Friday, October 11, 2013

Eating out

 I can't remember the last time I've been asked to describe kashrut with this frequency. Possible factors include.

 - Everyone I deal with here goes out to lunch every day (the observed cost of a full lunch is about US$3), so it's much more obvious that I'm not eating.
 - I'm eating even less than I do in similar situations in the US. The lack of ubiquitous hashgachot, the dearth of packaged food and drink, and the food safety concerns regarding green salads mean that I'm literally ordering the fruit plate.
 - Indians are very frum about their diets. Most are vegetarian, and I haven't seen a single facility that sells beef. Even McDonalds has an all chicken menu. Many restaurants have Jain options, which are even more machmir. In Hyderabad specifically, there are many halal choices. There is general amazement that these aren't sufficient.
 - Jews in the US are about 2% of the population. Jews in India are about 2% of 1% of the population. It's novel.
 - Indians think of themselves as quite cosmopolitan and accommodating. Frequently, I've gotten the reaction "Certainly the hotel can get kosher food for you" or "Well, if we were in [Bangalore/Dehli/Mumbai] you would get kosher food, there are lots of Israelis there." Nope and nope.

 In the meantime, my suitcase of granola bars, beef jerky, almonds and tuna fish is holding out quite well, and supplies of fruit and bottled water at the hotel are plentiful.

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