Indian cuisine is renowned for its bold flavors and spices, but many people make some common mistakes while dining at an Indian restaurant. Whether you’re visiting the best Indian restaurant in Wollongong or the top-rated Indian restaurant in Penrith, here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience:
Embrace Eating with Your Hands
Eating with your hands is a traditional way of enjoying Indian food. Most Indian dishes are designed to be eaten without utensils, and using your hands can efficiently scoop up everything from creamy kormas to spiced chickpeas. So, don’t be afraid to tear off a piece of roti and use it to scoop up your food.
Avoid Ordering “Chai Tea”
When ordering tea in an Indian restaurant, don’t make the mistake of asking for “chai tea.” “Chai” means “tea,” so ordering “chai tea” is like asking for “tea tea.” Instead, order “chai” and enjoy the masala-spiked goodness.
Don’t Ask for “Naan Bread”
Naan is a popular Indian flatbread cooked in a tandoor oven until fluffy. Asking for “naan bread” is a redundant phrase as it’s already bread, so ask for “naan” to enjoy with tandoori chicken or other dishes.
Try Different Types of Indian Bread
While naan is undoubtedly delicious, take advantage of other bread options such as paratha, puri, rotis, and bhatura. Each bread type has its unique texture and flavor that pairs perfectly with different Indian dishes.
Don’t Just Order Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken tikka masala is a popular dish, but don’t limit yourself to it. Try flavorful options like pav bhaji, malai kofta, and Goan shrimp. It should also be noted that chicken tikka masala is not an Indian dish but was invented by the British.
Not Everything Is a Curry
Curry is a British invention and not an accurate catch-all term for all Indian dishes. Many Indian dishes, like the popular saag paneer, are never made with curry leaves or powder. South Indian cuisine does not even feature curry on its menu.
Chutney Is a Condiment
Chutney is not a dip like hummus, so don’t scoop it up with your naan. Instead, think of it as a condiment that enhances the flavors of your dish. It pairs well with everything from bread to meat and vegetables.
Order Family Style
Indian cuisine is best-enjoyed family style, where everyone shares various dishes, including vegetables, lentils, meats, rice, and bread. Don’t be afraid to order a little bit of everything and enjoy the diversity of flavors.
Fennel Seeds Are a Breath Freshener
The colorful sugar-coated fennel seeds near the entrance of an Indian restaurant are not meant to be eaten as a snack before the meal. They are a popular style of mukhwas, which are various types of seeds and nuts used to freshen your breath and aid digestion. So, take a spoonful on your way out and enjoy their tasty benefits.
In conclusion, remember these tips to make the most of your dining experience at an Indian restaurant. From trying different bread options to enjoying a variety of dishes family-style, these tips will help you navigate the menu and appreciate the diverse and vibrant flavors of Indian cuisine.