Difference Between South Indian Food and North Indian Food

South Indian Food vs North Indian Food

Though India does have a composite culture displayed through Indian nationalism, there are a lot of cultural differences within different parts of the country. These differences become visible through language, traditions and customs, festivals and of course cuisine. In case of North and South India, there are stark differences between food consumed and this can be partly explained on the basis of crops and spices grown in the two areas.

While wheat is the main crop grown in North India and is excessively used to make breads such as chapatti and roti, it is rice that is the staple crop in South India and used as staple food down south. While various types of spices are grown in North India, coconut is predominantly used by South Indians in preparation of different types of chutneys accompanying rice. North Indian cuisine has had various external influences also, most notably that of the Mughals, and nowhere is this effect more prominent than in the Mughlai cuisine which is a North Indian specialty.

North Indians have traditionally used both vegetarian as well as non vegetarian food, whereas South Indians have relied more on rice, vegetables and occasional seafood being close to seas. Dishes prepared in North India are full of onions, garlic, tomatoes and ginger which is seen as Arab and Persian influence. North India is also famous for fire breads made from wheat and maida, known as Naan, Tandoori roti and Parathas. North Indian food is generally heavy with lots of spicy curry, and ghee and oil is used generously.

South Indian food is in comparison a lot healthier and full of dishes made from coconut because of abundance of coconut there. They are mainly vegetarian and chicken and mutton are used rarely though they consume seafood. One additional feature is the use of yogurt in South India. The famous recipes of South Indian food are dosa, idli, sambar, vadas, and uthappam. Rasam, which is tamarind dal is very popular down South. South Indian food is characterized by nutrition, fragrance, flavors, seasoning, taste and visual appeal. Curries in South India are soupier than in North India.


Differences in North and South Indian food originate because of different crops and cultural differences.

Wheat is used more in North India while it is rice that is predominant in South India.

North Indians eat chicken and mutton whereas South Indians are mainly vegetarians.

Hyderabadi Buriyani is an exception that is world famous and eaten as delicacy even in North India.