When you travel to Kerala eating with fingers may be hard to start off with like locals, however once you realise that it is the best way to completeley enjoy traditional Kerala food and appreciate the tastes you will slowly adapt it. Looking at a normal Indian meal with so many curries and side dishes itself will be overwhelming let alone using your fingers to eat.
How to eat a meal?
A normal meal in Kerala may consist of
* Indian bread (chappathi, roti, or appam)
* Side dishes (salad, papad, pickles)
* Main dishes (vegetables and/or meat)
* Sambar/ Rasam(a spicy and watery combination of vegetables)
Appam or Chappati is eaten first with some of the vegetable or meat dishes. The remaining vegetables or meat are then eaten along with the rice and dal. The purpose of the side dishes is to add different flavors and texture to the food and you should only eat small helpings of side dish
Tips for eating
1. It’s clean and polite to wash your hands before you sit down to eat.
2. Only eat with your right hand. The left hand is considered to be unclean as it’s reserved for functions associated with going to the toilet.
3. Eat the bread (Chappati/ Appam) first with some of the vegetable or meat dishes, then eat the remaining vegetables or meat along with the rice and daal. The purpose of the side dishes is to add different flavors and texture to the food, so you should have a small portion of any one of these after each bite of the main dishes.
4. The most important thing is to sample each different dish separately, to allow its individual characteristics to be appreciated.
5. Be careful with the amount of sambar/ rasam you pour onto the rice. Too much daal will result in the rice becoming sloppy and it won’t hold together properly. Too little daal and the rice will be sticky and tasteless.
6.After eating, if you’re a guest in someone’s home, wait until everyone has finished then get up to wash your hands again to clean them.