Five Foods to Try during Internships in India

indian food

Leave UR Mark is dedicated to make one of our internships in India as culturally fulfilling as possible.

Toward that goal, we put together this list of must-try dishes to experience, if you decide to participate i one of our internships in India.

Five South Indian foods you must try

The variety of South Indian cuisine is simply mind-boggling… you can easily try a new dish every day! Rice is the staple in South India, and is eaten at every meal. Different types of dal (lentils) are used in many dishes, as well as liberal doses of aromatic spices like tamarind, turmeric, ginger, curry leaves, mustard seeds and red and green chilies. South India is also a paradise for vegetarians who are truly spoiled for choice.

Here are Five popular South Indian foods you absolutely must try while Interning in India:

1. Dosa

A dosa looks like a thin and crispy pancake, made from a mixture of ground rice and urad dal (a type of lentil) which is made into a batter and left to ferment, giving it a slightly sour taste. Dosas are popular for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

Dosa can be eaten in different ways: just plain, or filled with a potato mixture (called ‘masala dosa’). A ‘paper dosa’ is a very fine, thin dosa, while rava dosa is made of a type of semolina wheat and is not fermented like regular dosa batter.

Dosas are always served and eaten with sambhar and chutney, which are standard accompaniments to many South Indian dishes. Sambhar is a thick soup-like sauce made of lentils, vegetables and spices, while chutney is a paste made of coconut, coriander, mint or tomato. Usually you will be served at least two different types of chutney with your dish.

Dosa is a great example of a dish to try while on an interning in India.


Dosa that our volunteers and interns love eating.

2. Idli

Idlis are light and fluffy steamed rice ‘cakes’, made with the same batter as dosa. This is also a popular breakfast and snack food. Idlis are usually served in pairs, along with sambhar and chutney. Rava idly is made of semolina wheat and usually has yogurt added to the batter.


Foods to try when traveling in India

3. Vada

Start your day in India interning in India with a Vada snack.

Another popular South Indian breakfast and snack food is vada which looks a little like a donut. It’s made of urad dal (a type of lentil) and deep-fried. Vada is also always accompanied with sambhar and chutney.



4. Upma / khara bath

Upma or khara bath (as it’s called in Karnataka) is made of semolina wheat and cooked into a thick porridge mixed with chopped vegetables like peas, carrots or tomatoes, grated coconut and spices. Upma is also served with (you guessed it!) sambhar and chutney and is a common breakfast or snack food.


5. South Indian ‘thali’ or ‘meals’

Lunch is the most important meal in South India and always includes a large serving of rice. This is eaten with a variety of dishes made of lentils and vegetables, usually served in small bowls on a large stainless steel dish (thali) or dished out onto a large banana leaf. This type of typical South Indian lunchtime meal is commonly referred to simply as ‘meals’.

This is a good example of how lunch is experienced during internships in India. When you work and live in India you should take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Indian lifestyle.


This type of meal is often ‘unlimited’ which means waiters will come by your table and refill the small bowls until you tell them you’ve had enough (saaku in Kannada!). The meal is usually rounded out with a helping of yogurt mixed with rice.

Bon appetit!

Check out our favorite five books about India to better understand the culture and history. This is a must for taking full advantage of one of our internships in India.


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