Indian Food
north vs south

learn the critical differences


How Indian food
differs markedly
in the north and south

Though the cuisines of both North and South India are among the world's finest and have some similarities, the two differ in major ways, as I've discovered on my many culinary research trips to India.

Rice vs breads -
the most striking difference

Rice is more popular in the south while wheat (which is transformed into breads) reigns in the north. Climate and economics mandate this regional Indian food preference. Rice grows more efficiently in the tropical and semi-tropical south, wheat in the temperate north.

Still, the Southerners do eat some breads, but they're more likely to be made of rice than wheat. Likewise, Northerners do eat some rice, but the rice grains grown in the north are longer, less glutinous and more fragrant than the southern-harvested varieties


They are thinner in the South, thicker in the North. The fact that Indians by custom eat with their hands dictates this difference.


Bread-eating Northerners require a thicker sauce because they use a piece of bread to scoop up the food and sauce. If the sauces were too wet, the bread would become soggy and fall apart - or the sauce would quickly flow off the bread back onto the plate or on the diner's lap.


Southerners don't face this thin-sauce problem because rice remains relatively firm when wet - and readily absorbs the seasoned liquid before the diner pops a hand-held clump of rice into his mouth.

Learn More

for next India North vs South page

Learn my Indian Cuisine tips
and insights on these pages

Click blue links

India's 6 most famous
regional cuisines
Tamil Nadu

Related pages
North vs South Indian cuisines
Indian food - Home Page
Top 10 Travel Wonders of India


Photo by OpenCage Systems - CC BY 2.0



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