How to deal with spicy food in India?
When you are in India for the first time you certainly search for not spicy food, if you are like us. And maybe you already know, India is full of spices. So, when you want to eat something, no matter is it street food or a restaurant, you should ask for not spicy food but even then your expectations can be disappointed.
A long time ago when we came to India for the first time, our destination was Goa. After a few days in Mumbai, we took a bus to Goa. All night we slept in a cold air-conditioned bus which was surprising at the time as we were in India. In the morning we reached a small village not far from Margao. There we took a rickshaw (tuk-tuk) to find a hotel or specifically flat for rent. After checking many offers, which took us around 30 minutes, we found a place for us, big, not far from the beach, for a small prize. We paid 16 000Rs (221$) for a month. It had 2 bedrooms of middle size, kitchen, bathroom and a living room with a small television. Almost every day we went outside to explore the village or just to go to the beach and, what goes with it, eat something. On the beach there was no problem as the food was adapted for tourists, on the other side, there were more expensive prices. In the city, it wasn’t easy as that.
Sometimes when we went to the city, mostly by walking, we got hungry. So we went to a restaurant or a bar. We sat and took the menu. Looked through and, as always, took some kind of chicken. We told the waitress our order and added very loudly ‘Not spicy’. We told them that, actually, a few times. And the answer was ‘Yes, Yes…’ shaking/nodding their head. We waited for 15 minutes drinking cold drinks and talking and finally, they brought food. We, full of expectations and excitement, started eating and what we feel… ‘SPICY’. We called the waitress asking to bring water, fast. After, they apologized to us for making it so spicy.
Complaining would not help. You can just order water and get used to it. So, the important fact about Indians is that they always have to add a lot of spices. Even when you ask them not to they add anyway as it might be strange for them, for the food to be without them.
Here is another story or just a fact. Once living in Tamil Nadu we had neighbors with children. Almost every day they came to play with my sisters. Sometimes we came to their house and a few times they invited us for dinner. They were careful to make it not too spicy. It was very tasty as by that time we got used to the little spicy food. But one day we invited them. We made our kind of dish, pasta with chicken cheese sauce and tomato salad. For us, it was really great but you should have seen their faces. It was too delicate for them. They were used to the very strong, full of different spices, food and this was, for them, without a taste.
The same story happened to one polish group traveling in India. They had few women that cooked food. But once they cooked for these women. It was potato, sauce, soup and some salad. They posted a picture where you could clearly see that Indian girls didn’t enjoy the food that was made for them.
So if you don’t like spicy food, my advice is to cook at home or just to patiently eat spicy foods little by little and after, you will see that it actually is really delicious. And one more thing. It’s said that in India you can easily get food poisoned. That’s not true. Actually, it is the opposite. Spicy food is the killer of all the parasites. At the beginning of eating spicy food here, you can easily get the clearing of the stomach but you will get used to it.