Hands On

Indians often eat with their hands instead of cutlery—here's how to do it properly

Brenda Weaver

When traveling in India, you're likely to find yourself sitting down to a meal without a piece of cutlery in sight. Our advice? Dig in. But follow these local rules of etiquette: Wash your hands before and after a meal, and use only your right hand for eating, as the left is reserved for hygiene purposes and considered unclean.

  1. For soupy curries or dals, mix them into rice to soak up excess liquid. Bring the tips of your middle and index fingers and the thumb of your right hand together, with fingers pointing down.

  2. Use your fingers to scoop up a small portion of food. Pinch the food between your fingers and thumb, forming a loose ball. Devour. Repeat.