indian food

How To Eat Indian Food Using Your Fingers the Traditional Way

Most of us are used to eating food with utensils, but if you enjoy eating Indian food, you could enjoy it even more if you also learn how to eat it the traditional way. In this article, let us talk about a particular traditional feast called the Kerala Sadya and how you use your fingers during this special occasion.

What Is Kerala Sadya?

Sadya is a traditional meal that is common in Kerala, India. This feast is usually served during an Indian wedding, but it can also be served during other important occasions such as a birthday celebration. In fact, this is usually the first dish served during such occasions.

Sadya is served along with other dishes. Generally, a sadya is served in a plantain leaf called a thali. The served dishes are made from many different ingredients, including vegetables, meat, and rice. 

Sadya is also considered a traditional way of eating food with your fingers.

How Do You Eat Kerala Sadya With Your Fingers?

Kerala Sadya is a special meal that is best eaten with your fingers. Traditionally, you will be served in a plantain leaf (the thali) along with other dishes. 

The sadya will be placed in the center of the mat. As for the dishes, they are placed in a circle in decreasing order. This means that the most important dish is placed in front while the least important dish is placed in the back.

Now that the dishes are arranged on the platter, it is time to eat. The sadya is eaten with your fingers. Here’s how you do it: Put a handful of rice or any of the dishes on your hand with the tips of your fingers facing you. Use your thumb to scoop up the rice from your palm. 

Other Things You Need to Know

Here are some other essential things to know if you find yourself in a Kerala Sadya table: 

  • Always wash your hands before sitting down to eat.
  • Only use your right hand when eating, as the left hand is generally considered unsanitary.
  • Eat the bread first. It can be accompanied by vegetables and meat dishes later. The last is the remaining vegetables or meat, together with the rice and the daal (a watery lentil dish).
  • After eating the main dish, you can eat a small amount of side dishes to complement and add different flavours and textures to the food.
  • Try to eat each dish separately to enjoy each of its flavours. Avoid eating a combination of everything in one go.
  • Wait for everyone else to finish before you wash your hands.


Eating Kerala Sadya can be an interesting experience. It is a traditional feast that you must try if you spend a lot of time in India or enjoy its culture, food, and tradition. It can be a little intimidating at first, but you will eventually get the hang of it. The best thing about Kerala Sadya is that you experience the traditional way of eating Indian foods. The dirtier you get, the more fun the experience will be.

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