First, let me preface this post with a caveat: absolutely all of the food we’ve had in India has been amazing. I have never eaten so well in my life. However …
The usual schedule for meals in India is a bit different than what we’re used to in the U.S. Breakfast comes whenever one gets up in the morning, much like we’re accustomed. Unlike what we’re used to though, it’s often spicy (like every other meal). Dosas – crepe-like pancakes, sometimes filled with savory bits like masala potatoes – are common, as are curries and rice. Very filling and satisfying, just different.
Lunch comes sometime around 2pm. Again, it tends to be a lot of food. Sambar – a spicy vegetable-packed sauce with curry leaves, chilies, potatoes, and regional variations like coconut milk or beans – and rice, briyani – seasoned rice with chicken or vegetables, depending on whether one eats meat – more rice with curd (yogurt), a cole slaw-like salad, and a sweet coconut and cardamom sauce/pudding are common elements.
Dinner, though, has been the most difficult for us. At home we generally eat a good-sized breakfast, a large meal mid-day, and only have a light snack – a salad, maybe some bread and cheese – in the evenings. We’re very much in the habit of not eating much in the evenings. In India, however, a hearty full meal is served around 9pm. For us, the lunch we ate late in the afternoon would normally be more than enough for the rest of the day. So dinner is a challenge. It’s definitely impolite to refuse, as a host is judged by how much food they serve their guests, and if you only eat a little they think they’re being poor hosts or you don’t like what they’re offering. Oof.