming to India have in their mind. Chemical wax is being used to polish the fruits to make them shine for a longer period of time. Talking about the safety it isn’t unsafe to eat the fruits in India. All you need to do is always wash fruit diligently before eating which would help remove the pesticides and other impurities. Also, prefer consuming organic fruits over the random ones.

Tips For Eating In India to Be Safe From Sickness

Spending quality holidays in India, there are certain things that need to be kept in mind as you’ll be moving out of the comfort zone that would be totally different from your daily life including, eating habits and hygiene style. As food safety tips when traveling abroad is a sensitive topic, we came up with a list of few food safety and tourism tips on how to avoid getting sick in India and staying safe and healthy all throughout the trip.

Avoid Drinking The Tap Water in India

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Tap water in India is unfit for the consumption, the reason being it is contaminated which could be really unsafe for health. Yes, in some areas of India locals drink the tap water but it is a complete ‘NO’ for the westerners. So if you happen to come to India solo or on a family vacation, visiting the restaurants, you might be treated with drinking water, but it’s advisable to buy a water bottle with the seal intact which is one out of other ways for how to stay healthy while traveling in India.

Do Not Overeat

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We are humans and we all have the tendency to gorge on delicious food. But that’s okay to do if you are doing it in your native place not when visiting India or say suppose any other country.  So if you happen to visit, India, I would advise you not to overeat any food item as it could cause a problem with your digestion. Keeping your digestive power strong would boost your immune system which isn’t going to trouble you when exploring incredible India.

Consider Eating More Vegetarian Food

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Various research states that India has a very lowest meat consumption rate in the entire world which could be because of various religious reasons prevailing in India. All the more it is yet another tips for eating healthy and what could be the better experience than digging into mouthwatering vegan street food while in India which is not to be missed. However, you need to be cautious when eating it. Make sure that the food is thoroughly cooked and prefer eating at the vendors that have lineups of people waiting for the food as it is a clear sign of the popularity of the quality of food being served.

Avoid Eating Too Much Red or Green Chillies

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Yes, spicy food is good in moderation to keep your digestive fire but according to the Western Physiology, it isn’t true. So eating in India, you need to be firm about that you ask the concerned person not to add green or red chilly in your food. Also, prefer consuming the antidotes like plain rice, bread, yogurt etc. South Indian food is also an easy going food for your tummy as it has zero or less green chilly added in the food.

Avoid Eating Salads or Drinking Juices at Random Stalls

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Again just the fruits, salads and freshly squeezed fruit juices might seem to be tempting but I would recommend you not to eat or drink it. There have been times when tourists coming to India who were succumbed to the temptation and ended up with a worse digestive issue that spoiled the entire trip to India. So make sure you eat only freshly cooked food from a well-reputed restaurant with high turnover.

Always Carry Probiotics Would Be the Life Savers

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Yes, probiotics are the friends of the intestine. If you are somebody with a sensitive stomach then make sure you carry probiotics as it will help improve digestion and increase natural immunity which would prevent you from falling sick. Also, probiotics are generally good for all round digestive health, even when you’re not planning a trip to India.

Consuming Coconut Water Can Help

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Truly this is one of my favorites drinks which you could possibly have in India. The coconut water helps you stay hydrated and soothe a dodgy stomach. You can find the refreshing drink anywhere in India which is served by cutting the top layering of the coconut, making a hole to place the straw in it so that it becomes easier for your to drink.

The only answer behind why food safety is important when travelling to India or any other part of the world is that it ensures that the food you and your family would consume is safe. Travel & Tourism in India keeps thriving so they are well equipped to treat any type of disease or to provide medication for food poisoning, but keeping in mind some of the precautions, from eating safely in India can better help you enjoy your trip to make it a lifetime experience.

So if you are planning your trip to India with family or solo, and need guidance on best places to eat or any other holiday packages, then talk to our expert at Tour My India, who would guide you in a much better way. Call at +91-9212553106/07 or drop an email at info@tourmyindia.com.

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Born and brought up in Assam- ‘The Land of Tea Gardens’, Swati is a Travel Writer who yearns to travel around the whole world someday. Coming from one of lush-green and peaceful states of India, her love for nature and rain is beyond imagination. She is an observant and is keen to explore more about the things that comes her way which could be clearly seen in her write ups. Other than this, she is a foodie and can do anything for food that is made out of cheese especially- The Alfredo Penne Pasta!


  1. ^ Posts by Swati Mishra (www.tourmyindia.com)

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