Foods vary widely in India, depending on the culture and region. For example, rice is a staple in the south, while wheat bread (roti) is the staple in the north. Indian meals are usually very spicy. Different types of curry (eggs, fish, meat, or vegetables in a spicy sauce) are popular. Vegetarianism is widely practiced, often for religious reasons.
All castes have different food laws and customs, as does each religion. The Hindus consider cows to be sacred and will not eat beef or even use anything made of leather. Muslims eat no pork and drink no alcohol. Betel leaves and nuts are commonly eaten after meals to aid digestion.
Modern eating habits often have families eating together. Families may use the right hand instead of utensils for eating their meals. Also, women may eat after other members of the family and any guests. Diners might drink from a communal cup; if so, the lips never touch it. A gesture of "namaste" indicates that one has had enough to eat. Some Hindus object to having their food handled by members of lower castes.